1962 Jaguar XKE Series 1 3.8 Roadster
Chassis no. 875679
Engine no. R1965-9
Body no. R1904
Jaguars XK sports models had been a phenomenal success. Svelte and powerful, the 1948 XK120 received an enthusiastic welcome in Europe and the United States, for while it was expensive, priced like a Buick, it had no competition in its market niche. Its dual overhead cam six was unparalleled, and its modern styling unrivaled by any other British sports car. Successor models XK 140 and XK 150 perpetuated the legend, but by the late 1950s they were looking dated, though their engineering and performance still excelled. In 1958, Jaguar technical director William Heynes and designer Malcolm Sayer convinced their boss, Sir William Lyons, that a new production sports model was needed. Thus was born the E-Type, one of Jaguars longest-running and most revered models.
Actually, the E-Type already existed as a concept. Developed from the racing D-Type in 1956, it had been put aside when Lyons abruptly canceled the competition program. Dusting off the prototype, an aluminum-bodied roadster with 2.4 liter XK engine and independent front and rear suspension, Heynes and Sayer reengineered it for steel, and a 3.8 liter engine as used in the Mk IX saloon.
The engine and transmission aside, the production E-Type was all new. It combined a multi-tube front chassis with a monocoque center section. Front suspension was similar to the XK 150s wishbones and torsion bars, but the rear was revolutionary. Comprising transverse lower links and fixed-length driveshafts, its wheels were suspended on coil spring-shock absorber units, two to a side. The differential was mounted to a hefty steel crossmember and hosted inboard disk brakes. Anti-roll bars were installed front and rear.
At 2,520 pounds, it was 500 pounds lighter than the XK 150 and more powerful to boot. The 3.8 liter twin cam engine was fed through three SU sidedraft carbs and developed 265bhp. A top speed of 150mph was easily achieved with the standard 3.31 to 1 gearing, and some speculated that optional taller gears would be good for more. In its day, the E-Type was bested only by Ferraris and the Mercedes-Benz 300SL. Its debut came at the March 1961 Geneva Motor Show, to universal applause and plaudits from the pundits. Its pure form, almost devoid of ornamentation, blew everyone away, a sleek shape with only a tiny mouth for breathing , and slender bar bumpers and chrome wire wheels for glitz. The US intro came the following month at the New York International Auto Show where, in recognition of the strong brand awareness accorded its XK predecessors, it was advertised and sold as the XKE.
From the start there were two models, a soft top with roll-up windows, called roadster, and a fixed-head coupe. At $5,595 for the roadster and $300 more for the coupe it was more than twice the price of an MGA but also twice the car. On the other hand, its sticker was barely half that of a 300SL. Production through 1964 reached 15,500, divided about equally between roadsters and coupes. The original E-Type remained in production, with few changes, for ten years. In 1963 larger footwells were adopted, for greater passenger comfort, and the engine was enlarged for 1965, but otherwise the cars changed little. Early models, however, with their flat-floor cockpits and hand-fitted welded bonnet louvers, are in particular demand.
Two owners from new, this E-type roadster is an early production example with welded-louver bonnet and flat floors. Always well maintained, it has been comprehensively restored to superb original condition. It has the correct early-style bucket seats, and radio blanking plate with aluminum dashboard and center console. Special attention was paid to quality and detail during the restoration, making it one of the nicest E-Types available today.
Ready for show or go, this XK-E in Old English White with Biscuit leather interior is an excellent example of the early Series 1 cars and bound to please the most discriminating owner.