No, dear old Enzo wasn’t talking about his latest creation. He was, or course, talking about the jaw dropping E-type model that Jaguar released in March 1961, sixty years ago this month.
To celebrate this remarkable car, the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust (JDHT) has put on a new exhibition called the ‘E-Type Evolution’ at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon. The show recalls the story of the evolution of the E-type from the racing C & D-types of the 1950s, to its launch at Geneva on 15th March 1961. It finishes with a couple of very successful Racing V12s from the 1970s. The plans are to re-open the museum on Monday 17th May and the exhibition is set to run until the end of June 2021.
It begins with a summary of the launch of the E-type at the Parc des Eaux Vives in Geneva. Jaguar PR man, Bob Berry, drove the Coupé registration number 9600 HP from the factory to Geneva, to act as the only Press car. However, when he reported back to HQ about the amount of attention the car had received the boss, Sir William Lyons, ordered test driver Norman Dewis to get his finger out and drive the Roadster, 77 RW, from Coventry, across to Europe to Geneva, to arrive before the 10.00am start of the show the next day. It went down in folklore and was known as the ‘Mad Dash to Geneva”. A nervous Sir William conceded to Dewis, “I didn’t think you’d make it Norman”. Well, he did and the rest is history. Museum entry is £14.50 for adults, concessions are less. Form an orderly queue, please.