Jaguar E-type 3.8 Litre FHC, 1963
Jaguar E-type 3.8 Litre FHC series 1, year 1963. Colour ‘Primrose yellow’ with a black leather interior and black carpet. This fantastic Jaguar E-type was sold new in Milan (Italy) on 18 July 1963. The car spent all its days in Italy until it was recently acquired by Lex Classics. In Italy the Jaguar was extensively and beautifully restored to high standards, the automobile is in concours condition! A Heritage certificate is present, the car has ‘matching numbers’.
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In 1961, the Jaguar E-Type saw the light of life as the successor to the famous XK 120, 140 and 150 series. The E-Type was introduced at The Salon car show in Geneva on 15 March, and it was a smashing success of its sublime design and the technical concept. Salient point in this introduction in Geneva was that the E-Type ‘show car’ was ready for presentation just in time.
In order to be in Geneva in time, the prototype with Jaguar PR man Bob Berry at the wheel had to make a crazy nocturnal ride from Coventry to Geneva. Bob left on 14 March 1961 at 19:00 hours. The weather was bad, and after the ferry he had to conquer many country roads, mountain tracks and passes. Speeding up to 220 kilometers an hour, Bob raced towards his destination, all on his own in the E-Type prototype. Bob arrived with his E-Type in one piece in Geneva at 11:40 at the local Jaguar dealer, where the vehicle was prepared for its introduction to the press at the Salon one hour and twenty minutes later. It all turned out well, and the Jaguar E-Type scored a hit at the 1961 Geneva Salon.
The design of the E-Type series as it was introduced in 1961 is of almost unearthly beauty. Look at all the refined details: the bonnet, the headlights, the back lights, the recess for the wheel housing and the back side, and you will realize that you are looking at absolute, timeless beauty in automobile design.
The E-Type was also a jewel for its engineering: its bodywork was a steel 'monocoque' with a sub-frame attached in front of the cover in which the engine and the wheel-suspension were housed. In the back, under the 'monocoque', there was a second sub-frame to which the differential gear and the rear suspension were attached. The E-Type was equipped with independent wheel-suspension and disc brakes all round. The disc brakes in the back were placed against the differential to limit unsprung weight.
The Jaguar E-Type series I was supplied as a roadster and as a FHC (Fixed Head Coupe). In principle, it was produced with the well-known XK 3.8-litre engine producing 245 hp, but it had a difficult gear shift.
In 1964, it was supplied with a 4.2-litre engine and a new gearbox which was built in-house. In 1966 a more spacious 2+2 FHC variety came onto the market, with a longer wheelbase and more space inside. Between 1966 and 1968, the E-Type series 1.5 appeared, but the beautiful Perspex headlight covers were removed to comply with American laws.
In 1968, American legislation demanded additional changes, which resulted in the Jaguar E-Type series II. The series II had higher-placed bumpers, which made that another place had to be found for the indicator/ rear light unit. A place was made for it below the bumpers. The E-Type series II was also provided with a safety steering column and a cleaner 4.2-litre engine.
In 1971 the last E-Type version appeared: the series III. This series was the first to be fitted with a 5.3-litre V12 engine with 265 hp. The outer characteristics were changed once more. The E-Type series III was furnished with rounded wheel screens, steel rims and a chrome grille. But the most important news in the series III was that only two versions were available: the 2+2 FHC and the roadster, both on the long 2+2 wheelbase. In 1973, the curtain was brought down on this car, which played such an important role in the motorcar history.
six cylinder in-line engine with double overhead camshafts (DOHC)
cylinder capacity: 3781 cc.
capacity: 265 bhp. at 5500 rpm.
torque: 348.7 Nm at 4000 rpm.
carburettors: 3 x SU 2 inch
gearbox: 4-speed, manual
brakes: Dunlop disc brakes all round
top speed: 239,4 km/h. - 149.1 mph.
acceleration: 0-60 mph.: 7.0 sec.
weight: 1219.2 kg.
*Source: The Jaguar File
Though the Jaguar brand was first used in 1945, its factory had been founded long before. In 1922, William Lyons and William Walmsley laid the foundation of the firm in Blackpool, England, with the name of Swallow Coachbuilding Co. The factory constructed motorcycles and sidecars and later bodies based on the Austin Seven chassis. When in the 1930s their own SS cars were built, the company name was changed into SS cars Ltd.
The SS cars were conventional saloons and drophead coupes in the way many other British brands built them.
For obvious reasons, After World War II the company name SS Cars Ltd. was changed into Jaguar Cars Ltd. It was the birth of the now famous and popular make of Jaguar.
The pre-war SS models were sold under the name of Jaguar until 1948, and in this year the saloon, the MK-V, and a sports car, which was the much talked of XK 120, were brought onto the market.
The XK 120 was very successful, and established the fame of this name as one of the icons in the history of motorcars. The XK 120 could reach 120 miles an hour (almost 200 km/h), which made it the fastest production car of its time. Moreover, the XK 120 cost much less than the other comparable production models by Aston Martin and Ferrari.
In 1951 and 1953, Jaguar won the 24-hour of Le Mans with a racer based on the XK 120, the Jaguar C-type. It made the name outright immortal. Success was continued the next years with the Jaguar D-type, which surpassed its competitors with its disc brakes.
The XK sports car series was a success and the XK 120 was succeeded by the XK 140 and XK 150 over the years. The deluxe saloons were a spur to victory with the introduction of the MK I in 1957 and the MK II in 1959. This self-willed, streamlined sedan was a real ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’. The car was fitted with the powerful 3.4 litre XK six-cylinder engine, which was good for reaching a top-speed of about 200 km/h.
In 1960, Jaguar took over the British Daimler, and from that time onward it used the name of Daimler for its deluxe, comfort-oriented models, and the name of Jaguar for its sporty cars.
In 1961, the famous Jaguar E-Type was born. The E-Type was inspired by the D-Type racing car from the fifties. Like the XK, the E-Type was an icon in the history of car making, with an almost alien design and excellent technology. The E-Type appeared as a roadster, as an FHC (Fixed Head Coupe) and as a 2+2. They also built some special lightweight E-Types to prolong the racing successes of the past. However, they did not succeed as competitors had copied the technical achievements of the D-Type.
In the production of the deluxe saloons, a large MK X was added to the MK II, and the contiguous S-Type, the 240/340 series and the 420/420G series were brought onto the market.
In 1968, the Jaguar XJ was designed and though evolved in many ways, the XJ is available to this very day.…
In 1971, a V12 engine was added to the Jaguar E-Type, and later in the Daimler Double Six and the Jaguar XJ 12. At that time, it was the only twelve-cylinder engine in serial production in the world.
In the mid-seventies, the E-Type had to clear the field and besides the XJ, the special-lined 2+2 came onto the market. It was the XJS. This car was also available as a convertible.
So far the classic period. In the future the Jaguar history from 1980 will be filled in.
© Marc Vorgers