Some of the most historically significant examples of the E-type Jaguar will be celebrating the model’s 50th birthday at Chelsea AutoLegends in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea on Sunday 4 September. Back in the Swinging Sixties, the car was one of the trendiest icons seen on Chelsea’s ‘groovy’ Kings Road and its golden anniversary will be marked in style with what’s almost certainly the largest and most significant display of E-types ever seen in London.
Among the E-types expected are early examples, racing versions and lightweight specials. Almost all are known to aficionados by their number plates.
9600 HP– 3.8 FHC, the world’s oldest E-type, 1960 prototype, original Geneva Show car and the Autocar 150mph road test car
1 VHP – Chassis number 1
1600 RW – The first E-type sold, originally owned by Jaguar’s race team manager and later chairman ‘Lofty’ England
FPL 660C– 4.2 FHC owned by legendary motoring journalist Denis Jenkinson
EE 400– Early ‘Project ZP’ competition car owned by Tommy Sopwith’s Equipe Endeavour and raced by Mike Parkes, now registered 616 AUF. Sister car to…
ECD 400– The first E-type race winner, driven by Graham Hill at Oulton Park in April 1961
4 WPD– The John Coombs entered E-type that finished third (when registered BUY 1) in that debut race in the hands of Roy Salvadori
49 FXN– The ultimate version of the three low drag coupés produced
CUT 8 – CUT 6, CUT 7 and CUT 8 were all famous Jaguars raced by privateer Dick Protheroe and his wife. CUT 8 is a FHC
848 CRY– The 12th roadster and the most active E-type racer in 1961. Subsequently featured in the Michael Caine movie, The Italian Job
In addition E2A, the prototype that sits between the D- and E-types, will be on display along with the famous ‘Lindner/Nocker’ lightweight low drag competition car and a pair of early models, chassis numbers 24 and 84.
And there will be up to a dozen other, later examples of the E-type entered by members of the public for display in a special Showgrounds area at the event.
Among the men behind the E-type, one of the most famous is test development engineer Norman Dewis. Although he was involved in the inception of many Jaguars over the years, it is his role in the birth of the E-type that is probably most significant. Dewis, now aged 91, will be one of the many human stars at Chelsea AutoLegends.
“We are delighted to welcome Norman to the show,” said Eric Verdon–Roe, Chairman of Chelsea AutoLegends. “He helped make the E-type the icon that it is and it is only right that he should be a special guest at our 50th birthday celebrations for the car.”
Now in its second year, Chelsea AutoLegends is packed with important and rarely seen competition cars. There will be displays devoted to Le Mans racers, Group B rally cars and classic bikes. Other displays will tell the ‘Made in Chelsea’ Invicta story and will relive the 1970s era of touring car racing.
There will be cavalcades of supercars and motorcycles arriving at the show during the day plus a special tribute to the Mini Cooper – which, like the E-type, is 50 years old this year.
The ten most significant road cars of all times, as voted by Autocar magazine (and, yes, that includes an E-type – 9600 HP) will be on official display with countless other classics in the car parks. It’s not just cars but people, too. As well as Norman Dewis, Event Patron Sir Stirling Moss OBE will be there along with multiple motorcycle World Champion Phil Read and rally hero Russell Brookes.
And in keeping with the venue, just a stone’s throw from the Kings Road, and the many displays from the Swinging Sixties it is hoped that visitors will get into the spirit of the day by wearing mini skirts, kaftans and bell-bottoms and flowers in their hair.