Back in 1951, this was Jag’s flagship celestial race shuttle. The utterly, deeply gorgeous bodywork hid a lightweight tubular chassis and XK120 running gear, using the road car’s 3.4-litre straight six - albeit tuned to 205bhp. It managed to win the Le Mans 24 hour race twice, and we’d like one very much.
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A look back at all of the Jaguar Types
Like the C, it was a factory-built racer, only this came with added AWESOME. See the giant stabiliser? That was designed by Malcolm Sayer to keep the car steady on the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans - he joined Jaguar after working at the Bristol Aeroplane Company, so it works and everything.
They were initially race-only machines, but after Jaguar withdrew from racing they offered the remaining, unfinished chassis as the roadgoing XKSS. To service public highway legislation Jag added an extra seat, another door, a full-width windscreen and a slightly rubbish folding roof. Steve McQueen bought one. Which makes it brilliant.
FUN FACT! When the E-Type was launched at the Geneva motor show in 1961, demand for a test drive was so high that Jaguar had to get its chief test driver, Norman Dewis, to drive a car to Switzerland from Browns Lane in Coventry overnight. He left at 7.45pm and arrived the following morning at Hotel du Parc des Eaux Vives, twelve minutes before his 10am deadline. That’s an average of 68mph. And remember - his journey more or less pre-dated the motorway network…
ANOTHER FUN FACT! The eponymous Enzo Ferrari described it as “the most beautiful car ever made”. High praise indeed.
FINAL FUN FACT! Jeremy’s a big fan…
Hold on - that’s a Jaguar Mk II, isn’t it? Well… no. The first S-Type, which was introduced in 1959, wore very similar sheet metal to the Mk II (albeit longer, stiffer and with a higher roofline), but underneath it was a lot more sophisticated and luxurious.
It got a mid-scale version of the Mark X’s independent rear suspension (replacing the Mk II’s live rear axle) and the power steering was also upgraded to a quicker system. Inside, it got a full walnut veneer dashboard, the front seats got extra adjustment and there was more headroom in the back.
49 years after the first iteration landed, Jag released a similarly mid-size exec saloon at the 1998 Birmingham motor show, ready for sale on the original car’s 50th birthday.
It came in a super-sporting flavour, namely the S-Type R, which got a 4.2-litre V8 and Eaton M112 supercharger making 400bhp. But you’ll probably remember the diesel version, in which Jeremy set a nifty 9:59 lap time of the Nürburgring.
When it dropped in 2001, the X-Type was the smallest Jaguar on sale and the manufacturer’s first compact saloon since the Mk I of 1955. You could get it in saloon and estate flavour and it was loosely based on the Ford DC132 platform (the one the Mondeo used).
It also came in four-wheel drive, which Jeremy found very useful for a spot of British skiing…