Jaguar is building 12 restomod E-types

12th March 2021
Bob Murray

Happy birthday E-type! It is 60 years on Monday (15th March) since the world had its first glimpse of Jaguar’s new sportscar, making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. How best to celebrate such a milestone? Build a new one! But if you fancy one of the cars you see here you are out of luck, they are already spoken for.


In the decades since 1961 people have not only been swooning over the E’s inimitable looks, but also restoring and modifying the cars, including Jaguar itself. Now to mark the 60th anniversary Jaguar Classic has unveiled the first cars in the E-type 60 Collection – what could fairly be called the ultimate factory “restomod” E-type.

There are just 12 cars, six fixed-heads and six convertibles, and they are available only as matched pairs to six buyers all of whom have already signed up for them, at an undisclosed price. We expect it was rather more than the £2,097 the E-type roadster cost in 1961…

Unlike 60 years ago in Geneva, when the car’s arrival was a surprise, we knew these cars were coming: Jaguar Classic announced the special-edition models last August. But this is the first time we have seen the fruits of their labour. Unveiling them, new JLR chief executive Thierry Bollorè said the cars “secured the E-type’s position as the most enduring and regal symbol of Jaguar”.


In contrast to the six E-type Lightweights that Jaguar Classic built in 2015 – all of which were newly-built continuation cars using up unallocated chassis numbers – the 12 cars in the 60 Collection are all restored 3.8s. Jaguar doesn’t say which year and series each car is from, but we can assume they are not from among the very first (and now most valuable) E-types made. The important thing is that they look the part, those so-familiar curves – famously said to be perfect from every angle – set off by 15-inch wire wheels shod with 185 section Pirelli Cinturatos.

Restoration goes hand in hand here with “sympathetic upgrading” and special-edition bespoking in tribute to the two cars, the fixed-head with the registration 9600 HP and convertible 77 RW, that made such a sensational debut in Geneva all those decades ago.

The story of how the two cars got to Switzerland, blasting down through France at the last moment, makes a great back story and it is fair to say Jaguar has milked it.


Paint and trim match the Geneva cars, hence the six fixed-heads are all grey (Jaguar has named it “Flat Out Grey”) with black leather interior, and all the convertibles are green (“Drop Everything Green”) with green leather cabin. The body colours won’t be available for any other Jaguars.

Anniversary specials normally get logos and plaques and the E-types are no different, but there’s something else that each car gets which is definitely special. It is a stainless-steel centre console engraved by the artist Johnny ‘King Nerd’ Dowell with a stylised impression of the route from Coventry to Geneva that each car took in 1961. The fixed-head had been driven by Jag PR man and former racer Bob Berry and the convertible by Jaguar’s test driver Norman Dewis, and the engraving is a subtle nod at both men’s efforts.

In keeping with a brief to make the new-old E-types as usable as possible, mods in the cabin include an infotainment system with built-in satellite navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. The biggest change under the bonnet is to ditch the four-speed gearbox for an all-synchro five-speeder. Other mechanical changes are limited to stainless-steel exhaust system, electronic ignition and a cooling upgrade.


In other ways the cars stay true to the original. The 3.8-litre XK straight-six motor puts out the same 269PS (198kW), which is enough in a car weighing 1,183kg for 0-60mph in 7.0 seconds. In 1961 Autocar magazine tested 9600 HP and recorded 0-60 in 6.9 seconds along with a top speed of 150.4mph. The anniversary Es are also credited with 150mph – and are more likely to achieve it than were the regular production 3.8s in period.

Jaguar Classic director Dan Pink says the cars are the ultimate birthday present to the E-type. “The attention to detail demonstrates how this project has been a labour of love for our designers, engineers, craftspeople and partners,” he told us. “Exquisite detailing combined with enhanced usability ensure these E-types will be coveted and enjoyed for decades to come.”


The six pairs of cars might be sold but you can still contribute to the 60th birthday party of perhaps the most iconic car this country has ever produced by sharing your E-type stories on social media, using the hashtag, #etypestories

One thing for sure, the six owners should have some great stories to tell when in 2022 they retrace the E-type’s route from Coventry to Geneva on an all-expenses paid recreation of the run down through France in ’61. One thing will be missing though: Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons welcoming the roadster to Geneva with the words: “I thought you’d never get here”.

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