Retro Chic – Jaguar E-Type (1961)

As Jag’s most celebrated model – the E-Type – turns 50, Stuff gives her the once over

What’s the story?

British design didn’t always stop at vacuum cleaners. Witness Jag’s E-Type, the epitome of British '60s cool. Employing aerodynamic tricks learned from aircraft design, it was fast, sexy and surprisingly affordable at £2100.

Why should I want one?

You have eyes, right? And were it not for the fact that the Jaguar E-Type is easier on the eye than a freshly-lubed cornea, it’s an elemental part of British design history. It’s consistently voted one of the most beautiful cars of all time and appeared in two 007 films – Goldfinger and Thunderball. Bond impresario Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli is said to have favoured the E-Type for the secret agent’s long-term wheels, but settled for the Aston Martin DB5 when the Jag wasn’t available.

What to look for?

Over 70,000 rolled off the production line between 1961 and 1975, so second-hand E-Types aren’t hard to find. That said, Jaguar made three series (1961-1968, 1969-1971 and 1971-1974). The original series came with the 3.8-litre 6-cylinder engine from the XK6, but later models had 4.2 litres under the bonnet and had better gearboxes and brakes. Various tweaks were added over the classic Jag’s lifespan, including 2+2 seating, an auto 'box option and a 5.3-litre V12. Expect to pay north of £60,000 for an E-Type in reasonable nick.