Matters of Moment, April 1961



Congratulations, Jaguar!

The new and keenly-awaited Jaguar E-type is described in this issue of Motor Sport. It is a stupendous achievement of British automobile engineering skill and craftsmanship, for here is a 3,8-litre car selling for less than £1,500 that will achieve an effortless 150 m.p.h. yet which is not intended as a competition machine but as a lavishly-equipped, comfortable and docile everyday touring car. On the appropriate axle ratio this new Jaguar will do 165 m.p.h. and thus, leaving out its highly competitive selling price, it is a match for the best Gran Turismo productions of which, up to last month, Italy and Germany had a comfortable monopoly.

Sir William Lyons, knighted in 1956 for his valuable services to the British Export Trade, son of the owner of a Lancashire piano shop, who made his first Swallow sidecar in 1922, has had a happy and profitable knack of bringing out a winner with every new model since he startled the Motor Trade with the first eye-catching £310 S.S.1 thirty years ago.

With the E-type Sir William has shown that, at a time when other manufacturers are hard put to it to dispose of sufficient quantities of their glistening new cars, Jaguar of Coventry have been able to produce another World-beater. We are as mystified as you are that he can do it at the price.

This stimulating new British very high-performance car is more than welcome. With B.M.C. putting down the Continental monopoly of very small best-sellers with their Issigonis-inspired minis, and now Jaguar planting the 11-type ” bombshell ” on the market, the automotive prestige of this hard-pressed country must soar at both extremes.

We are delighted to proclaim the excellence (subject to qualification after a full-length road-test) of this latest Jaguar, the more so because it is very definitely a race-bred car, using components and ” know-how ” developed from five Le Mans victories and countless race and record-breaking successes at other venues. Even the new independent-rear suspension assembly and the inboard disc-brakes owe much to the Cunningham-entered Jaguar prepared for the 1960 Le Mans race.

That Jaguar have gone over to i.r.s. in a car that is so very competitively priced should constitute an object lesson to the entire British Motor Industry (with a few exceptions) and, we hope, a signal that rigid back axles on cart-springs must now be tossed away; no longer will the excuse of the expense of an i.r.s. layout carry any weight. . . .

Jaguar’s Technical Director, William Heynes, deserves much of the praise that everyone is bestowing on the famous Coventry firm. Heynes became Chief Designer to Jaguar Ltd. in 1934, after a distinguished career with Humber, which commenced in 1921 and concluded with engineering development of the Snipe. From the advent of the S.S.90 in 1935 onwards he has served his present employer exceedingly well, the silken-smooth, silent, twin-overhead-camshaft Jaguar engine, which is virtually mass-produced, being his outstanding achievement.

High performance, especially its top speed of 150 m.p.h. plus, has been the most publicised aspect of the Jaguar E-type and there will be aunties of both sexes who will wail in horror at the thought of so much speed. Let them curtail their anxieties, for Jaguar are merely confronting Home and Export Markets with a car appropriate to A.D.1961, the Motorway Age. The E-type is, speed apart, a phenomenally-accelerative, superbly-braked, stable car of astonishing docility (in this it is akin to another Jaguar product, the V8 Daimler SP250. of which a full road-test report will appear in Motor Sport next month). As such, let us hope that it will have the Insurance Companies’ blessing!

British Brakes

It is a great tribute to British engineering that Daimler-Benz of Stuttgart, a company well able to think for itself, has adopted Girling disc brakes on the front wheels of the Mercedes-Benz 220SE and Dunlop disc brakes all round on their 300SL. This is a splendid tribute to these race-bred British brakes, to which Ferrari has also paid warm tribute and which add so much to the safety and practicability of high-performance cars. Dunlop disc brakes are, of course, used to bring the sensational new E-type Jaguar to heel.

Going Up At Last

For eleven years Motor Sport has remained at 1s. 6d. During that time the cost of paper has risen by over 25% and there have been numerous increases in the wages of the members of the Printing and Kindred Trades Unions.

The Editor and his staff can therefore feel no guilt, but certainly regret, that the increase is necessary, and will endeavour to entertain, amuse and perhaps even instruct.

From May 1st, then, the price will be 2s. per copy and the annual subscription 30s.