The subject of an earlier posts was “What is your dream car?” In my response, I was considering contemporary dream cars, and chose the Cadillac Sixteen. Recently, I was reminded of one of the dream cars of my youth the Jaguar E-Type, also known as the Jaguar XK-E in North America.
Spring 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-Type’s introduction. The British manufacturer produced over 70,000 E-Types from 1961 to 1975. Celebrities Steve McQueen, Brigitte Bardot, and Tony Curtis owned them. Enzo Ferrari called the E-Type “the most beautiful car in the world.” That’s some praise from one of motoring’s influential builders. An E-Type is a permanent exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
So what is the draw of this dream car? In convertible or fast-back coupe form, the XK-E sported flowing and athletic lines. The exhaust note from the 3.8-liter straight six-cylinder engine was a siren for motorsports enthusiasts around the world. The engine increased to 4.2 liter in 1964. XK-E’s were reported to be capable of 150 m.p.h. Series 3 (1971-1975) XK-E’s featured a 5.3-liter V-12 engine. This combination of sensuous looks and high performance mark it as a motoring icon.
As a youth in the early 1960’s, I can remember going to the Jaguar dealer in downtown Indianapolis and salivating at the luxurious lines of the display British Racing Green XK-E coupe. It sported a tan leather interior with bucket seats, wood rim steering wheel and chrome spoke wheels. I can still imagine driving along on a winding two-lane highway and hearing the reverberations of the dual exhausts off the nearby trees. What a day in paradise for any genuine car nut! Perhaps my auto obsession started with an XK-E?
Possibly, you’ll see one at a car show this summer. Ask the exhibiter to start it up, and reminisce about this motoring icon.