The Jaguar E-Type is one of a select group of automobiles to earn instant-icon status from the moment the public first laid eyes on it. The Citroen DS, BMC Mini, and Ford Mustang are among those few that caused as much of a sensation as the E-Type did at its public unveiling at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show. Like the XK-series before it, the E-Type combined gorgeous looks, race-bred technology, and high performance in a relatively affordable, mass-produced package. Starting with the earliest 3.8-liter “flat floor” models of 1961, the E-Type evolved gradually through its first six years on the market, with the most significant change coming with the 4.2-liter engine in October 1964. Increasingly strict safety and emissions standards coming out of Jaguar’s biggest market, the USA, meant more substantial changes to the iconic original design would be necessary. Between mid-1967 and mid-1968, Jaguar gradually adopted several changes brought on by new regulations, resulting in the interim “Series 1.5” models. These cars had a redesigned front end with open headlamps, new interior features, and emissions-friendly Zenith Stromberg carburetors in place of SUs.
It wasn’t until later in the 1968 model year that the full-fledged Series II appeared. Still unmistakable as an E-Type, the Series 2 now had modernized and more cohesive styling compared to the S 1.5. Most notable was a new full-width rear bumper with larger rectangular taillights integrated below. The open headlamps carried over, and exterior lamps were enlarged to meet new requirements. Knock off wheels now had pedestrian-friendly non-ear spinners, and the interior featured a host of improvements including new seats and a row of rocker switches in place of the toggles of the early cars. The suspension was mostly unchanged, and the engine utilized the twin Zenith carburetors introduced previously. Improvements to the brakes and cooling and available factory air conditioning made the Series 2 the most practical and driver-friendly E-Type to date. Today’s Jaguar aficionados have renewed enthusiasm for the Series 2 as it is one of the most user-friendly and best driving of the six-cylinder models, while still retaining the beautiful proportions and style that made the E-Type such a legend.
Presented in a handsome livery of Regency Red over a Biscuit interior, this 1970 E-Type Fixed Head Coupe is a beautiful example that has enjoyed regular care and use in the hands of its recent owner. This numbers-matching Series 2 coupe is very well-sorted, with records showing extensive recent servicing to ensure it is road-ready. It wears a high-quality respray in the factory-offered shade of Regency Red, which remains in excellent condition. The paintwork is beautiful, and the body shows proper alignment and fit. The original brightwork is quite attractive and well-matched to this car’s road-ready nature while showing some light hazing and polish marks in the finish. Chrome wire wheels are in similarly fine condition, with correct “easy clean” hub centers and non-eared spinners. The wheels wear period-correct 185 VR15 Blockley radials with plenty of tread left. Lights, lenses, and body fittings are all in excellent order.
The two-seat cockpit, trimmed in correct-type biscuit leather and vinyl, is in excellent condition with recently rebuilt seats featuring new foams. Jaguar improved the seat design for the Series 2, adding adjustable headrests and reclining backrests that better accommodate taller drivers and allow for superior long-distance comfort. The telescoping column carries over from the earlier cars, as does the gorgeous three-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel. Original instruments and switchgear of this car are in good condition, and the biscuit carpets are excellent. Thanks to those redesigned seats and the generous cargo area, the Series 2 Fixed Head is a superb grand touring car. It offers plenty of luggage space for a weekend getaway or a trip to the shops, with easy access through the signature side-hinged hatch. Beneath the upholstered load floor rests the spare wheel and a restored original-style jack in the proper black Hardura bag.
Thanks to consistent use and maintenance, this E-Type performs superbly on the road. Recent mechanical work includes a new brake servo and master cylinder, new pinion seal, new parking brake pads, clutch slave cylinder, ball joints as needed, and rebuilt carburetors. The 4.2-liter inline-six presents in excellent condition, appearing clean and properly detailed with the correct ribbed cam covers, and new brake fluid reservoirs and heat shield.
In 2018, the local chapter of the JCNA used this car as a teaching guide for a concours judging clinic, and it scored an impressive 9.9 points in the “Driven” category (the equivalent to a 99-point score for full concours cars). On-the-button and ready to drive, this highly attractive and well-sorted E-Type fixed head coupe is sure to reward its next caretaker with many more years of grand touring in style.