THIS year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most famous and desirable cars in automotive history, the Jaguar E-Type (pictured).
When it was launched in 1961, the appeal of E-Type transcended the automotive world. Such is the inherent rightness of its proportions, stance and purity of line, that it is a permanent exhibit in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Managing Director Jaguar of Cars and Chairman Jaguar Heritage Mike O’Driscoll said: “Half a century of progress has not diminished the significance of the E-Type. It was a sensation when it was launched, and remains Jaguar’s most enduring and iconic symbol”.
“The E-Type is simply one of the most exciting cars ever created and a legacy to the genius of Jaguar’s founder, Sir William Lyons,” O’Driscoll said.
The now iconic E-Type set new standards in automotive design and performance when it was launched in 1961. Its influence is still apparent in Jaguar’s modern range.
E-Type owners included celebrities such as George Best, Brigitte Bardot, Tony Curtis and Steve McQueen and the sports car became as synonymous with the swinging sixties as the Beatles and the mini skirt.
“It is impossible to overstate the impact the E-Type had when it was unveiled in 1961,” said Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director.
“Here was a car that encapsulated the spirit of the revolutionary era it came to symbolise. The E-Type is a design that even today continues to inform the work we do in styling the Jaguars of the future.”
Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961, Jaguar’s E-Type caused a sensation. Capable of achieving 150mph, but costing a fraction of the price of rivals with similar performance, it was the affordable supercar and became an instant icon –– remaining on sale for 14 years.
Jaguar will be celebrating the anniversary this year at high-profile motoring events throughout 2011.
The company will mark the anniversary at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and go on to celebrate at Goodwood’s Revival and Festival of Speed, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Nurburgring Old Timer Grand Prix and a host of Jaguar customer, dealer and lifestyle events worldwide.
Today, E-Types are collectors’ cars and prices have increased greatly over recent years with values ranging, depending on model, history and condition, from £25 000 to more than £100 000.
The most sought-after are the dozen or so aluminium-bodied cars, known as the Lightweight E and built by Jaguar for racing, which command sums in excess of £4 million on the rare occasions that they change hands.
Perhaps the only real surprise concerning the E-Type is the fact the Jaguar has not capitalised on its enduring appeal by reviving it.
But then it is always going to take a truly special car to maintain the pedigree of its glamorous predecessor.
Meanwhile Jaguar Land Rover celebrated a successful 2010 having received more than 80 international awards for its vehicles during the year.
The tally of awards was shared almost equally between the two brands. Leading the charge for Land Rover was Discovery 4 with over 28 global awards last year bringing its total to 144 since launch in 2004.
Commenting on the awards Land Rover’s Global Brand Director John Edwards said: “The Discovery 4 offers an exceptional breadth of capability. It is now one of the most highly-decorated vehicles ever and we are thrilled that it continues to receive such great recognition across the industry.”
Other Land Rover nameplates also had a tremendous year with the Range Rover being voted the “Car of the Decade” by readers of autocar.co.uk, the Range Rover Sport voted “Best 4×4” by Auto Bild (Germany) and the Freelander 2 was voted “Best Compact SUV” at the Auto Express Car of the Year Awards.
Jaguar’s new XJ which went on sale earlier last year got off to a flying start receiving more than 20 international honours including “Best Luxury Car” from China’s Auto News, “Annual Limousine King” from Quattroroute (Italy), “Luxury Car of the Year” from Top Gear (UK), Automobile Magazine’s “2011 Design of the Year” and “Best Executive Sedan” at the Bloomberg Awards (US). –– Staff Writer.