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Throwback Thursday: 1961 Jaguar E-Type

Few cars are as recognizable as the Jaguar E-Type, with its sleek lines, long hood and elegant profile. It’s a model that’s so renowned that Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made,” and The Daily Telegraph put it on their list of the 100 most beautiful cars of all time.

The E-Type got its start back in ’57, based around the highly successful dual-overhead-cam XK straight-six engine.  By ’61, the Series 1 XKE was ready to go, with a 3.8 liter three-carburetor version of the XK6 engine putting out 265 horsepower, for a top speed of 150 mph and a 0-60 time of around seven seconds. The XKE was mechanically advanced, with an independent coil spring rear suspension and torsion bar front end; it was also one of the first cars to feature four-wheel disc brakes. The 3.8 liter engine was replaced by a 4.2 liter version, putting out about the same horsepower except with a different throttle response curve.

Over the years, the XKE saw a Series 2 model in ’68 and a Series 3 in ’71 (featuring the then-new 5.3-liter Jaguar V12 engine), with certain changes to the interior, drivetrain and suspension, before the model was discontinued for the ’74 model year.

The XKE was, of course, a wildly impractical car for the average driver, and suffered from the same rash of electrical problems that made many British cars of the time notorious. Temperamental, less than reliable and a difficult parts-availability situation?  Yes, but also one of the most sexy-looking cars ever, and now surviving XKE’s are worth a fairly insane amount of money. No question about it – Jaguar was doing something right when they devised the 1960s E-Type, and left their mark on the auto industry with it.