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The most beautiful car in the world?

By raccars Published

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Lots of motoring enthusiasts have their own view of what is the most beautiful car ever built. There are many contenders and competing opinions but at least one of these should carry a lot of weight. When the E-Type was launched in 1961, none other than Enzo Ferrari called it "The most beautiful car ever made." He has a point and with the news that Jaguar is to build six `new' lightweight E-Types that were originally intended to be part of a series of 18, but were never built, it is an ideal time to have a look back at this glorious car.

The sweeping lines of the E-Type were born from the racing D-Type of the 1950s. The E-Type was designed as a road legal version of the D-Type and was conceived as a grand tourer in two-seat hard top coupe and two-seat convertible versions. A longer wheelbase 2+2 model was released some years later. The Mk 1 E-Type was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1961. The launch car, a hard top model with the registration number 9600HP, was driven through the night from Coventry to Geneva by Jaguar PR man, Bob Berry. It was an immediate sensation. Not only did it look fantastic, the performance figures were also breathtaking. The E-Type could reach a top speed of 150mph and accelerate from 0-60mph in just 7 seconds. That performance is impressive today but in 1961 it could be matched only by exotica from the likes of Ferrari. Tellingly, at just over £2,000, it was also around half the price of a Ferrari. Unsurprisingly, E-Type customers began to queue up.

The E-Type was also the right car at the right time. As Britain came out of the post-war austerity years and the sixties began to swing, the E-Type was an icon of the new British cool. Everyone wanted to have one and some of the biggest stars of the sixties were regularly photographed emerging proudly from their gleaming E-Types. The E-Type continued to be a star of the 1960s but the 1970s were less kind. Industrial action interrupted production and new US safety legislation meant that the E-Type would have to have rubber bumpers added and its rear-mounted petrol tank moved. Issues with the gearbox and brakes were also beginning to make the E-Type feel a little dated.

Jaguar announced the end of E-Type production in 1975, but its significance is undoubted. As one of only six cars in the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art, it is also a design classic.

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