Image credits: © Jaguar.

1965 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 Jaugar 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 off 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 kickoff a new generation of 'retro' designs.


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

Vehicle Profiles


Chassis Num: 1E30493

The Jaguar E-Type was introduced at Geneva in 1961 and produced through mid-1974. The Series I cars had an enlarged 4.2-liter engine, fully-synchronized four-speed gearbox and adjustable bucket seats, combined with the early-style covered headlights ....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: 1E30329

At launch Jaguar named their Fixed Head Coupe simply as 'GT.' The 1965 model preceded the longer 2+2 of 1966. In terms of good looks, those shorter-by-nine inches made the difference between handsome and a little frumpy. Of course, 1965 was still Ser....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: IE20319

The Jaguar E-Type had a potent race-proven engine, the latest technology, and an elegant, aerodynamic design. The ultimate racing E-Type was the famed 'lightweight' roadster. A series of 12 lightweight alloy-bodied E-Types were produced. Some of the ....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: 1E10361
Engine Num: 7E1931-9

The 1965 Jaguar Series I 4.2 E-Type Roadster finished in Golden sand with a black interior was offered for sale at the 2006 RM Auction in Monterey, CA where it was expected to sell between $100,000-$125,000. It is powered by a 4235-cc double overhea....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: 1E10968

This Jaguar E-Type is finished in Carmen Red with a black Stay Fast top and a black interior. It is a matching-numbers E-Type 4.2 Open Two Seater that has accumulated less than 10,000 miles from new. Power is from a 4235cc overhead valve twin cam inl....[continue reading]


The SCCA C-Production class in amateur racing was dominated by Datsun for many years when Gran Turismo Jaguar, a small Ohio dealer with a following of enthusiasts, began massaging the 1970s E-Type Jaguars believing they could make competitive race ca....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: 1E 12494
Engine Num: 7E 7768-9
Gearbox Num: EJ 6935

This Jaguar Series 1 4.2-liter E-Type is finished in its original colors of Carmen Red over a tan leather interior. It rides on chrome wire wheels, has covered headlights, a small grille opening, turn signal lights and taillights above the horizontal....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: 1E 11149

This Jaguar Roadster is a later 4.2-liter model with all-new synchromesh gearbox and more comfortable seats than on earlier examples. It has the covered headlights and thin side-lights and taillights. The car was built on June 15th of 1965 and was so....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: 1E 30680
Engine Num: 7E 2780-9

The 1964 model year brought with it a handful of updates to the E-Type platform. The original 3.8-liter engine was bored to 92.07 millimeters, giving the car 4.2 liters of displacement and a large increase in torque. It was given a new fully synchron....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: 1E 11175
Engine Num: 7E 4573-9

The Jaguar E-Type, which had been introduced in March of 1961 at the Geneva Motor Show, was continual develop over the years. In 1965, the gearbox was given full synchros and the seat backs were made adjustable. The engine was enlarged to 4.2 liters ....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: 1E30291
Engine Num: 7E11386-9

The Jaguar E-Type, introduced in 1961 at the Geneva Salon, had a timeless design that was influenced by the racing D-Type. It had a monocoque tub which formed the main body/chassis structure while a tubular spaceframe extended forwards to support the....[continue reading]

Chassis #: 1E30493 
Chassis #: 1E30329 
Chassis #: IE20319 
Chassis #: 1E10361 
Chassis #: 1E10968 
Chassis #: 1E 12494 
Chassis #: 1E 11149 
Chassis #: 1E 30680 
Chassis #: 1E 11175 
Chassis #: 1E30291 


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.
It's design was created by an aerodynamic engineer named Malcolm Sayer. The front engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle featured a moncoque body and a tubular front chassis. The six-cylinder double-cam engine had three SU carburetors and produced 265 horsepower. The suspension was independent with disc brakes on all four wheels. It brought together the best or aerodynamics, coupled with the latest technology and propelled by a potent engine. The vehicle was not only fast, it offered excellent performance and handling. Some of the most common complaints it received were the cabin being too cramped and it suffered from poor ventilation.

The E-Type was a popular vehicle. It was fast, performed well, and was competitively priced. Due to the United States safety and emission regulations, some of the horsepower was lost. The headlamp covers were also removed prior to the close of the 1960's.

A 4.2-liter engine and synchromesh gearbox was introduced in 1964. In 1966, the 2+2 coupe was introduced and featured a longer wheelbase. The Series II cars were not as quick as its predecessors. The Series III, however, was a different story. Powered by a V-12 engine they were once again able to propel the E-Type over 145 miles per hour.

Production for the E-Type ceased in 1975, after 72,520 examples being produced. It was replaced by the XJ-S; a vehicle that was larger, heavier, and not as visually appealing.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
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