World famous Jaguar E-Types take to Bridgnorth to mark special 60th anniversary

Two of the most famous Jaguar E-Types in the world have taken part in a special birthday run through Bridgnorth to commemorate their first public appearance 60 years ago.

Jaguar E-Type 1VHP, Chassis Number 4 and Chassis Number 60 travelling through Bridgnorth
Jaguar E-Type 1VHP, Chassis Number 4 and Chassis Number 60 travelling through Bridgnorth

Chassis Number Four, the first E-Type ever sold, belonging to Lofty England, and 1VHP, the first right-hand drive fixed head E-Type, were two of a number of vintage vehicles that Classic Motor Cars (CMC) took to the road this week.

Marking the opening of the 31st Geneva Motor Show on March 17 1961, when the car was first unveiled to the public, the in-house event saw the cars travel from CMC's base at Stanmore Business Park to the idyllic Davenport House.

Having won Restoration of the Year at the International Historic Motoring Awards in 2011 and the Octane Awards in 2017 for its work on Jaguars, CMC has become world-renowned for preserving the legacy of British motoring.

The cars finished their run through Bridgnorth at Davenport House. Photo: Tom Clutterbuck

Managing director Nigel Woodward said: "The company was set up 28 years ago with the prime objective of restoring Jaguar cars and in particular, E-Types.

"During that time it has restored hundreds of E-Types, many of them famous early outside bonnet lock cars.

"We now have a worldwide reputation for restoring other marques to the same exacting standards."

In order to launch the car in 1961, Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis drove it from Coventry to Geneva overnight and was met by Enzo Ferrari, who told him it was the "most beautiful car" he had ever seen.

Most recognised

Norman, who lived in Church Stretton, died aged 98 in 2019.

"We wanted to mark the day 60 years ago at the Geneva Motor Show when the public first saw this iconic car and fell in love with it," said Nigel.

"It's the most recognised car in the world and was famously described by Enzo Ferrari as the most beautiful car ever made.

"This marks yet another milestone in the history of this famous marque and it seemed fitting that we mark the birthday in style."

On the opening day of the Geneva Motor Show in 1961, Jaguar received a flood of orders and it is believed that the first sale was to Jacques Charrier, husband of Brigitte Bardot. The French film star then drove from Rome to test the 150mph car.

There was no advertised price for the car but press reports suggested that it was selling for about £2,860.

Today, a well restored early E-Type can fetch £250,000 or more.

Of the 120 cars at CMC, just under half are E-Types being worked on by the team of 40 employees. These make up some of the 76,000 E-Types built in total.

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