It’s no wonder the Jaguar XKE was such a popular car back in its glory days. But what about this iconic sports car that made it so adored by the Hollywood elite of the time? The long celebrity endorsement list includes owners like Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen, and Sir Elton John. Even Prince Harry departed his wedding to Megan Markle in a fully restored and modified Jaguar XKE. When you can afford any car on the planet, what makes you want to drop the bankroll to restore a reasonably priced vehicle for its day?
While owning an XK-E is like owning your own little piece of history, let’s take a closer look at what makes the XKE so unique and sought after in the automotive world. And what makes it the perfect addition to the ECD Designs team’s menu of classic retro mods?
The Jaguar XKE is simply the rebadging of the Jaguar E-type for its North American distribution. The Legendary Jaguar luxury sports car was produced between 1961 and 1975. The car came available as either a 2-seater sports coupe or convertible. The car’s high-performance characteristics, overall beautiful design, and surprisingly affordable price quickly established it as an icon in the motor car world for the period. Subtle changes occurred during its production run, some due to the American safety standards of the time, leading to the formation of three distinct series types: Series 1, 2, and 3. Obviously, the Series 1 would be the rarest of the model types, being the first generation and the most powerful of the bunch. US emissions laws required removing one of the three carburetors, dramatically cutting horsepower and torque. The US standards also required a larger grille, wider wheel arches, and a more prominent bumper that altered the original’s unique look. The 1966 models added a four-seater option which increased the length of the car, further distorting the original’s beauty.
Style isn’t always a physical attribute; in many instances, style is perception, meaning how others see it. The E-type had a style all its own and was recognized by many as one of the most beautiful automotive designs in history. Its status only amplified this in Hollywood productions and among the elite that owned them. The car was featured in the James Bond movies, the Austin Powers franchise, and several other productions. In many cases, the vehicle represented the quintessential premium British automobile. We all know how much weight a celebrity endorsement can carry. Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the luxury Italian sports car company Ferrari, describes the Jaguar E-type as “The most beautiful car ever made”; that speaks volumes. It didn’t take long for the E-type to become a status symbol, a must-have for the upper echelon of society. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City added a blue E-type Roadster to its permanent design collection in 1996. The E-type is one of only six automobiles to achieve this distinction.
Have you seen the E-type? It is beautiful. The look, the design, and those curves were like nothing anyone had seen before. On the outside, the car looked like something from another planet, which makes sense considering it was designed by an aerospace engineer, Malcolm Sayer. The E-type featured a seamlessly sculpted exterior, with a long nose hinting at the power under the hood. The car had a unique tapper on both ends, making it the most aerodynamic automobile of its time. The proportions gave it balance, and the arrow shape front end had distinctive headlights and a race car-inspired front grille. Inside, you learned what English luxury looked and felt like. The bucket seats were wrapped in English leather, and the dash had an aluminum-trimmed center instrument panel and console. The first run had flat floors, which were later dished out for better legroom. All in all, the interior design was a perfect complement to the car’s radical exterior and performance design concepts.
The ingenuity at the time is one of the most dazzling aspects of the Jaguar E-type. Beyond its compelling style and futuristic looks, this car offered performance options not available on other vehicles of the period. While most cars had mediocre performance, the E-type hit the ground running with disk brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, and a top speed of 150 miles per hour. Rapid acceleration put the E-type at a 0-60 in just around 7 seconds, and the independent front and rear suspension gave it excellent driving characteristics. At the same time, the price was one of the most appealing aspects of the XKE, at half the cost of an Aston Martin DB4 and a mere third of the price of a Ferrari 250GT. While you still needed a healthy income, the E-type was amazingly affordable.
Now you understand why a company that has built its reputation on restoring and customizing vintage Land Rover Defenders and Range Rovers would choose the Jaguar E-type to add to its repertoire of custom-built vehicles. While Jaguar has produced many unique models that would be brilliant choices for an ECD restoration, none of them have the status, look, and lovability of the classic Jaguar XKE.
Like the Defenders and Range Rovers offered by ECD, a Jaguar XKE build is a meticulous process using modern technology and components to bring the iconic sports car back to life. When you choose modern upgrades, you can tailor your E-type to your own style and taste with modern technology, powerful engines, and infotainment options. When you choose an E-type restoration with ECD Design, your only real limit is your imagination.
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