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The immediate impact and enduring influence of Jaguar’s brilliant E-Type cannot be overstated. Admired from its 1961 Geneva introduction by legions of enthusiasts and reputedly capable of inspiring even Enzo Ferrari to comment on its beauty, the new Jaguar was very much a racing car for the road, steeped in the DNA of the Le Mans-conquering C- and D-Types of the 1950s. Developed from the E1A “mule” (XKE-101) and the E2A sports racer campaigned by Team Cunningham at Le Mans in 1960, the new Jaguar delivered breathtaking performance and remains famous as the first series-production sports car to break the magical 150-mph threshold.
The E-Type’s projectile-like styling remains universally acclaimed today as a design benchmark; New York’s Museum of Modern Art keeps an E-Type on permanent display. While built along three distinct iterations, the Series I cars are particularly coveted today for their unadulterated performance, aircraft-type switchgear, and pure bodylines with minimalistic bumpers and sleek Perspex-covered headlamps. Main updates during Series I production delivered greater interior comfort, and from 1965, a larger 4.2-litre engine and synchromesh gearbox were added.
Beginning as a sound example, this 1966 Jaguar E-Type Series I roadster is the product of a fresh “nut and bolt” rotisserie restoration performed by the consignor, a longtime Jaguar specialist, using correct UK-sourced parts; no item or system, topside or underside, was untouched in the process. Underneath the dramatic black finish applied by the respected Deluxe Customs of Tempe, Arizona, the E-Type features exceptionally straight and well-prepared bodywork with proper fit and finish abundantly evident. The sporting cockpit, handsomely re-trimmed with hand-sewn Connolly leather upholstery and Wilton wool carpeting, was also fitted with all-new switchgear. A new folding top and boot, plus painted finishes, plated and polished brightwork, and zinc-plated fasteners set this Jaguar further apart from lesser restorations.
The E-Type’s mechanical systems received similarly thorough attention, with the legendary XK DOHC engine rebuilt and fitted with new cylinder liners, bearings, and pistons. Excellent and reversible upgrades for heightened enjoyment, driving ease, and reliability include larger front brake calipers, an alloy radiator, a modern Tremec five-speed manual gearbox, 3.31:1 rear-end gearing, and a stainless-steel header and exhaust system. The braking system and electrical wiring are all new, and the suspension was fully rebuilt with new bushings and torsion bars. Riding on a new set of six-inch-wide wire wheels and visually beautiful, this outstanding Series I E-Type Roadster is complete with a factory hard top, tool kit, and jack, plus books and manuals. While thoughtfully optimized for top-down driving pleasure, it can be refitted with the original four-speed gearbox and factory-correct porcelain exhaust manifold, which accompany this stellar Series I at auction.