- The three original Jaguar E-Types from the 1961 Geneva Motor Show launch have been reunited at Wappenbury Hall to celebrate their 60th anniversary
- Wappenbury Hall is a place of significant importance in Jaguar’s history and was the long-time home of company’s founder Sir William Lyons
- Celebratory return home marks what would have been Lyons’ 120th birthday on the 4th of September
The three original Jaguar E-Type launch cars which revolutionised the automotive industry when it debuted in Switzerland in 1961, have been reunited for the first time at the home of their maker, Sir William Lyons, in a celebration of the car’s 60th anniversary.
Combining Sir William Lyon’s ideal of svelte styling with Malcolm Sayer’s aerodynamic design, the cats from Coventry embodied the glamour and innovation of the age. The cars utilised a number of novel racing design principles, taken from Jaguar’s D-Type racing car which had won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in three consecutive years. With a claimed top speed of 150mph and starting list price of £2,097, which was around half the price of its more exotic rivals, the E-Type was a firm favourite among racing drivers and celebrities alike.
Now, six decades later, the famous 9600HP, 77RW – which were used for the Geneva Motor Show press drives, and chassis number 885005 – the original static car displayed on the Motor Show stand, have been photographed in a series of stunning commemorative images at the long-time home of Jaguar’s founder Sir William Lyons, almost 120 years to the day since his birth on 4th September.
“The E-Type is without doubt one of the most iconic and loved classic cars in the world,” commented James Mitchell, founder of Pendine Historic Cars. “A big part of our business is to curate car collections for some of the biggest car collectors, many of which are conducted under the radar, and as a result we have access to classic vehicles with significant provenance as well as some famous locations, such as Wappenbury Hall. We wanted to have some fun and create some images of the vehicles reunited at this brilliant home to give something back to the owners of the three cars, as well as something to make E-Type fans all over the globe smile.”
In the 60 years following the launch, the three vehicles have had various owners and formed part of prestigious car collections making it almost impossible to bring them all together. However, to mark the 60th anniversary of the car’s launch and the 120th anniversary of Lyons’ birth, Pendine Historic Cars set about bringing the cars together again in their spiritual home, something that nobody in the world has ever managed to achieve before now.
Mitchell added: “When 9600HP arrived at the Geneva Motor Show, Sir William Lyons famously said to his executive Bob Berry ‘Good God, Berry. I thought you were never going to get here!’, and I would like to think Lyons would say the same now as 9600HP reunites with 77RW and Chassis 005 at his former estate, and I’d like to thank the owner of the Hall and the owners of the vehicles for making this all possible.”
Lyons’ words refer to the tale of Bob driving 9600HP at high speed from Coventry to Geneva, only just arriving with 20 minutes before the Motor Show started. On arrival, demand for test drives of the 9600HP were so high Jaguar test driver, Norman Dewis – a man who needs little introduction, was instructed to ‘drop everything’ to deliver another E-Type, this time a British Racing Green roadster – 77RW. He drove through the night and delivered the car the very next day.
Today, 77RW is owned by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage trust, 9600HP by Jaguar expert and founder of the International E-Type Club, Phillip Porter, and Chassis 005 by the renowned Jaguar collector from Zurich, Dr Christian Jenny.
The photoshoot took place in secret a couple of weeks ago at Wappenbury Hall, which was bought by Jaguar enthusiast and collector, Scott Shearman, and was shot by award-winning automotive photographer Jayson Fong.