Considering the overarching sameness (read: banality) of 21st Century automobile design, it’s gotten difficult at times to tell a BMW from a Hyundai, based solely on looks. It also makes us wish we were alive and of driving age in 1961, when the most beautiful car in the history of, well, cars, was first rolled out of the factory.
We’re talking, as would be obvious to anyone who is concerned about such things, about the Jaguar E-type, which only lasted in production until 1975. By that time, it had become culturally consecrated as one of the most iconic symbols of what was also surely the greatest decade in all human history, the 1960s.
It was perhaps the first production car to spring straight from racing team DNA, based as it was on Jaguar’s D-type racer, which had won victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for three consecutive years in the late 1950s. In other words, it had substance, under all that style. But of course, it also knew how to rack up column inches: counted amongst its celeb devotees were Steve McQueen, Brigitte Bardot, George Harrison, Tony Curtis, model Britt Ekland…even the slightly more conservative Frank Sinatra drove one.
Its most unforgettable roles, of course, were in the Bond films Dr No (1962) and Casino Royale (1967)—and the car Sean Connery drove is now enshrined in the 007 Museum in Nybro, Sweden. But real cultural cred comes by way of the E-type’s admission into the design collection of the Museum of Modern Art in 1996. It was as much “art” as it is possible for an automobile to be.
Do the math, and you’ll realize that the E-type will be turning 60 in early 2021—so Jaguar Classic will be honoring its storied history by creating six limited-edition matched pairs of restored 3.8 E-type models. Named, sensibly, the E-type 60 Edition, the new model (by Jaguar Design Director Julian Thomson) will feature commemorative detailing, and exclusive paint colors. There will also be just one each of the Flat Out Grey ‘9600 HP’ coupe and the Drop Everything Green ‘77 RW’ roadster, paying homage to the two most famous editions. So, obviously, start checking that bank balance now.
“The Jaguar E-type is a genuine icon, as sensational today as the moment it was unveiled in 1961,” says the awesomely named Dan Pink, Director of Jaguar Classic. “It is a testament to its advanced design and engineering that it can still be enjoyed and admired as passionately 60 years on. And the E-type 60 Collection is a lasting tribute for admirers, honoring the car’s legacy and the achievements of the team that created it.”
The Jaguar E-type 60 Edition is available for advance purchase by calling +44 (0) 2476 566 600.