Jaguar is nothing if not proud of its history in design and sports car culture. As such, it’ll be restoring a select run of 3.8-liter E-Types for the model’s 60th anniversary next year, known as the E-Type 60 Collection. These dozen examples will be sold in pairs to pay tribute to the most famous non-racing E-Types of all: models “9600 HP” and “77 RW.” Wearing Swiss plates as well, those two early examples of the XKE were Jaguar’s show cars in Geneva in March 1961, at the debut where the world met a new design icon.
Jaguar’s quickest trip to Geneva is a story often told, yet as entertaining as ever. It conveys just how awe-inspired the crowd was to see the E-Type for the first time, knowing immediately that it was a timeless design. It may have looked refined and elegant, but the way in which the pair arrived in Geneva was anything but.
“An Opalescent Gunmetal Grey 3.8-liter Fixed-Head Coupe registered ‘9600 HP’ was one of the first two E-types unveiled to specially-invited guests at the Parc des Eaux Vives. Driven flat out to Switzerland from Coventry the night before the launch, public relations manager Bob Berry arrived with minutes to spare for demonstration drives. With an outstanding reaction to the E-Type resulting in overwhelming demand for drives with Berry, legendary Jaguar test and development engineer Norman Dewis was told to drop everything and drive a British Racing Green 3.8-liter roadster registered ‘77 RW’ overnight from Coventry to Geneva.”
The always very-dedicated Norman Dewis drove his 150-mile-per-hour roadster faster on those slippery Alpine roads than what would be socially acceptable today and helped the E-Type on its way to becoming the quintessential sports car of the Swinging Sixties.
Norman Dewis (1920 – 2019)
With Jaguar Classic already offering “Reborn” E-Types restored to the same high standards, the six 60 Collection pairs will include one Flat Out Grey ‘9600 HP’ coupe and one Drop Everything Green ‘77 RW’ roadster, with unique paint formulations and commemorative design details reserved for these cars. The E-Type’s 60th anniversary party is scheduled for March 2021.
Standard “Reborn” 3.8-liter Series 1 E-Types are also presented in as-new condition, with Jaguar Classic remaining open to such “sympathetic upgrades” as a full synchromesh gearbox, cooling upgrades inspired by the Lightweight E-Type and front brake calipers from the 1968 Series 2 models.