Jaguar’s XK series of sports cars proved to be a resounding success for the Coventry-based marque. In production from the late 1940s through 1960, the XK established Jaguar as a significant force in the emerging sports car market. For the XK’s long-awaited replacement, Jaguar designer, under the watchful eye of Sir William Lyons, turned to the proven template of combining exotic looks and race-proven technology for its replacement. Lyons and Malcolm Sayer drew inspiration from the Le Mans-winning D-Type by using a semi-monocoque tub with bolt-on front subframes supporting the engine and independent front suspension. In a departure from the live axle-equipped XK series, the E-Type utilized the modular independent rear suspension with inboard brakes, pioneered on the Mk10 saloon. The E-type also boasted such exotic tech as four-wheel disc brakes, torsion bar front suspension, and initially, a 3.8-liter version of the XK’s twin-cam inline-six pumping out an impressive 265 horsepower. The E-Type’s steel body followed a natural progression from the path set by the D-Type racing car, with evocative curves and a purposeful, aggressive stance. Upon debut at the 1961 Geneva Auto Salon, it was met with near-universal acclaim, and legend has it that even Enzo Ferrari declared it the most beautiful car he had ever seen. Yet, with all of the exotic style and technology, Jaguar offered the sensational new E-Type at a price point that was half of its nearest competitors.
In 1964, the E-Type got its first significant update. Wisely, the styling remained mostly unchanged, but there were substantial changes under the bonnet. The twin-cam inline-six got the second boost in displacement since its introduction in 1949, up to 4.2 liters. The other significant change was an all-new gearbox in place of the archaic four-speed Moss’ box in the 3.8-liter cars. The new unit still had four speeds, but with a vastly improved shift feel and a synchronized first gear for worry-free operation. The four-wheel disc brakes also got a redesigned booster to address earlier complaints about pedal feel and stopping power. These updates elevated the E-Type 4.2 to hero status among enthusiasts, and the Series 1 4.2 stands as one of the most sought-after production models of the legendary E-Type range.
This lovely 1965 E-Type is a desirable 4.2-liter model offered in the beautiful fixed-head coupe configuration, regarded by many enthusiasts as the purest expression of the E-Type design. It is a very attractive and nicely sorted example, with a well-maintained and highly detailed older restoration. According to the Heritage Certificate on file, this is a North American market car, dispatched from the factory on August 30, 1965. It was originally finished in pale primrose over a black interior and imported through Jaguar Cars in New York. In the 1990s, it was in the care of a private collector in the Northwest who commissioned the restoration and had it finished in its current shade of bright red. It remained quietly in that collection for many years until the owner’s passing and was acquired from the estate a few years ago by the most recent owner.
The red paintwork is in excellent order all around, and while older, it appears very well-maintained. Chrome body fittings are in good condition, and while some plating on the front bumper spears has faded, the overall presentation is crisp, attractive and inviting. Sparkling chrome wire wheels look superb against the red paint, wrapped in fresh 185-15 Blockley radial tires which achieve the proper balance of period-correct looks and excellent handling.
The interior is finished in black leather as it left the factory, and is the subject of a high-quality restoration and recent freshening. For the 4.2-liter models, Jaguar introduced vastly improved reclining front seats, making the cabin far more hospitable for a day’s drive. The seats are excellent, with just the right touch of broken-in character to the leather. Factory-correct materials appear throughout the cabin, from the proper black vinyl sill covers to the leather-upholstered center console, the door cards, and gray broadcloth headlining. It is very nicely presented and detailed down to the correct wood-rimmed steering wheel, toggle switches, and Smiths instruments. The Fixed Head Coupe is a marvelous place to spend a day driving, with comfortable seats and plenty of space for a long weekend’s worth of luggage.
Lifting the signature clamshell bonnet reveals a period-correct 4.2-liter XK inline-six, rated for 265 horsepower, and backed by a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox. The gearbox and redesigned brake servo vastly improved overall drivability compared to the 3.8. Not only was the XK one of the finest engines of the period, but it was also one of the prettiest. This car is no exception, with highly detailed polished cam covers atop the correct gold-painted cylinder head. The polished alloy carburetor dashpots and intake manifold are also in good order. Overall, the under-bonnet presentation is impressive, with proper details like black porcelain exhaust manifolds with copper hardware, hammer-tone finished air cleaner housing and detailed suspension components.
The E-Type is a genuine icon, with legions of fans the world over who have fallen for its beauty, grace, and performance. Strong running and enjoyable to drive, this attractive, well-maintained example is sure to satisfy its next keeper for many years to come.
Offers welcome and trades considered