Famously described by Enzo Ferrari as
“the most beautiful car ever made,”
the E-Type had been conceived as a lot
more than a thing of aesthetic wonder.
Famed aerodynamicist Malcolm
Sayer, who’d brought aerospace thinking
to Jaguar’s C- and D-Type racers, had
designed the E as a Le Mans contender
from the start. His take on function over
form resulted in a car that ranks among
the most beautiful ever, but perhaps
that was its undoing as a racecar?
When Jaguar’s management saw
the car, they instantly decided it would
sell on its looks alone ( 70,000 bought
would seem to confirm that) and didn’t
need a money-eating racing program
to supply it with credibility.
Had Briggs Cunningham managed to
finish even better than fourth in 1962,
the story might have been different -
after all, everybody loves a winner. But
the car’s weakness was its ageing,
long-stroke, twin-cam, 3.8-liter inline- 6.
No amount of lightening and aero
tweaking could make up for a lack of
grunt relative to Ferrari’s 3-liter 250 GTO.
SUBSTANCE AND STYLE
Configuration front-engine, rear-wheel drive,
Body/Frame Central steel monocoque with
Engine 3.8-liter, six-cylinder inline w/ double
overhead camshafts, two valves per cylinder;
Lucas fuel injection
Power/torque 300hp 6,000rpm;
Transmission 4-speed manual, non-synchro
Brakes Dunlop discs front & rear
Suspension 4-wheel independent
BRIGGS & THE E-TYPE, TAKE TWO
After his near-standard E-Type punched
above its weight at Le Mans in 1962,
Briggs Cunningham returned the
following with a trio of Lightweight Es.
Cunningham and Bob Grossman did at
least finish in the top 10, coming home
ninth. But a heavy crash and gearbox
problems consigned the other two
Jags to the DNF list.
1962 JAGUAR E-TYPE
Jaguar’s long-stroke inline- 6
had served the D-Type well at
Le Mans, powering it to three
wins in 3.4-liter guise. But the
3. 8 in the original E-Type was
beginning to feeling its age.