A global poll organized by Classic & Sports Car has crowned the Jaguar E-Type as the best that Britain ever produced. Jaguar’s iconic car, whether in coupé or convertible form – despite being over 50 years old – is officially the greatest, according to car aficionados from 66 countries. Accolades like this usually provoke the Internet so we look forward fun times ahead.
Collecting the award at the end of October, John Edwards, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations, said: “This a fantastic accolade for one of Jaguar’s most recognizable models ever built. The fact that it has captured the most votes in a global public vote is a testament to its status as one of the world’s most iconic sportscars and now, officially, as the Best British Car Ever.”
The poll, held to settle automotive arguments, has been running for six months in 66 countries where Classic & Sports Car – the world’s most popular classic car magazine – is published, and featured a shortlist drawn up by a panel of some of the industry’s most respected names, including legendary designer Gordon Murray.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the car that is most closely associated with Murray’s genius, the McLaren F1, was one of the 10 finalists that made the shortlist. Still, he was more than magnanimous in defeat and praised the E-Type’s: “Classic styling and advanced engineering.”
Other cars to make the final list include the original Mini Cooper S, the original Range Rover, the Lotus Seven, the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the Austin 7 and, controversially, the Ford GT 40, which, although an American marque, was conceived, designed, developed and built in the UK. Built in 1961 and actually driven from the factory in Coventry to Switzerland for its unveiling at the Geneva motor show, the E-Type married cutting-edge design with incredible speed and handling in an affordable package.
As commentator and jury member Simon Taylor notes: “Not only the fastest and most beautiful supercar of its day, but also miraculously half or one-third of the price of the cars that it pulverized. If they’d only made 75, instead of 75,000, they’d be auctioned today for Ferrari GTO money.”
Even Enzo Ferrari himself admitted there were only two cars about which he ever felt pangs of jealously – the Mini and the E-Type Jaguar. He went as far as to declare the E-Type the “most beautiful” car ever made.
Yet it almost didn’t happen. The E-Type was originally conceived as a racecar, but thankfully Jaguar realized what they had on their hands and the track sensation quickly grew into a road-going convertible and coupe and one that during its lifetime could count Steve McQueen and Frank Sinatra among its many fans.