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The Jaguar E1A is a concept car from 1957.

Following much of the same design principles as the D-Type, the E1A was Jaguar's first move towards the iconic E-Type. Devoid of headlights it was built using proven race car engineering which included an aluminum monocoque chassis and a shape that paid close attention to aerodynamics.

With this car, Jaguar was testing and implementing an independent rear suspension. Their hope was to have a competitive package available in 1959, but Sir William Lyons wanted to ensure superiority over all the competitors before Jaguar officially re-entered racing.

The E1A was primarily conceived under the direction of Bill Heynes and envisioned by Malcom Sayer who did preliminary calculations and drawings from models. The overall shape of E1A came from the D-Type, but it was nearly two feet longer. The hood didn't need a power bulge as seen on later cars because the 2.4-litre engine was quite compact. The car was very low and it had a rear tail that was wholly different from the production cars. The design wasn't too dissimilar from the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante which inspired Malcom Sayer.

Much of the body was put together with rivets and aluminum panels with divet holes that were crafted by Abbey Panels. While lightweight and rigid, this technique was typical of race cars and deemed too expensive for later production. Built for testing, the car was only fitted an XK-SS windscreen, no headlights and no soft-top.

Almost a year after the project began, E1A was tested by Peter Jennings of The Motor in May of 1958. During his test run through 48 miles of country road, the car beat his record of 50 seconds with an Aston Martin. He later described it as a “potential world beater.” Not long after this report, Sir William Lyons approved production of the E-Type.

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Jaguar vehicles