What's there left to say about an E Type? When they hit the market in 1960 they were a sensation and they still are -to many of us-just the coolest thing on four wheels. I can, to this day, remember the first time I saw one. It was the Summer of 1960 and I was 18 and went to downtown Tacoma to register with the draft board. Tacoma, like a lot of West Coast cities, is built on a hillside with the main street being at the bottom of the hill. Anyway, here I am, at the bottom of the hillside waiting for the light to change so I can walk across to the Draft Board when, right in front of me, this E Type makes a right turn and guns up the hill. The driver had the rear tires right on their limits of adhesion(you can tell, they make a distinct sound) as he punched that baby up the hill until I lost sight of it after about four blocks and that lovely Jaguar growl faded into the distance. Here I am, an 18 year old kid driving an old Chevvy with a truck engine in it and, all of a sudden, I am touched by God(or William Lyons). I think that's where this nonsense with old Brit cars started. With that epiphany.
Anyway, I didn't get an E-Type for another 10 years but I did get an XK120 120 Jag roadster in 1961. Penurious college students had to pick up the older ones.
However, I did manage to pick up this E in 1970. It has been with me since and was regularly driven up until 1980 or so.
It has about 54,000 original miles and all of the original transmission, engine, and most of the original sheet metal. I restored it completely in 1992 giving it a new but, a coat of metallic burgundy Jaguar lacquer, a new beige Bartlett's interior and a set of Dayton wires and proper Avon crossplies.
Sure was a fun car to drive. I can remember when I first got the thing. I drove it home to show my wife and asked her if she would like to drive it around a bit. She sure would and off we went for a drive on a lovely Summer evening. Now, you have to understand about my wife, she's a mechanic at heart but is a very conservative, quiet person. Drawing attention to herself is way down the list of things she would do. Well, here I am, being driven along(something I like) and communing with the scenery when I start to feel that we are going faster than usual. We were going about 50 on a 35MPH two lane road and there was a car or two up ahead which we were rapidly overtaking. I was just going to mention this to her when she banged the Jag into 3rd, floored the gas and let out this rebel yell. We went by those cars at about 80 with her cackling all the time. They never knew what hit 'em. I think she hit a hundred before she backed off then turned to me with a big grin on her face and said: "I sure like this car."
An E has that effect on people-even the self effacing ones. It's not a cute car-it's beautiful and it draws attention to itself. It's still a hot performer and back then there wasn't much on the road that could touch it. You need to be a little bit of an exhibitionist to drive one but Damn, they are a nice ride.
That said, I have to say that I don't enjoy driving the E-Type as much as I did. It doesn't like congestion and if you run it in stop and go traffic, which we are getting more and more of, it heats up and becomes very resentful. But it's a member of the family so I guess I'll keep it. Maybe I'll move to someplace where I can use it right.
I just found this picture of the XKE so, you may as well see it too.
The two guys looking at the thing are yours truly and a friend of mine. 35 years and I am still getting my picture taken standing around Jags. I have known the fellow in the picture with me for 40 years. He went a different direction with his cars.
That's a 40 Ford with a 460ci V-8 pressed in. The engine, as you notice, is fed by a 6-71 GMC supercharger. Nice. My friend does super work on his cars(but, maybe a little over the top on the engines?).
If you would like to see some more of the Jag and some restoration pictures and commentary, please use this link. Warning: There's lots of stuff here.