Celebrating 50 years of the Jaguar E-type

The Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place this week at the grounds of Goodwood House, and this year marks a special anniversary for one of the greatest British cars of all time.

The Jaguar E-type sports car was famously described as the most beautiful car in the world by none other than Enzo Ferrari – an astonishing tribute considering the regard the Italian car maker is held in when it comes to car design.

It’s not just Ferrari who lavished praise on the E-type; leading publication Auto Car recently named it the greatest ever road test car out of 5000 cars tested in the history of the magazine (and website).

On making the announcement, Auto Car lined up two of the most respected racing drivers in the world to describe what it was about the Jaguar E-type that made it so special.

Sir Stirling Moss commented: “The XK120 was an amazing thing coming right after the war but when the E-Type arrived, even knowing William Lyons and Bill Heynes, I was as stunned as everyone else. It was a very special car and is still just as stylish today. It is such a thoroughbred car, it has an elegance that all Jaguars share and remains with them today.”

Meanwhile, fellow ex-F1 driver Sir Jackie Stewart added: “Nothing let this car down, particularly when it first came out. In its purest form it was an incredibly beautiful car. Its lines were so clean. It revolutionised motoring and everyone wanted one. Why have a Ferrari when you could have one of these?”

Even Jaguar’s owners, Tata Motors, described the car as ‘beautiful’, revealing the E-type was one of the reasons they were attracted to Jaguar in the first place.

Launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961, the Jaguar E-type is a two-seat sports car offering style and performance.

Available as a coupe, convertible and even a 2+2 seat version in later years, the car featured a potent 3.8-litre engine which was replaced by a 4.2-litre unit in later years.

So successful was the Jaguar E-type, the brand insists its design and style influences the range to this day. The likes of the Jaguar XKR-S, the new performance model sitting at the top of the XK range, may look different, but Jaguar says it follows the performance, comfort, cutting-edge technology and award-winning design of the E-type before it.

As Jaguar prepares to celebrate the E-type at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, UK car buyers can look forward to the possibility of a new sports car to sit below the Jaguar XK in the range.

Although not confirmed by Jaguar, a new car is rumoured to be in development to extend the Jaguar range from the Jaguar XK, Jaguar XF and Jaguar XJ currently offered.

If it is half as good as the E-type, Jaguar will be onto a winner.