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Like the competition D-Type, the Jaguar E-Type was based on a chassis that combined a monocoque structure with a multi-tubular subframe, covered by a slim body. Jaguar engineers chose to equip the car with independent suspension on all four corners, aided by telescopic dampers. Another characteristic inherited from competition was its braking system. A set of hydraulically operated discs with four-wheel vacuum servos were fitted—equipment never before seen in a production car. If the chassis was of enviable quality, the inline six-cylinder engine was not far behind. Coupled to a four-speed gearbox, the steel engine block was fitted with two overhead aluminium camshafts, seven crankshaft bearings and a phalanx of three SU carburettors, delivering 265hpower.
Originally tested in competition at the 1960 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans by Lance Cunningham &co, the E-Type project was intentionally designed to be an open-top car, offering great torsional rigidity. But when Jaguar introduced the closed version, its success was doubled.
Hitting the scales at just over 1200 kg, the roadster was revealed to the press in 1961 by Jaguar. It was touted as being capable of reaching the incredible 150 mph mark, about 241 km/h, making the E-Type the fastest production English car of its time. In addition, it cost a third of the Aston Martin DB4, its direct competition, making the E-Type also very affordable.
In 1964, the inline six-cylinder XK engine saw its capacity increase from 3.8 to 4.2 litres—a version that sits in this Museu do Caramulo specimen. It is coupled to a gearbox with four fully synchronized ratios. Aesthetically, the new E-Type 4.2 featured front headlights without aerodynamic covers, while inside the brochure stipulated improved levels of equipment all-round. Power steering was optional and it also received a new cooling system. Responding to criticism from the American market for lack of space inside the coupe version, Jaguar presented a 2 + 2 version in 1966 which sought to combine the comfort of the new body with the performances associated with the open-top.
In 1971, the E-Type underwent its first major revolution. The inline six-cylinder (XK) engine was replaced with a 5343cc V12 unit, delivering 272hp at 5850 revolutions per minute. To accommodate the power and performance of the new engine, the E-Type chassis saw its wheelbase increased so that all the models measured the same as the 2 + 2 (2670 mm) coupe version.
When production of the E-Type ceased in 1975, a total of 72,507 units had been built.
This car was donated to the Museu do Caramulo by Carlos Mendes Costa.