Despite its success in the marketplace Jaguar was never content with the status quo and made continual improvements to the XKE. Some were big, like the footwells that made it drivable by people with normal size feet, 4.2 liter engine and fully synchronized gearbox, others were small. All contributed to the enjoyment and reliability of the E-type. These culminated in the January 1968 introduction of what has become known in retrospect as the Series 1 1/2, not quite a Series I, but not yet a full Series II.
Most notably the Series 1 1/2 migrated to open headlights to meet new US regulations while retaining the Series I marker and taillights. US cars reverted to two Stromberg side draft carburetors with 'hot-spot' intake manifolding to meet low speed emission requirements. Rocker switches on the dashboard replaced the earlier toggle switches, satin finishes replaced chrome to knock down reflections, door latches added an anti-burst feature, interior door handles were recessed into the door cavities, energy absorbing sleeves were added to the steering column and pedestrians were saved from being snagged or slashed when the centerlock wheel nuts lost their ears and became hex nuts. No doubt thousands of terrifying injuries and hundreds of deaths were avoided. Occupants were treated to wider seats with adjustable backs.
This 1968 Jaguar XKE Series 1 1/2 Open Two Seater is an outstanding example. Finished in Carmen Red with tan leather and tan carpets, it has its original engine per the chassis plate, the fully synchronized 4-speed manual transmission, chrome wire wheels, blackwall radial tires, woodrim steering wheel, AM-FM radio and an Amco rear bumper bar to protect the boot. It is a solid restoration to like new condition with a highly detailed engine bay and now has been driven enough to shake out any issues from its restoration while still being highly showable at local events and on tours. Home market and European delivery Series 1 1/2 E-types retained the earlier three SU carburetor intake with canister style air cleaner assembly and this example has that configuration, combining the best of the Series I and 1 1/2 in engine performance and responsiveness while retaining the fluted cam covers of the Series 1 1/2.
This is a car that can be driven with confidence and pride in its appearance, the quality of its restoration and the care it has received, an outstanding example of the type and one of the most seductive, powerful, comfortable automobiles of its, or any other, time.
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