Author: Glen Smale
Published by: Haynes Publishing
Foreword: Stephen Bayley
BUY: Signed copy available from author
In 2007 Glen Smale received the Laurin and Klement ‘Design Writer of the Year’ award for this book and to date this is still the only book on the market on Jaguar E-type design.
The Jaguar E-type is one of the most recognisable sports cars today, more than 30 years since production ceased. Designed by Malcolm Sayer, the E-type was introduced to a stunned media audience at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961, and it immediately rendered all other sports cars inferior and outdated.
The E-type not only set new standards in design but also in the all-important performance stakes, as the decade of the ‘60s saw in a new generation of super sports cars. However, it was the affordability of the E-type which endeared it to the car-buying public as this high performance sports car came within the financial reach of a greater number of potential buyers than ever before.
This book illustrates how the beautifully designed E-type was actually developed from the line of Jaguar racing cars, rather than following an evolutionary path from the XK150 line. Interviews with Jaguar designers and engineers including Keith Helfet, Jim Randle, Brian Martin, Norman Dewis and Tom Jones confirm just how important the E-type is, even today, as its influence can be seen in the current XK range.
For many, the Jaguar E-type is the quintessential modern day sports car. It certainly had a hard act to follow when considering the gorgeous and voluptuous XKs that appeared just after the War. But then the 1960s was the decade in which the sports car really matured, as they became more readily accessible to the wider car-buying public.
Rather than just producing a street-legal version of a race car, Malcolm Sayer created a sports car for the mass market that was much more affordable, could still outperform most of its rivals and with looks that even Enzo Ferrari admired.
Although much has been written about the E-type over the years, this book is different in that it offers a detailed study of the design of the car, rather than just a chronological history of the model. In fact you will find very few technical specifications listed, as the author has sought to uncover the inspiration behind the E-type’s styling and overall design, revealing how both design and technical advances were combined in the development of this remarkable sports car.
The Jaguar E-type is a product of its generation; a time when advances in the mechanical and aerodynamic fields were applauded by both the industry and the car-buying public, and the market marvelled at its higher top speed capability. This was a time when most sports cars were as British as tea and scones, and it was a proud thing to compare the performance capabilities of these homegrown sports cars against their more expensive Continental rivals.
History has shown us that the E-type’s design was so advanced, that it became a landmark car in the overall development of automobile design, and the effects of its design influence are still being felt today. It was streets ahead of its rivals at the time – perhaps, one day, another car will be created that will take the world by storm, just as the E-type did in 1961.