Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust (JDHT) has today unveiled a new E-type Evolution Exhibition at the British Motor Museum to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the launch of the Jaguar E-type. The Exhibition tells the story of the evolution of the E-type from the racing C and D-types of the 1950s, the E2A Prototype, its launch at Geneva on 15 March 1961 and finishes with a couple of very successful Racing V12 E-types from the 1970s.
Currently closed under COVID-19 restrictions the Museum is planning to reopen on Monday 17 May and the exhibition runs to the end of June. It starts with a quick summary of the story of the launch of the E-type at the Parc des Eaux Vives in Geneva, which has now gone into Jaguar Legend. Jaguar PR man, Bob Berry drove the Fixed Head Coupé 9600 HP to act as the press car but there was so much demand for press drives that Sir William Lyons instructed test driver Norman Dewis to drive the E-type Roadster 77 RW from Coventry, across to Geneva, to arrive before 10:00 the following morning.
Specially for this exhibition JDHT have colour enhanced the famous image of Sir William Lyons with 9600 HP in Geneva and this greets visitors as they arrive at the Mezzanine Gallery. Norman Dewis is also there, on video, regaling us with the tale of what has become known as his ‘Mad Dash to Geneva’. JDHT have put together a very special selection of cars to show their ‘Evolution’ theme, most from their own Collection but a few that have very generously been loaned to them for the duration.
1953 C-type NDU 289 – bought to race in the 1953 Mille Miglia
1956 D-type 393 RW – finished 6th at Le Mans and 1st at Reims
1960 E2A Prototype – famous link between the D-type and E-type – raced at Le Mans in 1960 by Briggs Cunningham
1961 E-type Series 1 Roadster 77 RW – the first E-type Roadster
1963 E-type Series 1 Fixed Head Coupé YKE 374A –JDHT’s superb Series 1 Coupe
1966 E-type Series 1 4.2 litre PRP 149D – the 4.2 litre version of the Series 1 is considered by many to be the best choice of E-type
1969 E-type Series 2 NNH 103H – JDHT’s own Series 2 Roadster
1971 E-type Series 3 V12 – The Fastest E-type in the World
1974 E-type Series 3 V12 – from Bob Tullius’ Group 44 US racing team
The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust does not just preserve their collection of cars for the nation but the archive preserves Jaguar related documentation, advertisements, artworks and other artefacts as well – a number of these are on display in this exhibition.
In 2011, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the E-type the Trust commissioned local artist Ian Cook (PopBangColour) famous for creating paintings using model cars, to produce a painting of 77 RW. He started this on the evening of the Gala Dinner and finished it in time to unveil at the end of the dinner. This will be on display with 77 RW parked in front of it, whenever possible. 77 RW is booked for a few outings during the duration of the exhibition so won’t be on display all the time.
The work of aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, who was responsible for the body design of the C, D and E-types, has its own special display which includes a number of wind tunnel models.
A series of adverts has been reproduced on the mezzanine wall area.
The sectioned V12 engine that JDHT owns is fuel injected not carburetted so XK Engineering in Shilton have loaned them their display engine which has the correct four Stromberg carburettors fitted. This normally greets visitors to their own reception in Shilton.
The exhibition is included in the normal Museum admission. Museum entry is £14.50 for adults, £12.50 for concessions, £9 for children (5-16 years) and under 5s are FREE. There is also the option to Gift Aid or donate your entry fee and get an Annual Pass in return, at no extra cost.