(1966 Jaguar XJ 13 shown).
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Jaguar had planned a short retirement from racing, but various factors delayed their return. The factory fire; the need to concentrate on road cars and, above all, high market demand for the product. However, the engineering department had been planning a successor to the D-type as far back as 1955. Malcolm Sayer, the legendary aerodynamicist, had been working on a car that could be both a sensational road car and a Le Mans winner - the E-type. Sayer was one of the first to apply the principles of aerodynamics to motor car design. During development the E-type project diverged into two distinct categories; a road car and a sports racing car, a prototype of the latter being built in 1960.
Briggs Cunningham, the American sportsman and gentleman racer, had, in the mid-fifties, transferred his allegiance to Jaguar. He opened a large dealership and ran D-types in American colours. Whilst visiting Jaguar in early 1960, he was shown the prototype, E2A, and persuaded Lyons to let him run it at Le Mans that year. Lack of development time mitigated against the venture and, although it set the fastest time in practice, retirement followed in the race during the early hours of Sunday morning.
By 1961 the XK150s, though good cars, were no longer pacesetters and Jaguar needed to make a quantum leap forward to maintain sales and prestige. The E-type, which was announced at Geneva in March 1961, was just that. Like the XK120 in 1948, it was an absolute sensation. The body styling was sensuous, beautiful, and the car set new standards in all areas. A brand new independent rear suspension was designed by Bob Knight and situated in a cradle, which was mounted via rubber blocks to the body unit. The brilliant rear suspension, used on the XJ-S, gave excellent roadholding, a first class ride and great refinement. The car had the triple carburettor 3.8 litre XK engine first seen in the XK150 'S'. Producing 265 BHP in a lighter aerodynamic body gave virtual 150 mph performance, with acceleration of 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds.
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