Often regarded as one of the most beautiful cars ever made, it wasn’t a hard choice to add an E-Type to my list of must-drive classics. It just so happens that my dad owns this award-winning, MadMen starring Carmen Red Coupe.
Starting procedures for the E-Type are similar to other cars of its time with the simple press of the starter button, once the key is turned, and a push of the choke lever to ‘ON.’ After a few minutes of warm up (and turning the choke ‘OFF’) and a few blocks of easy driving, the motor is finally warm enough to wind it up through each gear. The sound is amazing, with an increasingly boomy note that crackles and pops with each and every blip down shift. The pedals are heavy to operate so a little extra press of the foot is required to get the right amount of blip and brake.
This particular E-Type is very much period correct, with the exception of some mechanical unseen upgrades, due to a very bad accident. Thanks to the upgraded five-speed gearbox, the car revs about 900 RPMs lower in 5th gear and is very easy to use. That extra gear is wonderful for long distance highway driving and for lessening stress on the motor.
Steering feels quite heavy simply due to the lack of a power-assisted system. While turning the wheel results is a bit of a workout, the car feels very balanced and really gets up and goes. Stopping power is provided by modern Wilwood brake calipers at the front with the stock discs and stock brakes at the rear, resulting in a much shorter stopping distance than using a completely stock set.
1965 Jaguar E-Type specs:
Engine displacement– 4.2 L
Horsepower– 265 HP
Torque– 283 lb-ft
Transmission– upgraded five-speed
It’s a low revving car due to its long-stroke straight-six engine configuration, which makes for a very loud and aggressive sound almost at all times. With so much racing heritage behind this E, it’s no wonder that it feels built for speed. At the time it was produced, it was considered one of the most advanced cars of its time and also among the top performance cars of its day. Even with all the modern cars I get to drive, the E-Type feels and just sounds quite fast. It’s one of those cars that you feel and look so cool driving.
Using the excuse that I needed a refresher in how the E-Type drives for this article, my dad sent me on my way for some alone time in the Carmen Red cat. Being behind the wheel is more of an emotional connection with this car. My grandpa owned these when they were new as daily drivers and my dad and I have spent many a weekend detailing, showing and driving the E since we purchased it in 2003.
Additional upgrades on this E-Type include: a cool cat multi blade higher RPM fan, Ron Davis aluminum radiator, lightweight flywheel, Petroniix electronic ignition, stainless steel exhaust, ½” wider tubeless stainless steel wire wheels, larger front anti-swaybar, period correct radio with Bluetooth connectivity, and the tachometer is driven off the distributor rather than the tach generator.
With most any classic there can be any number of items that might need improving. But with this fully restored and impeccably maintained condition, I wouldn’t change or improve upon a thing.
Having that generational connection with my grandpa and dad driving and loving E-Types, it makes being able to get behind the wheel of one even more special.