If you've got a Jaguar E-Type (XK-E) for sale, we'll pay you top dollar!
Jaguar E-Type (XK-E) Review (1961 - 1975)
When Enzo Ferrari says that a particular car made by a competitor is “the most beautiful car ever made”, it has to be something special. This tremendous honor was bestowed upon the Jaguar E-Type upon its release and, although probably impulsive, the statement has proved to be more than deserved.
The Jaguar E-Type’s design is one of the most successful shapes in the history of the automotive industry. However, the good looks were not the only advantage of the E-Type. Respectable performance had already been a well-known characteristic of Jaguar cars, and the E-Type was no different. Add to this the fact that it was competitively priced and it becomes very clear why the E-Type is still considered a legend and why more than 70,000 of them were sold during 14 years of production.
To cement its success and remind the manufacturers of modern cars what they should do if they wish to create a legend, the E-Type became a part of the Ney York City Museum of Modern Art’s permanent design collection, it topped the list of 100 most beautiful cars of all time by The Daily Telegraph as well as the list of top sports cars of the sixties by Sports Car International magazine.
The Jaguar E-Type was produced from 1961 to 1975. The first two versions which appeared were the Fixed Head Coupe (FHC) and the Open Two Seater convertible (OTS). A few years later these two were followed by a four-seat coupe with longer wheelbase which became known as the 2+2. Due to the fact that the E-Type was produced for 14 years there were three generations, named Series 1, Series 2 and Series 3, with the first one being separated into Series 1 and Series 1½.
During the Series 1 production era some limited edition cars appeared. The most notable models were the Lightweight E-Type, 12 of which were made. The Lightweight models are among the most cherished and sought after cars today. Another limited edition E-Type was the Low Drag Coupe and only one test bed was made. It is now a part of a private collection.
The design of the E-Type was instantly recognizable. The car had a very long hood and a short but tastefully designed cabin. The hood was sided by elevated sections which stemmed from the headlights and ended way back at the windshield frame. The shape of the car is curvy and voluptuous lines are only intercepted by a few sharpened details such as the steep rising windshield and the thin bumpers which only provide enough contrast to make it more beautiful.
The car had several engine options to choose from. The first generation, produced from 1961 to 1968, had two XK I6 engines with the displacements of 3.8 l and 4.2 l, paired with one of two gearbox options – a 4-speed manual or 3-speed auto, the latter of which was only available with 2+2 models produced from 1966 onward.
The second generation was produced from 1968 to 1971 and it had a single powering option in the form of a 4.2 l XK I6 engine. It also came in all three body styles carrying the most notable design change – the lack of the glass cover for the headlights.
The Series 3 came in 1971 and lasted until 1975, carrying several styling changes as well as a whole new 5.3 l V12 engine, which was a significant increase compared to the previous 6-cylinder engines.
In total, through all three generations, more than 72,000 E-Types were made, which makes it very present and very popular even today.
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Driving & Performance
With the power of at least 265 hp from the 3.8 l engine (245 hp in the USA) the E-Type was definitely fast enough. The 4.2 l engine brought the same power but more torque, while the 5.3 l V12 upped the power to 272 hp. With every new engine the car became far more responsive due to the increase in torque and this improved the driving feel significantly. The most powerful version was the Lightweight which, with the tuned version of the 3.8 l engine, provided 300 horsepower.
The top speed finally exceeded 150 mph for all models and the acceleration figure lingered at about 7 seconds, while the V12 went well below that. Advanced suspension systems and all-around disc brakes provided lot of confidence for the driver. The brakes were truly special here. The first XK model – the XK120 – had issues with brakes. They were good enough, generally speaking, but after heavy braking sessions they were known to fade. Producing one of the best cars in the world at the time and having such a downside obviously left a mark on the people in Jaguar who kept improving the brakes with every revamp or new model. On the Jaguar XK150 they had already had disks on all four wheels and each of the three series of the E-Type featured further improvements. The brakes of the E-Type were simply outstanding.
Cornering worked the same way. The Jaguar XK120 for sale was one of the best handling cars of its era, if not the best, and every new version was only better than the previous one. The FR layout provided enough confidence and sporty behavior at the same time. Whether you were enjoying a long cruise, or pushing the car to its limits, every E-Type model was a joy to drive.Back To Top
Equipment & Comfort
The Interior of the E-Type was significantly improved compared to the previous XK models. Materials were similarly plush, but the design was very different. Models made up to 1963 had aluminum central part of the dashboard, while later models had vinyl or lavish leather dashboards.
The rev counter and the speedometer were no longer in the central part of the dashboard. They were now behind the wheel, right in front of the driver. The central part was reserved for five smaller dashboard clocks and a large number of switches which were toggle switches on the early models, but changed to rocker switches to comply with new US regulations. Below the switches and right in front of the gearbox stick there was a radio whose speakers were placed on the sides of the central column beneath the dashboard.
The leather seats grew better in time, they were more comfortable and with different, more appealing stitching patterns. The handrest between the seats was a great and very practical idea and the steering wheel design was a perfect mix of sportiness and elegance.Back To Top
Having in mind there were so many different models and improvements, the E-Type spare parts’ prices differ significantly. For example, GAZ shocks for the first two series cost about $110 and $130 for the front and rear, respectively, while Koni ones can go up to $200. These prices might actually make the owners of the E-Type happy, since spare parts for the previous models were, surprisingly, more expensive.
Moreover, just like the previous models, the E-Type was an incredibly reliable car and if you find one in good condition you should have no serious problems with it.Back To Top
History & Development
The first version of the E-Type replaced the XK150 in 1961 and remained in production until 1968. The first cars were powered by a 3.8 l six-cylinder engine with a four-speed manual transmission. Of these, the earlier models had external hood latches and, due to the fact that they’re very rare today, they tend to be more valuable than many other models. The engine had 265 hp and 325 Nm of torque which gave it the top speed of about 150 mph. Three years after the first E-Type model was produced the engine got a displacement upgrade to 4.2 l. The power rating remained the same, but the torque figure increased dramatically to 384 Nm. This meant that, although the car’s power, top speed and acceleration remained approximately the same, its throttle response became noticeably better and maximum power came earlier in the rpm curve. Even though the 3.8 was no slouch, the 4.2 gave a far better driving experience.
There have been several independent tests of the first generation E-Type and the car’s top speed ranged from 150 to 153 miles per hour, acceleration from 7 to 7.6 seconds and the quarter-mile run took about 15 seconds. Regardless of which test you use as benchmark, the E-Type was among the fastest, if not the fastest, cars of its era.
The suspension on all of these cars was independent coil spring at the back. They also featured disc brakes on all four wheels, which was expected having in mind that the previous model, the XK150, also used disks on all wheels.
There are several ways of recognizing the Series 1 model from the outside. First of all, the headlights were placed behind a glass cover. Furthermore, the front fascia featured a small opening and the taillights and turn signals were placed above bumpers, while the exhaust pipes were tucked under the number plate.
Cars with the smaller 3.8 l engine had leather bucket seats and aluminum central part of the dashboard, which was reminiscent of the early XK150 models. Dashboards in cars made from 1963 were no longer aluminum, but leather or vinyl. The 3.8 was paired with Moss box 4-speed manual transmission.
On the other hand, cars which had the larger 4.2 l engine featured better breaks, more advanced electrical systems and more comfortable seats. They also had a 4-speed manual, but it was improved. All of the mentioned things were standard equipment, but you could also go for optional features such as OTS’s detachable hard top and chrome wheels. Even though most of the changes that made the 4.2 better were under the hood, the car was easily distinguishable due to the “Jaguar 4.2 Litre E-Type” moniker.
The 2+2 appeared in 1966 and it was the first E-Type with which you could have an automatic transmission. Also, the 2+2 was different in terms of styling being 9 inches longer and having a different roof line, as well as being the only car with four seats.
Nearing the end of production of the Series 1 models, several cars in the series were made with open headlights, which is a feature by which the Series 1½ and Series 2 models are recognizable.
The Series 1½ was a transitional series produced in 1968. These cars were actually Series 1 models but with several features that were later present in Series 2 and that usually stemmed from new regulations in the USA. The new features included open headlights, altered interior switches, while use of different carburetors resulted in decrease in power.
In 1962, the Low Drag Coupe special edition car appeared. It was based on a racing Jaguar and it had a body made of aluminum rather than steel. Since it was made in 1962 it was powered by the 3.8 l engine.
In 1963 and 1964 another special edition model came out. It was called Lightweight E-Type and it also featured loads of aluminum. The engine was still the 3.8 l one, but it was tuned to 300 horsepower. In 2014 Jaguar announced that they would make 6 more LDCs to fulfill the original plan of producing 18 of them. Despite massive advancements in the industry, the new LDCs will be mostly the same as the original models.
The Series 1 was officially dropped in 1968 after 38,419 produced cars.
The Series 2 was produced from 1968 to 1971 and, as mentioned, its styling changes were there mostly due to the USA relations. Apart from the previously mentioned, the rear bumper was changed as well as the front turn signals, the front opening became bigger which aided cooling and the brakes were further improved. The Series 2 models proved to be incredibly reliable cars and they are considered to be the most reliable E-Type models today. Safety was also increased, mostly due to a new collapsible steering column and new seats got head restraints. The 3.8 l engine was dropped and the only option was the 4.2 l which had 245 horsepower in the USA and 20 horsepower more in the UK. Power steering was optional as well as a great new comfort feature – air conditioning.
The Series 2 was replaced in 1971 and 18,809 of them were made.
The Series 3 came in 1971 and it saw the end of production of the E-Type in 1975. The most notable change was the new engine – a massive 5.3 l Jaguar V12. Power steering became standard and the already amazing brakes were further improved. 3-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning and wire wheels were still optional features. Power upgrade of the new V12 to 272 hp might seem insignificant, but the increased displacement improved torque and brought acceleration to 60 miles per hour below the seven-second mark.
The FHC was also dropped. The wheelbase was lengthened so there was far more space in the interior. The grille got a new look, wheel arches became flared to accommodate wider tires, there were four exhaust pipes and a moniker that said V12, which was reserved only for the Series 3 E-Type.
In total, 15,287 Series 3 E-Types were produced.Back To Top
Facts & Figures
|Body||Series 1 – roadster, coupe and 2+2 coupe|
Series 2 – roadster, coupe and 2+2 coupe
Series 3 – roadster and 2+2 coupe
|Engines||Series 1 - 3.8 l DOHC XK inline 6 (265 hp) – 1961 to 1964|
4.2 l DOHC XK inline 6 (265 hp) – 1964 to 1968
Series 2 - 4.2 l DOHC XK inline 6 (265 hp/245 hp in the USA) – 1968 to 1971
Series 3 – 5.3 l Jaguar V12 (272 hp) – 1971 to 1975
|Dimensions and weight|
|Wheelbase||Series 1 - 96”/105”|
Series 2 - 96”/105”
Series 3 – 105”
|Length||Series 1 – 175.3”/184.4”|
Series 2 – 175.3”/184.4”
Series 3 – 184.4”/184.5”
|Width||Series 1 – 65.25”|
Series 2 – 65.25”
Series 3 – 66”/66.1”
|Height||Height Series 1 – 48.1”/50.1”/46.5”|
Series 2 – 48.1”/50.1”/46.5”
Series 3 – 48.9”/48.1”
|Weight||Series 1 – 2,900 lb/2,770 lb/3,090 lb|
Series 2 – 3,018 lb/2,750 lb/3,090 lb
Series 3 – 3,361 lb/3,380 lb
|Jaguar XK120 years of production|
|All Models||1961 – 1975|
Series 1 – 1961 – 1968
Series 2 – 1968 – 1971
Series 3 – 1971 – 1975
|Jaguar XK120 production numbers|
|All Models||Series 1 |
Series 1 total
Series 2 total
Series 3 total 3.8 - 7,670 FHC, 7,828 OTS, 0 2+2
4.2 - 5,830 FHC, 6,749 OTS, 3,616 2+2
1,942 FHC, 2,801 OTS, 1,983 2+2
4,855 FHC, 8,628 OTS, 5,326 2+2
OTS 7,990, 2+2 7,297