1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8-Litre Roadster

In 1961, Jaguar unveiled the E-Type (known as the XKE in the USA) in its 3.8-liter iteration, causing a sensation with its timeless design and remarkable 150mph top speed. Beyond its eye-catching exterior and impressive performance, the E-Type boasted advanced engineering beneath its surface.

Drawing inspiration from the racing D-Type, the E-Type was among the last sports cars directly descended from a successful racing predecessor. Its design featured a monocoque tub similar to the D-Type, augmented by a tubular spaceframe supporting the engine. Powered by the renowned 3.8-liter ‘S’ engine with triple carburetors, delivering 265 horsepower, the E-Type’s lightweight construction and aerodynamic design, honed by Malcolm Sayer’s D-Type expertise, ensured exhilarating performance.

Setting new standards, the E-Type introduced independent suspension both front and rear, departing from the era’s live rear axle convention. Dunlop disc brakes on all wheels, positioned inboard at the rear for reduced weight, enhanced its stopping power. While its transmission retained the XK150’s gearbox, the E-Type’s innovations extended its legacy.

The E-Type’s iconic silhouette continues to influence modern Jaguar models, earning universal acclaim for its beauty. Despite some initial critiques regarding space, subsequent modifications addressed such concerns. Though offered in various iterations until 1974, the earliest ‘flat floor’ 3.8-liter models, built before February 1962, remain highly coveted among enthusiasts for their timeless appeal and engineering excellence.

Photos by Darin Schnabel courtesy of RM Sotheby’s