What Is The Ultimate Classic British Sports Car?



Name: 1961 Series 1 E-Type Jaguar

Year Produced: 1961-1968

Number Built: 72,507 (all models including Series II)

Body Type: 2 door fixed head coupe

Engine: 3.8 and 4.2 L XKI6

Power: 260 hp

RPM: 4,000

0-60mph: 6.9 seconds

Top Speed: 130 mph

Transmission: 4-speed manual

Length/width/height: 175.3 in/65.25 in/48.1 in

Wheelbase: 96 in.

By Allan Trainer

When you think “Classic British sports car” what comes to mind? Some would say “Aston Martin” for others the Bentley Continental jumps out, then there’s the Triumph TR range, the list goes on but for me it has to be the series 1 E-Type Jaguar.

The E-Type had truly unique styling for a road car of the 1960’s and was based on the more track orientated D-Type. They both share a revolutionary aerodynamic shape but the E-Type was a true production car, a car built for both comfort and speed, a car that inspires excitement on sight and once behind the wheel you’ll find it really doesn’t disappoint, considering it’s advanced years.

If you like the luxuries like power windows, air-conditioning, cruise control and central locking, sorry, you won’t find them here. This is an old fashioned down to earth “sports car” with manual transmission and tight suspension. There’s a radio as standard with just one speaker but with the tone of the engine at speed there was little chance of hearing it anyway.

The engine packs a punch and gets you up to truly impressive speeds in a matter of seconds and the independent rear suspension gives it great handling, even by today’s standards. The whole car feels like it doesn’t want to be held back and at times it can be difficult to keep it under the speed limit so it’s a lot more fun on the higher speed country roads, especially the curvy ones.

The Mark 1, which was introduced in 1961 came originally with a 3.8 litre straight 6 engine coupled to a 4 speed manual transmission (I wish it was 5 speed), that’s the one I’ve experienced. But in 1964 the engine capacity was raised to a 4.2, It didn’t increase the car’s power but the torque did go up a bit.

The biggest tragedy came in 1966 when they put an optional auto transmission in, it makes you wonder, how they could desecrate such a work of art with an auto?

This car really is a work of art, looking at it you could almost imagine it having been sculpted rather than designed on a drawing board. The sleek lines give it a sexy feel and on the inside the genuine leather seats and slightly over sized sports steering wheel and to the feeling, This is a dream machine and though I’m accustomed to all the “bells and whistles” of modern motoring I’d gladly give them up to own one of these.

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