Apart from the engine and transmission, Jaguar’s E-Type was all new. Introduced at Geneva in March 1961, it combined a multi-tube front chassis with a monocoque centre section. Front suspension was similar to the predecessor XK-150’s 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 265 bhp. 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.
In 1965, the E-Type was treated to a number of evolutionary upgrades. The engine was enlarged to 4.2 liters, and while the rated horsepower was no higher the car had greater torque, which made it more versatile in traffic. The gearbox given full synchros, and the seat backs became adjustable. Brushed aluminum trim in the cockpit was replaced by molded plastic and leather, and a new brake booster was adopted. A larger radiator was also fitted.
Not long afterwards, safety and emission regulations began having their way with the E-Type, altering both its appearance and its performance. So-called “Series 1.5” cars, an unofficial designation, had exposed headlamps and new switchgear. Twin Stromberg carbs were adopted for emission control, reducing output of the 4.2 to 246 bhp.
From 1969, a new Series 2 continued the evolution with further performance degradation. The front air intake was also enlarged, and lighting requirements resulted in more prominent, unsightly side markers and parking/turn signal units. For these reasons, pre-Series 2 cars carry a special cachet.
In its original factory signal red and with a black interior, this car has been subject of a restoration by the legendary and world class XK Engineering.
XK Engineering have completed a body off, frames off strip to bear metal with a total spend of around £100,000. Matching numbers and offered with its Jaguar heritage certificate every item has been checked / tested restored or replaced where required.
Important upgrades include triple SU carbs and a Kenlowe fan, this rare signal red example is presented in a condition unmatched, and must be seen to be truly appreciated.