Jaguar celebrates the diamond anniversary of the E-type with a limited-edition F-Type

Jeremy Taylor

14 July 2021

Sixty years after Jaguar unveiled the E-Type at the New York Auto Show, the British marque pays homage to its most-cherished sports car with the rarest F-Type it has ever built

"Like the F-Type R, the special edition features all-wheel drive for improved grip and four pompous, oversized exhaust pipes. Slip into ‘Sport’ mode and a wild banshee wail will follow your every downshift and blip of the accelerator"

14 July 2021 | Jeremy Taylor

W

hen Frank Sinatra visited the New York Auto Show in 1961, so smitten was he with the new E-Type that he insisted Jaguar let him buy the sports car on the spot. In the decade that followed, Jaguar’s sleek two-seater became almost as famous as the celebrities driving it, which included everyone from Richard Burton and George Best, to Tony Curtis and The Beatles’ George Harrison.

The E-Type celebrated its 60th anniversary in March, a milestone Jaguar seized upon to create a special edition in the car’s honour. The F-Type Heritage 60 is based on a top-of-the-range F-Type R but dressed in evocative retro paintwork.

Dark and moody Sherwood Green has not been seen on a Jaguar since the 1960s. Priced from £122,500, the special-edition F-Type also boasts ‘heritage-inspired’ chrome trim, a 60th anniversary badge and 20-inch, gloss-black alloy wheels.

The Sherwood paintwork really sets this Jaguar apart. Grey in some light, green in others, the retro hue of the Heritage is so subtle it’s eye-catchingly different.

It feels about as British as British can get. And while the F-Type will never hold a candle to the E-Type’s elegant design profile, the coupé version in particular still looks as fresh as it did when it was launched in 2013 as the E-Type’s ‘spiritual successor’.

Inside, an E-Type-inspired aluminium console and door treadplates – with discreet 60th lettering – identify this as the new Heritage model. The extended leather trim is cut from sumptuous hide coloured in Caraway – posh speak for beige.

The F-Type range was upgraded in 2019 and the Heritage benefits from a raft of new technologies, such as a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster, touchscreen infotainment system and Smartphone Pack with Apple CarPlay.

The limited-run model – only 60 are being produced – also features an E-Type anniversary logo embossed in the seat backs, plus Caraway-edged luxury floor mats. It all looks wonderful but remember, these purely cosmetic changes increase the price of the heritage by some £22,000 above the F-Type R model on which it is based. A pricey collector’s piece then, the Heritage has been created by Jaguar’s SV Bespoke division and is available as either a convertible or a coupé.

The real joy of the Heritage, however, is what lies under that long, low bonnet. It shares the same, glorious 5.0-litre, supercharged V8 engine as the F-Type R, producing a heady 567bhp and bags of old-school charm.

Such enormous grunt will catapult the roadster to 60mph in 3.5 seconds, racing on to a supercar-like top speed of 186mph. This mighty V8 will one day be consigned to the scrapheap as hybrid and electric power take over, but, for now, it remains a wonderful piece of machinery.

Jaguar has fitted revised dampers and anti-roll bars to heighten the driving experience in the V8, which is more hairy-chested than the current trend for smaller, turbocharged engines. Consequently, the power delivery is less instant in the F-Type but instead winds up faster and faster and keeps going through eight gears.

While the steering feels tight and the suspension set-up uses parts from the now defunct, high performance F-Type SVR, most drivers with be thankful the traction control system and all-wheel drive are on hand to help keep the Heritage on the highway.

Like the F-Type R, the special edition features all-wheel drive for improved grip and four pompous, oversized exhaust pipes. Slip into ‘Sport’ mode and a wild banshee wail will follow your every downshift and blip of the accelerator.

And yet, despite all this, the driving experience is nowhere near as precise and rewarding as many rivals in the £120,000+ bracket. You really have to love Jaguars to want to shell out this much on a special edition.

Jaguar’s Bespoke director, Mark Turner, explained why they built the car: “Celebrating 60 years of the iconic E-Type is the perfect moment to create our first-ever SV Bespoke limited edition – and the rarest F-Type ever built.

“We’ve worked closely with Jaguar Design to develop a theme for the 60 Edition that pays homage to the E-Type in a contemporary way. It’s testament to Jaguar’s sports car design lineage that the 1960s Sherwood Green colour looks as though it could have been designed for today’s F-Type.”

He’s right – the F-Type R exudes a rare charm, which is only amplified by the Heritage revisions. And compared to the class-leading Porsche 911 Turbo, the special edition Jag offers a boot load of character.

Technology-wise, it lags behind the competition and the price premium over a ‘standard’ F-Type R is hard to justify, but collectors and serious Jaguar enthusiasts should get in the queue.

If you prefer something a little more ‘E-Type’, Jaguar’s Classic department is currently building six matching pairs of restored E-Types – coupé and convertible versions – selling for around £600,000 a set.

The ‘new’ E-Types are restored cars built around an original shell. Some of the mechanical features have been upgraded to modern standards, but it’s essentially the same as a 1960s E-Type. Much like the F-Type Heritage, the new models will no doubt thrill hardcore Jaguar collectors – but for those who can resist the draw of the big cat, these may be motors to admire from afar.

Jaguar F-Type Heritage 60 - The Vitals 

Price: from £122,500
0-60mph: 3.5 seconds
Max speed: 186mph
Engine: 5,000cc supercharged V8
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Power: 567 bhp
Torque: 700 lb ft
Emissions: 243 g/km
Economy: 26.4mpg

The Jaguar E-Type – The Car of the Stars

An original 1961 Jaguar E-type, courtesy of Rm Sotheby's

The sleek lines of the E-Type made it a hit with film and TV makers around the world. On the big screen, the E-Type was one of three cars crushed by the Mafia in The Italian Job. Michael Caine’s character, Charlie Croker, could only look on as his team’s Jaguar is destroyed by a bulldozer. A scene that’s still painful to watch even now.

An E-Type could have been Roger Moore’s car in 1960s TV series, The Saint. However, when programme-makers approached Jaguar, the Coventry company was reluctant to become involved. Volvo, on the other hand, were more receptive, offering a P1800.

Twiggy later drove an E-Type in The Blues Brothers; actor Mike Myers had one painted in Union Jack colours for the 1997 spy spoof Austin Powers; while Uma Thurman wore a catsuit in hers for the film version of The Avengers.

Land speed record holder Donald Campbell was also an owner. He drove the coupé version around the Lake District in 1967, as TV cameras followed him preparing for what would be his final, ill-fated record attempt on Lake Coniston.

Yet while the E-Type has a rich film heritage, it somehow missed the biggest film franchise of them all – James Bond. Back in 1964, Jaguar was too hesitant. Instead, Aston Martin owner David Brown provided two DB5s and the rest, as they say…

jaguar.co.uk