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Jaguar E-Type Celebrates 50 Years - Web Exclusive

Jaguar will be celebrating this special anniversary year at high-profile motoring events throughout 2011.

Jan 26, 2011

2011 year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most famous and desirable cars in automotive history - the Jaguar E-Type.

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Jaguar will be celebrating this special anniversary year at high-profile motoring events throughout 2011.

The company will mark the anniversary at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, and go on to celebrate at Goodwood's Revival and Festival of Speed, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the Nurburgring Old Timer Grand Prix, plus a host of Jaguar customer, dealer and lifestyle events worldwide.

When it was launched in 1961, the appeal of E-Type transcended the automotive world and is now a permanent exhibit in New York's Museum of Modern Art.

The iconic E-Type set new standards in automotive design and performance when it was launched.

"Half a century of progress has not diminished the significance of the E-Type," said Mike O'Driscoll, Managing Director Jaguar Cars and Chairman Jaguar Heritage. "It was a sensation when it was launched, and remains Jaguar's most enduring and iconic symbol. The E-Type is simply one of the most exciting cars ever created and a legacy to the genius of Jaguar's founder, Sir William Lyons."

"It is impossible to overstate the impact the E-Type had when it was unveiled in 1961," said Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director. "Here was a car that encapsulated the spirit of the revolutionary era it came to symbolize. The E-Type is a design that even today continues to inform the work we do in styling the Jaguars of the future."

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Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961, Jaguar's E-Type was capable of achieving 150mph, but costing a fraction of the price of rivals with similar performance, it was the affordable supercar - remaining on sale for 14 years.

E-Type facts:
The E-Type was presented to the world's press at the restaurant du Parc des Eaux Vives in Geneva on 15th March 1961.

Such was the media excitement for demonstration runs up a nearby hillclimb that Sir William Lyons instructed chief test driver Norman Dewis to drive through the night from Coventry to bring another car to Switzerland.

Even Enzo Ferrari admitted it was "the most beautiful car in the world."

The E-type's straight-six engine had powered Jaguar to five Le Mans victories in the 1950s and by 1961 in 3.8-liter form produced 265hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, making the car a genuine 150mph proposition and, like its XK120 predecessor, the fastest production car in the world.

At launch the E-Type cost £2256 15 shillings, including purchase tax and the all-important optional wire wheels, the equivalent today of £38000.

The E-Type's perfectly proportioned bodywork was the work of Malcolm Sayer, an aeronautical engineer who also applied his aerodynamic expertise in shaping the earlier Le Mans-winning C and D-Type racers.

The E-type remained in production for 14 years, selling more than 70,000 units, making it Europe's first mass-produced sports car.

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