Classic Cars (UK) - - Driven -

Jaguar ini­tially tooled up to build just 1000 E-types. But on launch day in March 1961 it was be­sieged with or­ders and had to up pro­duc­tion to 5000.

Be­tween March and July only a hand­ful went through the Browns Lane gates and those that did were des­tined for com­pe­ti­tion, rac­ing driv­ers, fa­mous faces, dealer demon­stra­tors and any­body who could con­vince Sir Wil­liam Lyons or Lofty Eng­land that they were im­por­tant enough to jump the queue.

Amer­i­cans, scream­ing for E-types, only got two road­sters in Fe­bru­ary, five in March, none in April and just 11 in May. June de­liv­er­ies were bet­ter at 93 and in July 127 were shipped to New York. But we Brits were scream­ing too and by the mid­dle of July the fac­tory had built a spe­cial batch of 54 open cars as UK dealer demon­stra­tors.

The first 25 rhd road­sters off the line had al­ready gone to celebri­ties and rac­ers like Tommy Sop­with, John Coombs, Bruce Mclaren, Jack Lam­bert, Briggs Cun­ning­ham, the Earl of War­wick and one to the Daily Mail as a com­pe­ti­tion prize.

Built on the 28th of June, chas­sis 850062 was one of those 54 dealer cars spe­cially lined up and pho­tographed out­side Browns Lane to re­as­sure the thou­sands of des­per­ate buy­ers clam­our­ing for test drives that the slinky new Jags were on their way. There are three green road­sters with French Grey hoods in that fa­mous pic­ture – and OSL is one of them.

The fa­mous 54 out­side the Browns Lane fac­tory

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