Jaguar's iconic E-type is celebrating a birthday this year and the shapely Brit is going to need 50 candles on its cake. Launched in 1961, the Jaguar E-Type was priced at £2,256, or about $3,612 USD based on current exchange rates. That £2,200 cost translates to £38,000 today, or about $61,000... a bargain compared to other exotic sports cars of its time and it was just as capable, with a top speed of 150 miles per hour.
Jaguar sold 70,000 E-Types over the course of 14 years and its style still holds up to this day. In fact, the styling of the E-Type gives other cars of any era cause to look in the mirror and weep silently. Even Enzo Ferrari called it "the most beautiful car in the world."
To honor the sultry coupe, Jaguar is planning a variety of motoring events throughout the year. The brand is the featured marquee at the 2011 Monterey Motorsports reunion and E-Types will be the toast of this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Nürburgring Old Timer Grand Prix and kicking off the birthday festivities will be the Silverstone Classic.
Click past the jump for details on the E-Type and its 50th birthday celebrations.
[Sources: Jaguar, Silverstone Classic]
This year's Silverstone Classic (22-24 July) will be the world's premier venue for the Jaguar E-Type's 50th birthday celebrations. Launched in 1961, the legendary E-Type remains one of the most iconic, elegant and revered sports cars of all time and its golden anniversary will be honoured with a host of special races and displays at the world's biggest classic motor racing festival.
Jaguar owners clubs in the UK have chosen the 2011 Silverstone Classic as the number one event worldwide to mark the E-Type's half century. They are forecasting the greatest showing of Jaguar E-Types ever assembled with eager owners bringing their cherished cars from right around the world.
Adding to the festivities, the weekend's busy on-track schedule includes two races dedicated solely to competition versions of the Jaguar E-Type. With nearly 90 cars already registered with the Historic Sports Car Club (HSCC) organisers, a record grid of more than 50 race-prepared E-Types is predicted.
"The response has been remarkable with huge interest from the UK as well as abroad," reports Grahame White, Chief Executive of the HSCC. "As the Silverstone Classic is held on the full Grand Prix circuit we will be able to start what's almost certain to be the biggest grid of E-Types of all time – it promises to be a magnificent site and a fabulous celebration."
In total, more than a thousand racing and road-going E-Types are expected to join the golden anniversary celebrations at Silverstone and owners are being provided with dedicated infield parking areas and special ticket discounts, plus many other benefits. Notably the Jaguar E-Type Club has set up a unique 'E50 Birthday Celebration' weekend package to include a run through some of England's most beautiful countryside, accommodation and a dinner dance in Shakespeare Country at Stratford-upon-Avon plus three day's attendance at the 2011 Silverstone Classic.
"With so many E-Types on and off the track, it's going to be a fantastic occasion – the world's biggest and best celebration for one of the truly great sports cars," says Nick Wigley, Event Director. "What's more, the Silverstone Classic offers the perfect place and timing for the world to celebrate such an important milestone in automotive history. After all Jaguar designed and produced the E-Types just up the road at Browns Lane in Coventry and the very first UK sales commenced in July 1961. It's going to be an absolutely amazing occasion – a party no classic car fan will want to miss."
Highlighting the legendary Jaguar's central role at this year's Silverstone Classic, one of the very first Jaguar E-Types produced was featured on the event's award winning exhibition stand earlier this month at the Autosport Show International.
The historic car on display was the 11th Jaguar E-Type car made, chassis number 850011 and will be one of the many contesting the two HSCC Jaguar E-Type Challenge races at the Silverstone Classic in July. These early pre-production cars were sold to selected customers who would race them, gaining valuable promotion. This car went to George Wicken, a successful Formula 2 driver who raced it throughout 1961 against the likes of Graham Hill, Roy Salvadori and Bruce McLaren and was one of only two E-Types entered for the 1961 TT at Goodwood. It now competes successfully in historic racing driven by owner Gary Pearson.
Highlighting the amazing mix of famous competition cars that will be racing alongside the E-Types at the 2011 Silverstone Classic, the display stand at the recent Autosport Show also featured a Maserati 250F from the Fifties, regarded by many as the finest Grand Prix car of all generations, as well as one of the famous V12 Silk Cut Jaguar XJR9s that took the famous British marque back to victory at Le Mans in 1988. Later in the year, both will be lining up on respective HGPCA pre-61 Grand Prix Cars and Group C grids at the 2011 Silverstone Classic.
Gaydon, 24 January 2011. This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most famous and desirable cars in automotive history - the Jaguar E-Type.
Jaguar will be celebrating this special anniversary year at high-profile motoring events throughout 2011.
The company will mark the anniversary at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and go on to celebrate at Goodwood's Revival and Festival of Speed, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the Nurburgring Old Timer Grand Prix and a host of Jaguar customer, dealer and lifestyle events worldwide.
When it was launched in 1961, the appeal of E-Type transcended the automotive world. Such is the inherent rightness of its proportions, stance and purity of line, that it is a permanent exhibit in New York's Museum of Modern Art.
The now iconic E-Type set new standards in automotive design and performance when it was launched in 1961. Its influence is still apparent in Jaguar's modern range: cars that offer a peerless blend of performance, comfort, cutting-edge technology and award-winning design.
"Half a century of progress has not diminished the significance of the E-Type," said Mike O'Driscoll, Managing Director Jaguar Cars and Chairman Jaguar Heritage. "It was a sensation when it was launched, and remains Jaguar's most enduring and iconic symbol. The E-Type is simply one of the most exciting cars ever created and a legacy to the genius of Jaguar's founder, Sir William Lyons."
"It is impossible to overstate the impact the E-Type had when it was unveiled in 1961," said Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director. "Here was a car that encapsulated the spirit of the revolutionary era it came to symbolise. The E-Type is a design that even today continues to inform the work we do in styling the Jaguars of the future."
Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961, Jaguar's E-Type caused a sensation. Capable of achieving 150mph, but costing a fraction of the price of rivals with similar performance, it was the affordable supercar and became an instant icon - remaining on sale for 14 years.