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History of the Jaguar XKE
For anyone who views vehicles as more of a passion than a function, the Jaguar XKE will need little introduction. Bounding like a caffeine loaded bunny rabbit onto the sports car stage in 1961, the Jaguar XKE was destined to become one of the most important vehicles ever made.
In itself, the Jaguar XKE was an incredible sports car. Taking its design cues from the triple LeMans 24 hours winning D-type, the XKE was a mean looking, high powered savage beast of a car, and yet somehow Jaguar had manage to make it rather classy and refined too. It was fast, yet polite. It was terrifying, yet charismatic. It was a competition car built for the track, but beautifully tamed down for the road.
Launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 1961, buyers had to wait with baited breath to get their hands on the steering wheel of the XKE. A small batch of dealer launch cars were shipped out in July and a few handed to celebrities for racing purposes, but it wasn’t until 1st September 1961 that the car finally arrived in the UK for sale.
From here the Jaguar XKE enjoyed a solid 14 year run of production, with plenty of variations on a theme to keep enthusiasts happy. The Series 1 introduced a 3.8l model as well as a later 4.2l version, which was mated to a brand new all synchromesh Jaguar 4 speed box. Series 2 models were notably different from the outside, with wrap around bumpers, open headlights and wide mouth front end. The final major change was in 1971 when the Series 3 appeared. These showcased the new Jaguar 5.3l engine and longer floor pan.
The Jaguar XKE, in every series, was a car that could keep up with any supercars in terms of performance. However, when it came to price, the XKE slashed thousands off the price tag of close rivals Ferrari and Aston’s offerings, putting it in a price group with much slower models from the likes of Porsche and AC. The popularity was secured, and this iconic car earned its place in history as the first successful racetrack to road sports car of its time.