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 Jaguar XKE E-Type photo

1968 Jaguar XKE E-Type

Jaguar's E-Type, or XKE for the American market, has earned its status as one of the most attractive cars to ever traverse the pavement. Its shape is as low and sleek as they come and stands as one of car design's all-time greats. It has long been praised for its delicate grace and perfect proportions. Its designer was no romantic, though, and he scoffed at the idea of even being called a stylist.

When Malcolm Sayer penned the lines of the E-Type, he had neither beauty nor elegance in mind. He was a scientific man and cared little about such paltry concepts. What he envisioned, and what Jaguar ultimately created, was a vehicle set up to glide effortlessly through the air with the form necessary to encapsulate world class mechanicals.

Malcolm Sayer shrugged off the title of designer and considered himself an 'aerodynamicist.' His work was practical, following a philosophy that theoretically placed form behind function on the list of priorities. But in a car whose function was flawless, a perfection of form was sure to follow. Thus the Jaguar E-Type, one of the greatest automotive ironies, was claimed by Sayer as the first production car to be drawn 'mathematically' and claimed by the public as pure poetry in sheet metal.

The E-Type was first shown at the 1961 Geneva Auto Show. Its American name of XKE was somewhat strange, given the car's distance from prior XK models. The XK150, which was basically the predecessor of the E-Type, had dramatically different lines and 400lbs of additional heft when compared to its replacement. Still, the E-Type was initially powered by one of the engines of the old XK family. The 3.8L inline-six first used in the Geneva debutant was the highest performing variant offered in the XK150. Powering the light and aerodynamic E-Type, it was good for nearly 150mph. Though it wasn't as fresh as the rest of the car, the E-Type's engine was an excellent unit that, with 265bhp, made comparable power to the larger six and even the V12 that would eventually replace it.

With its superb design and well-rated driving characteristics, the E-Type was able to serve Jaguar over a remarkably long production run. Produced through 1974, it deserves every bit of the praise it receives for being a timeless automobile.

Production was broken up into three series. The Series I was produced from 1961 to 1968. First offered with the aforementioned 3.8L six, Jaguar switched to a 4.2L unit based on the same design for the E-Type's 1965 model year. The revised engine with its new intake manifold and radiator produced an identical power rating of 265bhp, but its torque was up 23ft-lbs to 283. Also new for the 1965 model year was an all-synchromesh 4-speed gearbox. Other smaller improvements helped make 1965-1968 the best years for the Series I. For 1966, Jaguar added a 2+2 coupe to a model lineup that had previously consisted of just the 2-place convertible and coupe.

Continuing to offer the choice of three body styles, the E-Type Series II debuted in 1969. Whereas the 1965 model year revisions were definite improvements lauded by all, the features that comprised the Series II were not looked upon happily by enthusiasts. With safety regulations in mind, most of which originated in the United States, the Series II adopted a full-width front bumper that ran beneath headlights that had been pushed further towards the front of the car. New taillights were bigger and blockier, residing in a new location beneath the rear bumper. Larger front turn signals were also incorporated.

The Series II lasted for only a few years, replaced by the Series III. Both series were available for 1971, with the Series II getting phased out entirely in the American market during 1972. The Series III was the least pure of the E-Types. Its large egg-crate grille and bigger hood bulge were less refined than the originals. Its higher weight and an engine strangled by emissions equipment brought the Series III further from its roots. At least the brand new V12 powering the Series III was a good design, a 5.3L piece constructed entirely of aluminum and using four Zenith carburetors. Its power gains were negligible, though, due to the increasingly strict emissions standards that killed off most performance cars of the 1970's. Despite the shortcomings of the Series III, the E-Type remained one of the better-looking and more sophisticated cars on the market until its discontinuation after 1974.

Jaguar replaced the E-Type with the XJ-S, which had an even longer life than its predecessor. When the XJ-S (called XJS towards the end of its run) was finally replaced, Jaguar looked back to the E-Type for stylistic inspiration. The new model, brought out for 1996, was called the XK8. Its highly regarded design brought back the low, sleek curves of the E-Type and helped kick off a new generation of 'retro' designs.

Sources:

Gunnell, John. Standard Catalog of Jaguar 1946-2005. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2007. Print.

Wilson, Quentin. The Ultimate Classic Car Book. First. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1995. Print.

By Evan Acuña

Related Reading : Jaguar E-Series History

The Jaguar E type, also known as the XK-E, brought style and performance together to create a mass-produced supercar. The road-going sports car was conceived in 1956 as a replacement for the D-type. In March of 1961, the E-Type was officially introduced to the world at the Geneva, Switzerland Motor show. Its design was created by an aerodynamic engineer named Malcolm Sayer. The front-engine,....
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1968 Vehicle Profiles

1968 Jaguar XKE E-Type vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 1E16781
Engine Num: 7E15711-9
Gearbox Num: EE2243

This vehicle is a 1968 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 1/2 Roadster. There were only 771 examples of the Series 1.5 Roadster ever made. The Series 1 1/2 added many improvements in drivability including a 4.2-liter engine upgrade and improved synchromesh gea....[continue reading]

1968 Jaguar XKE E-Type vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 1E16228
Engine Num: 7E148599
Gearbox Num: EE1599

This matching-numbers 1968 Jaguar E-Type Roadster has been comprehensively restored. It has been finished in its original color combination of Golden Sand with a tan interior and a Biscuit top. During the restoration, the car was stripped to bare met....[continue reading]

1968 Jaguar XKE E-Type vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 1E17502
Engine Num: 7E16878-9

The Jaguar E-Type in 3.8-liter form was introduced in 1961. It owed much of its design to the racing D-Type and to aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer. It had a monoque tub forming the main structure while a tubular space frame extended forwards to support ....[continue reading]

1968 Jaguar XKE E-Type vehicle information

Roadster

This 1968 Jaguar E-Type was purchased by the current owner through a Craigslist ad for E-Type Roadsters. It had been kept in a basement garage on the Hudson River in New York State. After purchase, it received a full restoration that included removin....[continue reading]

Roadster
Chassis #: 1E16781 
Roadster
Chassis #: 1E16228 
Roadster
Chassis #: 1E17502 
Roadster
 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1968 XKE E-Type
$5,740-$166,900
1968 Jaguar XKE E-Type Price Range: $5,370 - $5,740

Other 1968 Jaguar Models

E-Type S1

Year
Production
Wheelbase
Engine
Prices
96.00 in.
6 cyl., 230.73 CID., 265.00hp
$5,599 - $5,890
96.00 in.
6 cyl., 231.89 CID., 265.00hp
$5,599 - $5,890
96.00 in.
6 cyl., 230.73 CID., 265.00hp
$5,599 - $5,895
96.00 in.
6 cyl., 230.73 CID., 265.00hp
$5,300 - $5,500
96.00 in.
6 cyl., 258.44 CID., 265.00hp
$5,390 - $5,600
96.00 in.
6 cyl., 258.44 CID., 265.00hp
$5,400 - $6,100
96.00 in.
6 cyl., 256.30 CID., 265.00hp
$5,370 - $5,740

Industry Production

#1#2#3Jaguar
1973Chevrolet (2,579,509)Ford (2,349,815)Fiat (1,390,251)6,767
1972Chevrolet (2,420,564)Ford (2,246,563)Fiat (1,368,216)5,143
1971Ford (2,054,351)Chevrolet (1,830,319)Volkswagen (1,128,784)5,614
1970Ford (2,096,184)Chevrolet (1,451,305)Volkswagen (1,193,853)6,732
1969Chevrolet (2,092,947)Ford (1,826,777)Volkswagen (1,241,580)5,700
1968Chevrolet (2,139,290)Ford (1,753,334)Volkswagen (1,191,854)5,143
1967Chevrolet (2,206,639)Ford (1,730,224)Toyota (1,068,321)5,839
1966Ford (2,212,415)Chevrolet (2,206,639)Volkswagen (1,168,146)4,635
1965Chevrolet (2,375,118)Ford (2,170,795)Volkswagen (1,174,687)3,993
1964Chevrolet (2,318,619)Ford (1,594,053)Toyota (1,068,321)4,018
1963Chevrolet (2,237,201)Ford (1,525,404)Fiat (957,941)4,421

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