If the automotive industry has a crown jewel, the E-Type might just be it. The il Commendatore, Enzo Ferrari himself once proclaimed that it was the most beautiful car in the world. Indeed, what is perhaps Jaguar’s most iconic car is a beauty to behold, even more so today. To celebrate, the fifth annual London Concourse will show off not one, not two, but nine of the finest E-Types ever made.
After all, it’s a fitting scenery to mark the E-Type’s 60th birthday. Old, but still heart-achingly pretty. A bit more on the history, it was inspired by its predecessor, the D-Type. The latter of which Jaguar raced with success, having won the Le Mans 24 hours three times in 1955, 1956, and 1957. Later, the E-Type launched for the public in 1961, and was loved by all on the road, and the track.
The Beginning Of A Dynasty
All of those nine E-Types at the London Concours marks important milestones in Jaguar’s history. It all starts with the ’77 RW’, which was the first production E-Type Roadster ever made. Famously, it was fondly remembered for its 17-hour overnight sprint from Britain to Geneva, driven by Jaguar’s then Test and Development engineer, Norman Dewis. The ‘9600 HP’ Fixed Head Coupe that was already at the Geneva motor show had garnered so much press, Jaguar needed a second car.
Following along the ’77RW’ was ‘1 VHP’. This plate belonged to one of the earliest E-Types ever made, and the first right-hand-drive coupé. Sad then, that ‘1 VHP’ is the only surviving right-hand drive number one chassis car left in the world. It’s still in the same shade of opalescent dark blue, just as it left the factory in 1961. Plus, this is one of just four ‘outside bonnet’ coupes, whose aerodynamic chops allowed it to reach 147mph on the German Autobahn.
Standing Toe To Toe With Ferrari
But it’s not just all road-going cars, as Jaguar has proven the E-Type’s worth on the racetrack, too. ‘CUT 7’ is an ex-Dick Protheroe competition car, modified from a 1961 3.8-litre Fixed Head Coupe. The engine was uprated to run D-Type wide-angle heads and Weber carburettors, with new brakes and a tuned suspension. It’s no wonder then that it won 6th overall at the 1962 Goodwood Tourist Trophy.
Back then, the competition was tight with Protheroe’s D-Type being packed along a grid filled with Ferrari 250 GTOs, Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagatos, and factory works E-Types. Drivers of these cars include legendary figures with the likes of Innes Ireland, Graham Hill, Roy Salvadori, and David Piper. Nonetheless, Mr. Protheroe and ‘CUT 7’ aren’t the only racy E-Types on the London Concours.
The Lowest Drag
Certainly my favourite of the bunch is the Lindner Nocker Low Drag E-Type from 1963. It was the only low-drag lightweight variant built by the Jaguar factory in period. The commission came from Jaguar’s renowned German importer, Peter Lindner, as he wanted to race an E-Type at Le Mans. As such, the Linder Nocker E-Type was fitted with the most powerful 3.8-litre XK engine at the time, pumping out 344bhp.
Sadly, it later claimed Linder’s life at the 1,000km of Paris race in 1974. After spending decades being compounded, it was brought back to life in 2007 through one of the complex restorations in history. Classic Motor Cars spent more than 5,000 hours removing, flattening, and reshaping the aero-focused bodywork to the stunning state that we see today.
Finishing off the E-Type’s legacy, we now have ‘HDU 555N’, which was the last one to roll off the factory. It is a Series III Drop Head Coupe that was built on the 12th of June, 1974. It was one of a special run of 50 cars to mark the closing of the E-Type chapter. 49 of these were painted black, with one bearing the classic British Racing Green paintwork.
Returning To London
Each of these nine E-Types harks back to the golden age of Jaguar, each one immaculately kept and steeped with pedigree. The London Concours is planned to be held between the 8th to the 10th of June, on the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company HQ. Tickets are on sale now, starting from £25.
Adding a bit more on the significance of these E-Types being there, the director of the London Course, Andrew Evans, said:
When we think of Iconic cars, they don’t come much more iconic than the Jaguar E-type. The phrase icon is used often in the classic car world, but in the case of the E-type that reputation is thoroughly deserved. As part of the London Concours this year, we are thrilled to welcome nine of the most significant Jaguar E-types to sit among the nearly 100 strong line up of cars. Each of these cars has incredible pedigree and history behind them and are worthy of being chosen as the vehicles which will commemorate the car’s 60th anniversary this year.