Wednesday, June 2, 2010

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1966 Jaguar E-Type 2+2

Likely due to their unfortunate reputation for poor reliability, this blog has featured very few British cars. Sports cars in particular rarely get a nod, because I simply can't find them parked on the street like I can a '65 Ford Falcon. So when I found out about a Jaguar E-Type in my neighborhood, I grabbed my camera and walked a mile to find and photograph it.

The E-Type is widely considered to have been a big success for Jaguar, and a beautiful performance machine. Introduced in 1961, early Series 1 E-Types fit the formula for a pure sports car, with two seats and few, if any, frills and luxury touches. But of course, all things bound for the American market eventually must change to appeal to American buyers. In 1964, the 3.8-liter inline six was enlarged to 4.2 liters for more usable power. In 1966, a "2+2" body style was introduced, lengthening the fastback coupe's midsection and greenhouse by nine inches to increase interior space enough to fit a back seat. The windshield was made more upright. In another nod to American buyers, an automatic gearbox was offered on the 2+2. Curb weight tipped the scales at nearly 3100 lbs.
This example is a first-year (1966) 2+2, identifiable by its clear headlight lense covers, which were dropped for 1967. This car also features the automatic transmission option. Some 3,616 E-Type 2+2s were built in 1966.
As condition goes, this car isn't the finest example. Its body is dented in places and the paint is getting ready to peel off in sheets on the rear end. It looks cool though, with its bright red exterior color and black interior with red plaid seat inserts. The wire wheels with knock-off spinner hubcaps and thin whitewall tires are perfect period Jaguar touches. Another added bonus is period-correct California black plates, and a military base parking permit which suggests the owner may have developed a taste for European sports cars while serving overseas.
A little cracked paint, rusted chrome and a slightly awkward profile aren't enough to keep this '66 Jag from being one of the top 5 most interesting vehicles in my neighborhood.

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