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Jaguar E-Type: The History of an Iconic Car

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Autocar achieved an average top speed of 150.4mph and 0-60mph in 6.9sec with a Coupé model, registered ‘9600 HP’ running on Dunlop R5 racing tyres. That car was most likely specially prepared for those tests, but it did the trick; racing drivers and celebrities alike were soon flocking to buy an E-Type.

Early motorsport success inspired Jaguar to sell a select few Lightweight models, with an aluminium body and monocoque instead of the regular steel construction. These proved their worth on track under the control of drivers such as Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill, and this rarest of E-Types inspired Jaguar to build a further six continuation Lightweights in 2014.

Jaguar continued to develop the E-Type road car by fitting the larger 4.2-litre XK engine in 1964. Although it still offered 265bhp, the 4.2 came with more torque. Meanwhile, the manual gearbox gained synchromesh on all ratios. The following year, a 2+2 model joined the range for the sporting family driver.

In 1967, Jaguar launched an updated model which came to be known as the Series 1 ½, which was only in production for a single year from 1967 to 1968. It brought the new unfaired headlight design that subsequently featured on the S2. Improved brakes were also among the updates.

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By now, racing was not of huge concern for Jaguar, and the E-Type shifted tack to become more of a GT car. The transformation was completed in 1971 with the V12-powered S3 model. It had a wider track and less comely front-end styling, but under the bonnet sat 5.3-litres of sweetly smooth engine.

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