Q: Greg, I have always loved Jaguars, especially the E-Types that were built in the 1960s and 1970s. Now that Jaguar is solid with its new F-Type roadster, can you give some background on those historic Jaguar roadsters?
ó Robert K., Massachusetts

A: Robert I have to admit Iíve always had a special place in my heart for the Jaguar roadsters. I had the honor of taking a girl to the prom in 1967 and she had a brand new 1967 Jaguar E-Type yellow roadster, which we drove that night. It was powered by a 265-horse 6-cylinder and a 4-speed manual transmission, and what a night it was. As a 17-year-old who just got his license, you can image I was in heaven when it came to driving that Jaguar. There was also an automatic available beginning in 1966, but my date was a real car lover ó which meant no automatic.

As for the Jaguar roadsterís rich history, Jaguar first introduced a C-Type convertible roadster in 1951 and it won at the 24 Hours of Lemans that year and again in 1953. In 1954, a new D-Type Jaguar roadster appeared with a monocoque chassis and it won Lemans three years straight, 1955, 1956 and 1957. What I liked most about those Lemans-winning Jaguars was the ďwing roll barsĒ behind the driverís helmet, which acted as a safety feature in case of a roll over and for better high speed handling.

In 1961, the E-Type arrived to much sales success, and was available in 3.8-liter 6-cylinder dress only. The wheelbase was 96-inches and the curb weight, thanks to a lightweight steel chassis and aluminum body, was just 2,770 pounds. It was also available as a coupe, but the roadster convertible was way more popular as it was lighter and better looking. (Coupes weighed up to 3,090 pounds.) The 3.8-liter was increased to 4.2 in 1964, which meant it was faster all around.

The Series 2 E-type arrived in 1969 through 1971, and still featured the proven inline 4.2 liter 6-cylinder powerplant. Most of the changes had to do with comfort and convenience, with a few body changes including headlights that did not have plastic covers and tail lights below the bumpers.

The final E-Type series came in 1971 through 1974, when Jaguar upped the ante and installed the powerful V-12 in 5.3 liter size. Available in Coupe and Convertible, the V-12ís wheelbase came in at 105 inches and the weight for both coupes and convertibles came in at nearly the same at a 3,375-pound average. The engine produced a conservative 284 to 295 horsepower, depending on emission controls. These cars today are sought after collector pieces, but so are the early roadsters that won Lemans as many are worth in the millions today.

I could go on about Jaguar, but today the company behind them is not British Leyland or Ford, itís India-based Tata Motors, which also oversees Range Rover. I have to admit I had reservations when Tata purchased Jaguar in 2008 from Ford. However, cash flow is no doubt very good and the latest proof is in the car, notably a 2017 F-Type with 550 horsepower. Iíve driven one at Watkins Glen and can tell you itís the real deal.

In ending and very important is the fact that all Jaguars and Land Rovers are still built in England at numerous plant locations. Jaguarís main headquarters is located in Whitley, Coventry, England.

Thanks for the memories.

ó Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other GateHouse Media publications. He welcomes reader questions at greg@gregzyla.com.