New Zealand Classic Car - - FEATURE CAR -

At the time of the E-type’s de­but in 1961, those in the mar­ket for a sports car in the UK had a good cross-sec­tion of ve­hi­cles to choose from — rang­ing from the old-fash­ioned Daim­ler SP250 to that hand­some brute, the Austin-healey 3000, and Colin Chap­man’s del­i­cate but frag­ile Elite. Chevrolet’s V8-pow­ered Corvette was ca­pa­ble of cov­er­ing the bench­mark 0-60mph sprint a sec­ond quicker than the Jaguar, but its lack of so­phis­ti­ca­tion told on the twisty bits and, of course, it was al­most twice the price of the big cat. As­ton’s DB4 car­ried the same price as the Vette but with a rather more aris­to­cratic air. Trav­el­ling over to main­land Europe, Porsche had not as yet el­e­vated it­self into the su­per­car league, which left Fer­rari’s V12-pow­ered 250GT as the E-type’s main on-road ri­val — and even Enzo’s coach­built con­fec­tion couldn’t match the Jaguar’s 0-60mph per­for­mance, not to men­tion it de­manded a price that was more than triple that of the Coven­try-built sport­ster. When Jaguar launched its E-type, the press re­lease of the day hit the nail on the head: “The Jaguar E-type is not just an­other sports car in the con­ven­tional sense of the word, it is an en­tirely new con­cept of high­speed mo­tor­ing.” How right they were!

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