Historic 1961 Jaguar E-Type hits 146 mph on historic road test

Article by Christian A., on November 13, 2015

The legendary road test of the Jaguar E-Type on a Belgian motorway in 1961 was recently recreated on a German autobahn. The recreation was done by British Hill Climb Champion David Franklin in a 1961 Jaguar E-Type chassis 860001, which is the first right-hand-drive production Fixed Head Coupé restored by Classic Motor Cars Ltd (CMC).

The task was to match the 150 mph speed that the Jaguar E-Type achieved more than 50 years ago. In 1961, Autocar took a Jaguar E-Type 9600HP on a Belgian motorway to verify Jaguar’s claim that a standard for-the-road E-type could reach speeds of 150 mph, and the carmaker was right!

Octane looked forward to recreate this legendary 150mph road test using similar car, a Jaguar E-Type 1VHP with chassis 860001 – to celebrate its 150th issue. Was Franklin able to successfully recreate the feat? Almost!

The British Hill Climb Champion was only able to log a top speed of 146 mph while driving on the high-speed Autobahn. But there was a reason for not quite achieving the feat. According to Franklin, the E-Type was still accelerating when it reached 146 mph, but he had to back off because of other vehicles on the Autobahn.

He remarked that at that speed, there is a need to drive with caution since the car has no ABS. He expressed confidence that he would be able to achieve 150mph had the conditions were more favorable. Its official time was 146.49mph.

The 1961 Jaguar E-Type 1VHP chassis 860001 was restored in the early 2000s by CMC, which is considered as one of the leading companies in vehicle restoration. Servicing of the classic car is also being done by CMC.

For the event, CMC prepared the Jaguar E-Type by equipping the classic car with new wheels, Avon CR6 ZZ tires and a higher capacity fuel pump while checking its running condition. CMC even dyno-tested the car’s engine on a rolling road. Interestingly, the car is owned by Peter Neumark, Chairman of CMC.

He divulged that his classic car was built on July 10, 1961 and shipped on August 26, 1961 to Henlys in London as a demo vehicle. He added that CMC restored the 1VHP to factory condition in the early 2000s, with him driving the car a lot.

Neumark disclosed that he was expecting his car to reach around 135 mph or 138mph. So when the car reached 146 mph, he was absolutely delighted.

On the other hand, Nick Goldthorp, Managing Director of CMC, remarked that for the sake of safety, they have to fully prepare the Jaguar E-Type 1VHP for the task, since the demands of cruising at full speed are different from when the car is running at half the top speed.

Franklin, meanwhile, said he was impressed with the condition of the Jaguar E-Type, noting that the car rode very well and that the engine appeared to run more smoothly above 3500rpm.

Press Release


1961 Jaguar E-Type chassis 860001, the very first right-hand-drive production Fixed Head Coupé restored by Classic Motor Cars Ltd (CMC), has been driven to 146 mph on a German autobahn by British Hill Climb Champion, David Franklin.

David was recreating for Octane magazine’s 150th issue one of the most famous road tests ever undertaken, attempting to match the 150 mph a Jaguar E-Type reached on a Belgian motorway in 1961, and he nearly made it!

David said: “I saw 146mph and it was still accelerating when I had to back off because of cars and lorries in the distance. When you’re travelling at that speed you have to err on the side of caution. You’re catching other traffic up quite quickly and you have to remember that there’s no ABS, although the brakes felt strong and progressive.It would comfortably have reached 150mph. Of that, I have absolutely no doubt.”

In 1961, Autocar took E-Type 9600HP to Belgium for a high speed test, looking to assess Jaguar’s claim that a standard roadgoing E-type could achieve 150mph. This claim was validated in the historic road test, and Octane ventured to recreate the event using a similar car, E-Type 1VHP, chassis 860001.

The car was restored in the early 2000s by CMC, one of the world’s leading restoration companies, and is regularly serviced and prepared by the company.

Nick Goldthorp, Managing Director of CMC, said: “For safety’s sake, we could leave nothing to chance with the preparation of the car. The demands of running at 150mph are very different from those required at half that speed.”

For this occasion, the team at CMC went through the car with a fine attention to detail, fitting new wheels and Avon CR6 ZZ tyres and checking every mechanical element. The car’s engine was even dyno-tested on a rolling road and a higher capacity fuel pump was installed as well.

Peter Neumark, Chairman of CMC and owner of the car 1VHP, said: “Chassis 860001 was built on 10 July 1961 and despatched on 26 August to Henlys in London as a demonstrator, which makes you wonder how many famous personalities sat in it during the first few weeks. We restored it to factory condition in the early 2000s and I drive it a lot.”

David Franklin, who has been competing in motor sport since 1965 and has been a champion in disciplines ranging from HSCC Historic GTs to hillclimbs and sprints, was incredibly impressed with the condition of the E-Type. He said: “It rode very well, and the engine seemed notably smoother above 3500rpm.”

The official reading on E-Type chassis 860001 was 146.49mph, a result that greatly impressed Peter, who said: “I thought it would do well to get to 135, maybe 138mph, so I’m absolutely delighted. Well done to David Franklin!”

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Topics: jaguar, classic car



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