Motoring News

The night two Jaguars raced time across Europe

COVENTRY TO SWITZERLAND OVERNIGHT DELIVERY: At the launch of the E-Type at the 1961 Geneva auto show prototype 9600 HP became the media demonstrator. Jaguar’s press officer Bob Berry made a rushed trip to Switzerland after UK test drives, arriving at the show with minutes to spare. Image: Supplied

COVENTRY, England – Jaguar Classic plans to assemble six matched pairs of E-Types to celebrate the cars’ 60th anniversary due in March 2021 – it will be called the E-Type 60 Collection.

Each pair will, Jaguar says, pay tribute to two of the oldest and most famous E-Types of all: ‘9600 HP’ and ‘77 RW’ (each pictured) which played vital roles in the unveiling of the cars at their world debut in Geneva, Switzerland, in March 1961.

An Opalescent Gunmetal Grey 3.8-litre Fixed-Head Coupe registered 9600 HP was one of the first two E-Types unveiled to guests at the Parc des Eaux Vives after being driven ”flat out” overnight to Switzerland from the assembly plant in Coventry, England.

REPRODUCTION TWINS. Image: Supplied

Jaguar’s then public relations manager Bob Berry arrived with only minutes to spare for demonstration drives.

DEMO DRIVES

Jaguar told The Corner the ”outstanding reaction” to the E-Type was followed by overwhelming demand for drives with Berry and Jaguar test and development engineer Norman Dewis told to ”drop everything” to drive a British Racing Green 3.8-litre roadster registered ‘77 RW’ overnight from Coventry to Geneva.

Each car was also used for demo drives for motoring journalists to prove the car’s sensational performance – including its 241km/h top speed – matched to its jet plane-inspired lines honed in a wind tunnel by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer.

Each E-Type 60 Edition to be assembled by a team at Jaguar’s Classic Works facility in Warwickshire will be an existing 1960’s 3.8-litre E-Type fully-restored to exclusive 60th anniversary tribute specification.

Each pair will be made up of a Flat Out Grey ‘9600 HP’ coupe and a Drop Everything Green ‘77 RW’ roadster, the paint formulations reserved for the cars. Each E-Type 60 Edition will have a number of 60th anniversary commemorative design details created in conjunction with Jaguar’s design director Julian Thomson.

CELEBRITY DRIVERS

Synonymous with the revolutionary zeitgeist of the Swinging Sixties, E-Types were owned by celebrities – among them Steve McQueen, Brigitte Bardot, Frank Sinatra, George Harrison, Tony Curtis,m and Britt Ekland.

And, thanks to the beauty of its sculptural forms, its functionality and its impact on design, an E-Type became only the third car to join the Museum of Modern Art’s design collection.

THE SECOND OF THE FAMOUS DEMO JAGS: Image: Supplied

Dan Pink, director of Jaguar Classic, told The Corner in a media release: “The Jaguar E-Type is a genuine icon, as sensational today as the moment it was unveiled in 1961. It’s a testament to the E-Type’s advanced design and engineering that it can still be enjoyed and admired as passionately almost 60 years on.

“The E-Type 60 Collection will become a lasting tribute for E-Type admirers, honouring the car’s legacy and the achievements of the team that created it – many of whom have descendants working for Jaguar Classic today in expertly restoring, maintaining, and future-proofing enjoyment for generations to come.”

READ MORE Jaguar features on Carman’s Corner

Jaguar Classic is the world’s No.1 source of genuine parts and owner services for the E-Type. That includes health-checks, sympathetic upgrades, and restoring selected examples to ‘Reborn’ specification and as-new condition.

For more information on the full range of cars, services, parts and experiences offered by Jaguar Classic visit: http://www.jaguar.com/classic. For regular updates from Jaguar Classic, including the progress of the E-Type 60 Collection, follow the new official @Jaguar.Classic account on Instagram.

Customers interested in this unrepeatable opportunity should contact Jaguar Classic directly at http://www.jaguar.com/classic .

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