Thanks to Ian Frith, our current Archivist, for forwarding the photos, Peter Sherford the previous keeper of the Archives. If anyone sees photos that they have personally taken, please let us know so we can credit you. Many thanks
Development of an Icon
The progression from D-type to E-type
By Michael holt-Chasteauneuf Paphos, 2021.
( Your chairman has asked me to produce this article as an E-Type expert. I am flattered! Whilst I spent some time in the early sixties working for a restorer in Bournemouth and learnt some of the intricacies surrounding these cars, I have never owned one and wouldn’t lay claim to the Chairman’s kind remarks.) Cast:- Sir William Lyons – Chairman of Jaguar Cars Limited Malcolm Sayer – Aerodynamicist - Jaguar Cars Limited Norman Dewis – Chief tester – Jaguar Cars Limited Lofty England – Competition Team Manager – Jaguar Cars Limited
Jaguar Engineering Department William Munger Heynes – Chief Engineer – Jaguar Cars Limited Walter Hassan – Designer of the Jaguar XK 6 cylinder engine Claude Bailey - Designer of the Jaguar XK 6 cylinder and V 12 engines Harry Munday – Designer of the V12 Jaguar engine.
It has to be remembered that the XK 120C and D-Type Jaguars were designed with one single purpose in mind - winning the Le Mans 24 hour race. That they achieved very successfully in 1951, 1953, 1955, 1956 and 1957. The bodies were designed by the brilliant aerodynamicist, Malcom Sayer who also penned the bodies for the E-Type, XJ13 and the XJS. As mentioned above the D-Type was a tool for a particular job for a circuit with a billiard smooth surface, and thus disappointed somewhat compared to its contemporaries equipped with independent rear suspension on such circuits as the Ulster Tourist Trophy. I mention this as a pertinent point, as it is quite natural to assume that the E-Type was the logical successor to the D-Type, which as we will see was far from the truth. The successor to the D-Type was probably the XK SS a hastily designed 2 seater sports car produced to utilize a number of remaining monocoques and parts for D-Types that were no longer attractive to the racing fraternity.
The D-Type had many features that were not directly applicable to a road going car, namely a dry sump engine and De Dion rear suspension allied to a live axle. William Heynes had long thought about producing an up to date sports car to replace the long in the tooth XK 150.
The first steps in this engineering endeavour was the work of the Jaguar Experimental Department who produced a prototype named E!A (Experimental No.1 Aluminium). This was quite a small car with a monocoque tub to which were attached subframes for the front and rear suspension units – the rear suspension being fully independent to the design of Bill Heynes. The engine was a 2.4 Jaguar XK unit, producing 155 bhp and the car was painted in a pale green colour and registered VKV 752. This car was tested for development purposes from 1957 until it was scrapped in 1959. One of the problems encountered along the way was lateral stability at high speeds in a straight line, which required alterations to the set up of the rear suspension unit to try and eradicate this undesirable effect.
The lessons learned were incorporated in the design of E2A, again a one off produced by the Jaguar Experimental Department carrying E1A’s registration of VKV 752. This was a full sized car built purely as a Sports Racing Car and fitted with a 3 litre XK Engine developing 300 bhp mated to a five speed manual gearbox – that being the current regulation applicable to sports prototypes in this class at the time. It is said that Norman Dewis after extensive testing at MIRA (the Motor Industry Research Association) test track, was particularly unimpressed with this car which was built as a development mule for the forth coming E-Type. Looking at a photograph of E2A, definitive lines begin to appear particularly regarding the elongated nose which is not too much different from the production E-Type cars profile. E2A was also fitted with 2 proper doors
This mule was approaching the end of its useful life and would undoubtedly have been scrapped like E1A, as Jaguar Cars Limited had no concrete plans to return to racing with a works team. However, almost in the nick of time, one Briggs Cunningham, along with Walter Hangsen and Alfred Momo, happened to pay one of his regular visits to the Browns Lane factory. Briggs had no car in mind to make an entry for the 1960 Le Mans 24 hour race, but persuaded Jaguar to loan him E2A for the event, to be driven by Walt and Dan Gurney. During testing at Le Mans the car exhibited high speed straight line directional problems rather like those experienced by E1A and although Walter Hangsen accepted the problem, Dan Gurney was having none of it realizing that in the wet, this tank slapper attribute would be disastrous and bravely told the Jaguar engineers to do something about it. They did and realized that the car had been set up to run on MIRAs banked track with the rear suspension suitably adjusted for bank tracked running. Thereafter the car behaved well and was fastest down the Mulsanne straight in 1960. However mechanical problems affected the car and Walter Hangsen had to pit on lap 3 with a split fuel injection pipe and the car retired after 89 laps with a blown cylinder head gasket.
E2A returned to browns Lane later that year and was due to be scrapped once again, but one of Jaguar’s employees, Roger Woodley contacted Guy Griffiths the well known motor racing photographer who had his own museum and the car was purchased by Guy and preserved. Just as a footnote Roger eventually married Guy’s daughter Penny. The car is actively campaigned in Historic Racing events to this day.
But back to the E-type. The components rigorously tested in the two prototypes were now ready to be productionised under the direction of Jaguar’s chief engineer Bill Heynes, and the bodywork finalized by Malcolm Sayer. The car was slated to be unveiled at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show. There were however anxious moments as Sir William Lyons was already in Geneva but no E-Type was anywhere to be seen. Last minute hitches delayed the cars departure from the UK, and Bob Berry had the unenviable task of driving the left hand drive, gunmetal grey fixed head coupe, registered 9600 HP, from Coventry to Geneva thorough the night, at high speed, to ensure it arrived on time for the unveiling. It did and the world was stunned by this incredibly aesthetic car, but not only by this, but also by its price. It proved so popular at the event, that to accommodate all that wished to experience a drive in the car, the open road test E-Type, registered 77 RW was hastily driven down to the show.
Both cars survive in private hands. 9600 HP is owned by Philip Porter, journalist and Jaguar guru, and recent photographs show that is has apparently been converted to right hand drive during a recent restoration.
The E-Type was produced for 13 years from 1961-1974, in 1, 1 ½, 2 and 3 series , with Open Top Sports, Fixed Head Coupe and 2+2 bodies available, powered by 6 cylinder 3.8 and 4.2 litre engines, and in the series 3, the Harry Munday/Claude Bailey designed V12.
There is of course so much more to this story, but I hope this potted history may be of interest to members. If you want to know all the ins and outs then I would suggest purchasing a copy of Philip Porter’s excellent, but now out of print book, Jaguar E-Type, The definitive history.
I mentioned at the start working at a restorer’s establishment in Bournemouth. Many an E-Type has had much money lavished on it to bring it to cosmetic perfection, only for the owner to be disappointed by its handling at high speed. Sounds familiar? We found that even new cars straight out of the factory sometimes needed rear suspension set up correction to perform at their best.
Michael Holt-Chasteauneuf Paphos, 2021.
Ian Frith's photos taken on a run out 10th November 2015 to the Forest Park Hotel, Troodos, for lunch.
We start with the first 2 photos taken in Geroskipou 10/6/2007 at the PCVC Driving and Riding Skills Event
The following photos were club cars with Red Arrows at RAF Akrotiri, 14th May 2004
RUST IN PEACE
SPRING RALLY 20/3/2005 (below)
We had some bikes in the early days- photos from 2003, last one is of an Enfield Bullet
Below are 6 photos of cars on a club run to Latchi with a coffee break, April 2005
Below: Harbour Show 14 May 2014
Below are photos taken by Ian Frith at Episkopi Fete 14 Sept 2013