As a tarted-up roadster or 2+2 coupe, a 1970s Jagur E-Type can be an enjoyable and satisfying car, but as a high-performance GT with real refinement, it reveals itself to be a whole lot more. Jaguar’s young offspring of the D-Type racer was not only a visceral delight but, unlike other exotics of its day, a truly practical, usable and eminently drivable sports car in tens of thousands of examples.
Classic Jaguars of the 1970s: A Decade of Timeless Luxury and Performance
The Jaguar E-Type was introduced at the Earls Court Motor Show in March 1961 and immediately established a huge waiting list. Initially, it was only offered as a short-wheelbase FHC saloon but, in early 1964, a two-seater convertible and a four-seater 2+2 were added to the range. The cars retained the triple-SU carburetted 3.8 litre six-cylinder engine but, in March 1964, this was increased to 4.2 litres to provide improved performance and economy.
In 1968, a prototype called the Lightweight Development Car (LDC) was built to test the feasibility of an aluminium body over the steel production chassis. This was a true open-top car in the spirit of the D-type racing cars and, with glass covered headlights and a small “mouth” opening for the front lights, it looked like a modern D-Type.
A production version of the LDC was launched in 1969, this time with a longer-wheelbase as well as with a more refined interior and equipment level. It also gained a fully US-compliant dashboard, safer rocker switches in place of the toggles and a central locking system.