The first significant upgrade of Jaguar’s sensational E-Type sports car took shape in October 1964 with the launch of the 4.2-litre version. Along with the bigger, torquier engine came a more user-friendly gearbox with synchromesh on first gear, and a superior Lockheed brake servo. Apart from ‘4.2’ badging, the car’s external appearance was unchanged, but under the skin there were numerous detail improvements. These mainly concerned the cooling and electrical systems, the latter gaining an alternator and adopting the industry standard negative ground, while the interior boasted a matt black dashboard and improved seating arrangements.
The top speed of around 150mph remained unchanged, the main performance gain resulting from the larger engine being improved acceleration. Like its 3.8-litre forbear, the 4.2-litre E-Type was built in roadster and coupé forms, and in 1966 gained an additional 2+2 coupé variant on a 9” longer wheelbase. Intended to extend the E-Type’s appeal beyond the traditional sports car-buying market, the new ‘family orientated’ 2+2 came with improved visibility thanks to an increased glass area, more headroom, improved heating and ventilation, additional luggage space and optional Borg-Warner automatic transmission.
In 1968 all three versions of the E-Type underwent major revision to comply with US safety and emissions legislation, emerging in ‘Series 2’ guise minus the original’s distinctive headlight covers. In addition, enlarged side and rear lights were adopted while a thickened front bumper centre section bridged a larger radiator intake. Interior changes included a collapsible steering column and rocker switches in place of the earlier toggles.
A US car from new which found its way back to the UK after a period in the sunny climes of Australia, this lovely E-type was rebuilt in 2007, with a history file to support work completed. It has also been fitted with an uprated radiator and alternator to improve overall reliability.
Said to drive extremely well, and mechanically “A1”, this is a very good example of a truly iconic motor car, at a very tempting price.