The flagship vehicle of renowned British automotive maker Jaguar, the Jaguar XKE Series 2 is still highly sought after by car enthusiasts ever since it was first unleashed to the world in the late 60s. The Jaguar XKE Series 2 brought many refinements to Jaguar’s original two seat sports car design – its combination of great looks, excellent handling and superb performance easily put it head and shoulders above competing roadsters at the time of the car’s release. Such was the popularity of the Jaguar XKE Series that it enjoyed an unheard of 15 year production run.
Initially released as an upgraded version of Jaguar’s classic two seat roadster, the Jaguar XKE Series 2 was refined several times during its lengthy production run. Early changes included a wrap-around back bumper, larger front indicator lights, repositioned tail lights so they sit below the bumper and a bold new open-headlights design. Later upgrades introduced upgraded brakes, an improved cooling system and a twin electric radiator fan.
While many welcomed these innovations to Jaguar’s venerable XKE line, they were not without their detractors. Some complained that the extra components took the edge off their beloved roadster, making it a slower albeit more refined ride. These complaints did not take into account that auto safety and emissions regulations in the U.S. were changing at the time, and small overseas manufacturers like Jaguar were struggling to update their production lines to keep up.
The Jaguar XKE Series 2 was created as a high performance road-legal vehicle in the tradition of Jaguar’s venerable XK 120 line from the 1940s. The Series 2 was an overnight sensation – the car won rave reviews for its outstanding performance, sleek design and cutting-edge (for its time) technical specifications.
Another driving force behind the Jaguar XKE Series 2′s popularity was the car’s impressive performance in the race track. Even though it was designed as a road legal speedster, the Series 2 surprised everyone by coming first in nearly every race it took part in. This built but the Series 2′s legendary reputation as a highly desirable street legal roadster that could also hold its own on the race track.
The entire XKE line was perhaps Jaguar’s finest example of combining style and performance in a mass-produced supercar. Even though the design was altered many times, the futuristic monocoque body and rounded chassis was retained through all its iterations and is instantly recognizable to this day as the iconic sports-car look for 60s and 70s. The Jaguar XKE Series 2, for the lucky few who could afford to own one, was the ultimate street-legal sports car money could buy. Even common grievances like the cabin being too small or the car having air flow problems were eventually addressed by later models in the XKE line.