Jaguar XKE

“This car should be in a garage, not on the street,” said one passerby. The girl he was with was beaming, snapping pictures with her iphone, saying this was her dream car. I couldn’t have disagreed more. With the guy, I mean. 


The story of the E-Type has been told a thousand times, XKEs make magazine covers all the time, calendars and tumblr updates overflow with pictures and descriptions of these old Jaguars. This feels like the silver age of the E-Type.

         Yet all of the poster cars and published histories lack the visceral impressions of seeing an XKE in person, parked among the mundane cars that fill up an ordinary street. In pictures it is hard to get a sense of how the coupe’s cabin rises turret-like from the low, broad roadster body. In pictures it is hard to appreciate the swelled sides of pre-Series III cars.

When you take an XKE out of the garage and free it from its heavy burden of appreciation, your fellow people can see their Jaguar fantasies returned to them. XKEs seem especially full of dreams. Down in SoHo so many people seemed to forget other things and dwell on this car’s form. It was like the Jaguar was speaking to them, reminding them of classic aspirations of having a nice car.

  The dappled shadows waving across the car probably played an important part in this repeated theater, as did the fine warm weather and the happy shopping crowd. There is certainly something to the XKE itself that makes people love this little car.

So why then be selfish and cruel and keep a Snow White like this forever asleep in a garage? Let it shine and roar down the street, because it brings some joy to people on the street. How could that man say this car should be stored away while the lady next to him so openly laughed and smiled because the owner had done just the opposite?

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10 Responses to Jaguar XKE

  1. MrCaringi says:

    Your work is awesome! thanks for sharing!

  2. Ben Orlove says:

    The out-of- and in-focus objects in the first two images sharpen the immediacy of the cars. Close-up of wheel terrific. Final shot with paint on curb spectacular! Thanks.

  3. Pingback: Fascination of the Boring: 1989-1990 Geo Prizm GSi | Autofrei

  4. Garlan says:

    Beautiful, absolutely beautiful….

  5. Fast Panda says:

    On Thursday evening I was walking along 68th Street, going to Central Park to wait for my girlfriend before the Nas/Damien Marley show.

    I made it to 5th Avenue just in time to see a red E-Type convertible waiting at the light, a block up.

    Smiled, paused, waited, let the light change.

    Seeing one in real life is arresting. Seeing, and hearing, and even smelling (was running a bit rich, methinks) one on the move is hypnotic. I can only imagine about the actual driving.

    It was a lovely moment.

    • Raphael Orlove says:

      Exactly – cars like this should be driven so that people can see them among normal cars and buildings, hear them, smell them – it’s a richer world with XKEs driving around

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  7. I’m the current caretaker of a ’65 E-type that once belonged to my father. I drive it as often as I can. I make a habit of letting people sit in it, and if I know I can trust them, letting them drive. I have a sign I leave on it if I’m ever away that basically says “go ahead and touch this car” because I know that it is 2500+ pounds of steel, aluminum, rubber and glass, and that loving hands can not possibly do it harm. You are right that they should be seen, and they must be shared. Cars have lost their souls and become safe little cocoons that wall us off from the world and each other. Such a thing is not possible in an open E-type Jaguar. The world surrounds you when you are at the wheel, Sir William’s Sixth Symphony and The Winds becomes your soundtrack – reawakening the world around you from its slumber.

    • Raphael Orlove says:

      Hi Chuck!

      I recognize you from TTAC, great to hear from you, and great to hear about the ‘do touch’ policy on the ’65 E-type. I loved your review (worth a read to those who haven’t yet done so:, and I can certainly imagine that the smells and senses of the world can’t be kept out when you’re driving convertible Jag. Enjoy driving and sharing your father’s e-type, the world is a better place for it!

    • Madman says:

      This essay is a great tribute and sentiment — the preferred life of an ‘E’ — and Chuck is the best one to comment on appreciating and sharing an E-type, year after year and in all sorts of places. I won’t ever catch up with him but I’m taking the same approach and the public clearly enjoys seeing these beasts in the wild, not hidden away. Big smiles to all who bring the cats out to play, and stop and listen and share stories…

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