there is a marshmallow-ness that is…very fun

And that is how the owner summed up his straight-six Jaguar E-Type.

Coming from an older Mercedes-Benz 280SL – a true boulevardier with slow refined poise, the owner of this XKE described three qualities when comparing the new classic with the older Mercedes.

First of all, it has one hundred horsepower more. Then, if you ever go racing, well, the car tells you what it’s going to do before it happens. If you are turning too hard and you are going to go off-road, the car tells you. And there is a mashmallow-ness that is…very fun.

That’s what he told me when I asked him some very straightlaced questions – he bought this instead of a short-wheelbase Porsche 911 when they became collectibles and their prices shot up. It’s not so much a weekend car as a 20- or 30-minute car, now that he has a baby.

You can’t put a baby seat in the front seat of a Jaguar in New York, he said, so the car has to be only for short, private moments.

What he told the two men in this frame was much more revealing – the two bystanders were just overflowing with praise, sure that the owner could just tear off down the highway.

This car has such an extreme aesthetic, the super long hood, the very curvaceous rounding of the body, and the narrow, frail stance – it sparks the imagination.

What the owner said in response was:

Yes, when you really open up on the highway, you know, it is the best way to clean out the carburetors. It is a kind of maintenance.

There is something very different about this car than the ORC cars of Olivier Renaud-Clément. They are similar in vintage in style, and in manner, but the ORC cars seem like they were bought for their ‘feel’, for their look, and how they drive and sound plays into that.

This Jaguar certainly has the qualities of the ORC cars, but the looks are secondary; they play into the driving dynamics, of the ownership dynamics. The idea of blaring down the highway as a form of upkeep plays into this idea of a bond between driver and automobile, one that is only underscored by his description of the communicative attitude of the car when being driven for sport.  A powerful engine, a sporting manner, and an ownership experience full of peculiarities – this is the Jaguar E-Type.

For a real history and critique of the Jaguar XKE, definitely go to Ate Up With Motor’s handling of the car here: http://ateupwithmotor.com/sports-cars-and-muscle-cars/205-jaguar-e-type.html

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