Q: Greg, I have always loved Jaguars, especially the E-Types that were built in the 1960s and 1970s. Now I hear Jaguar is ready to bring a new roadster out, called the F-Type. Can you give us your opinions of the Jaguar Roadsters?
Q: Greg, I have always loved Jaguars, especially the E-Types that were built in the 1960s and 1970s. Now I hear Jaguar is ready to bring a new roadster out, called the F-Type. Can you give us your opinions of the Jaguar Roadsters? Thanks, Carl S., Massachusetts.
A: Carl, not only did I love all the Jaguar Roadsters you name above, I had the great honor of taking a girl to the prom in 1967, and she had a brand-new 1967 Jaguar E-Type yellow roadster, which we drove that night. It was powered by a 265-horse 6-cylinder and a 4-speed manual transmission, and what a night it was. As a 17-year-old who just got his license, you can image I was in heaven when it came to driving that Jaguar. There was also an automatic available beginning in 1966, but my date was a real car lover - which meant no automatic.
As for the Jaguar roadster rich history, Jaguar first introduced a C-Type convertible roadster in 1951, and it won at the 24 Hours of Lemans that year and again in 1953. In 1954, a new D-Type Jaguar Roadster appeared with a monocoque chassis, and it won Lemans three years straight, 1955, 1956 and 1957. What I liked most about those Lemans winning Jaguars was the “wing roll bars” behind the driver’s helmet, (see photo) which acted as a safety feature in case of a roll over and for better high speed handling.
In 1961, the E-Type arrived to much sales success, and was available in 3.8-liter 6-cylinder dress only. The wheelbase was 96 inches and the curb weight, thanks to a lightweight steel chassis and aluminum body, was just 2,770 pounds. It was also available as a coupe, but the roadster convertible was way more popular, as it was lighter and better-looking. (Coupes weighed up to 3,090 pounds.) The 3.8-liter was increased to 4.2 in 1964.
The Series 2 E-type arrived in 1969 through 1971, and still featured the proven inline 4.2 liter six-cylinder powerplant. Most of the changes had to do with comfort and convenience, with a few body changes including headlights that did not have plastic covers and taillights below the bumpers.
The final E-Type series came in 1971 through 1974, when Jaguar upped the ante and installed the powerful V-12 in 5.3 liter size. Available in Coupe and Convertible, the V-12’s wheelbase came in at 105 inches, and the weight for both coupes and convertibles came in at nearly the same at a 3,375-pound average. The engine produced a conservatoire 284 to 295 horsepower, depending on emission controls. These cars are sought after collector pieces, but so are the early roadsters that won Lemans as many worth in the millions today.
I could go on about Jaguar, but today the company behind them is not British Leyland or Ford, it’s India based Tata Motors, which also oversees Range Rover. I have to admit I had reservations when Tata purchased Jaguar from Ford, but the proof is in the car and the new 2014 F-Type is the real deal.
Thanks for the memories, Carl.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and welcomes reader questions on auto nostalgia, motorsports and collector cars at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18848 or email@example.com.