The 60th birthday of the iconic Jaguar E-Type today is being celebrated with the creation of stunningly-restored Series 1 models – but they must be bought as a pair.
The six sets of a coupé and convertible E-Type are based on the two cars used for its famous public debut at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show.
Costing around £650,000 for each pair, they honour the cars driven ‘flat out’ from Coventry to the Swiss motor show – one by Jaguar PR Bob Berry to arrive in time for the launch on March 15 and the other overnight by legendary test-driver Norman Dewis a day later after demand for test rides proved exceptional.
Named after their number plates – 9600 HP and 77 RW – and created by Jaguar Classic in Ryton, Coventry, the reborn cars with 3.8-litre 265bhp straight-six engines are modestly tweaked for the modern world, with an uprated cooling system, exhaust, electronic ignition, and a new five-speed manual gearbox.
Reborn: The restored Series 1 models – a coupé and a convertible – are modestly tweaked with an uprated cooling system, exhaust, electronic ignition, and a new five-speed manual gearbox
Jaguar said: ‘The E-type made its world debut in Geneva, Switzerland on 15 March 1961.
‘The public reaction to the lone coupé available for test drives was so strong that Jaguar rushed a second E-type, a roadster, from Coventry to Geneva overnight.’
An engraving on each car illustrates the original routes taken from the Coventry factory to Geneva.
In the reborn E-Type anniversary coupé, the route map engraving is accompanied by Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons’ words to Berry on his arrival in Geneva: ‘I thought you’d never get here’.
In the convertible, this is swapped for Lyons’s phone instruction to Dewis after he realised another car needed to be rushed to Geneva after the E-Type proved an instant hit: ‘Drop everything and come now.’
Next summer the six owners of each pair and their guests can replicate the feat in their own E-Types.
The E-type 60 Edition coupé is finished in an exclusive Flat Out Grey while the roadster is painted in Drop Everything Green
Dan Pink, director of Jaguar Classic, said: ‘Sixty years after its unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961, the talented team at Jaguar Classic are releasing the ultimate birthday present to the E-type: The E-type 60 Collection.’
He added: ‘The attention to detail demonstrates how this project has been a labour of love for our designers, engineers, craftspeople and partners.
‘Exquisite detailing combined with enhanced usability ensure these E-types will be coveted and enjoyed for decades to come by their discerning owners, starting with a once-in-a-lifetime Coventry to Geneva pilgrimage for our six customers and their guests in Summer 2022.’
The two special anniversary E-Types celebrate the separate drives of Jaguar PR man Bob Berry, pictured left with an E-Type in Geneva, 1961, and Norman Dewis, pictured right on a demonstration run at the Swiss show where it ws launched
The E-type 60 Edition roadster is painted in Drop Everything Green – a colour named to reflect Jaguar boss William Lyons’ instruction to the test driver when told to get the car to Geneva
The E-type 60 Edition coupé is finished in an exclusive Flat Out Grey while the roadster is painted in Drop Everything Green.
Both shades are inspired by the original 1961 colours and won’t be used on any other Jaguar, said the firm.
Norman Dewis OBE developed at 25 of Jaguar’s most important cars, including the multiple Le Mans-winning C-type and D-type racing cars, the pioneering XK 140 and 150 sports cars, the 2.4/3.4 and Mk II saloons, plus the Mk VII and Mk VIIM models, the E-type (including the Lightweight E-type), the XJ13 mid-engined prototype, the XJ saloons, the XJ-S and the XJ40.
Dewis was also co-driver to the British racing hero Sir Stirling Moss in a C-type in the 1952 Mille Miglia and, in 1953, set a 172.412mph production car speed record in a modified Jaguar XK 120 on a closed section of the Jabbeke highway, Belgium. He also drove a 190mph works D-type in the dramatic 1955 Le Mans 24hr race.
Luxury interiors: For the six roadsters, interiors are trimmed in leather in a colour named Suede Green
The engraving tracks the route taken by Norman Dewis on his last-minute drive to Switzerland
Engine: The reborn cars have 3.8-litre 265bhp straight-six engines that are a work of art to behold in themselves
Norman Dewis and the E-Type launch
The Jaguar E-Type was launched in 1961 and such was its popularity that it remained in production for more than a decade, until 1975.
When the car made its debut at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show, only one E-Type was planned to be displayed.
It was driven out to the show by PR man Bob Berry, who had to travel flat out to get there in time.
The E-Type wowed the show crowd and proved an instant hit, with queues forming for test rides in it.
So, on the orders of William Lyons, Jaguar’s founder, another car was dispatched from Britain at short notice and driven through the night, by chief test driver Norman Dewis, to reach Switzerland in time.
Dewis then spent time taking VIPs and journalists for passenger rides, and the car left showgoers speechless.
Dewis was later awarded an OBE and was Jaguar’s test driver and engineer who developed dozens of Jaguars including the E-type
He is widely regarded as Britain’s greatest test driver and is reckoned to have completed more than one million test miles at average speeds over 100mph during his career.
After retiring in 1985 Dewis continued to be an ambassador for Jaguar and he died in June 2019, aged 98
Jaguar Classic said the highlight of the visual enhancements is a unique piece of metal engraving created by prominent artist and world-leading engraver, Johnny ‘King Nerd’ Dowell.
He has inscribed the stainless steel centre consoles of the 12 cars with a bespoke etching relevant to each E-type 60 Edition.
Each coupé – in Smooth Black leather-trim – features a stylised route map plotting the key locations along the route taken by PR man Bob Berry.
It has an overhead sketch of the E-type and the words, ‘I thought you’d never get here’, recalling the reaction of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons to Bob’s arrival just minutes before the unveiling.
For the six roadsters – trimmed in Suede Green leather – the engraving tracks the route taken by Norman Dewis on his last-minute drive to Switzerland, with a sketch of the car and another Lyons’ quote – this time his instructions to Norman: ‘Drop everything and bring the open top E-type over.’
Johnny Dowell, known as artist and designer ‘King Nerd’, said: ‘This was a fantastic opportunity to design and engrave the stories of two epic drives by two Jaguar legends in these iconic and special cars.
‘A permanent reminder of the anniversary, everywhere these E-types go, the memory of Bob Berry and Norman Dewis will travel with them.’
As well as the centre console, the bonnet badge, clock face within the tachometer, fuel cap and chassis plate are all finished with a commemorative E-type 60 logo created by Jaguar Design, featuring the years ‘1961-2021’.
A light beech-rimmed steering wheel, as fitted to 1961 cars, has a 24-carat gold horn push.
Jaguar Classic said most significant mechanical upgrade is a specially-developed five-speed manual gearbox: ‘It features synchromesh on all ratios, helical cut gears and a reinforced cast aluminium casing for enhanced reliability and greater durability as well as closer gear ratios and smoother changes.’
Every car is also supplied with a tailor-made E-type 60 car cover, tool roll and jack storage bags.
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