Headlamp of Jaguar XKE
WINK WINK The glass-shrouded headlamp of the Jaguar XKE, often said to be the most beautiful car in the world

Can you guess the make and year of this car? It’s been referred to as the most beautifully designed car in the world. It first appeared in 1961. The front headlight cover gives away its pre-1968 build.

Designed by Malcolm Sayer, this automobile is occasionally described as a “mid-engine.” It was the fastest production car of its time. Its top speed was 150 mph. With independent front and rear suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes and an innovative chassis, this sports car showcased advanced technology and styling. 

What a beauty! This car is a 1966 Jaguar XKE. 

 “XK” refers to the engine; “E” refers to the body type and is not to be confused with a Jaguar E-type modified to meet 1968 U.S. regulations with higher bumpers, larger tail lights, emission reduction and no glass headlamp covers.

Fun facts: The XK is an inline, 6-cylinder, dual overhead camshaft, naturally aspirated engine with 3 SU carburetors and later 2 Strombergs, for emission control. It put out 265 bhp: Brake horsepower equals power to the wheels after drivetrain losses; hp is raw engine output.

The XKE had an independent front tubular suspension and monocoque center. As compared to a standard ladder chassis, now only used off-road and in heavy trucks, this technologically advanced body type shed 400 pounds, allowing a top speed of 150 mph. The car weighed 2,900 pounds.

The XKE’s technological advancements were notable. Porsche and Mercedes used drum brakes. Mustangs did not receive independent rear suspensions until 2014. Solid axles were standard in American cars, as Ms. Vito famously broke it down for judge and jury in My Cousin Vinny.

 “Now Ms. Vito, is that it?”

“No, there’s more! In the 1960s there were only two other cars made in America that had positraction and independent rear suspension and enough power to make these marks. One was the Corvette, which could never be confused with the Buick Skylark. The other had the same body length, height, width, weight, wheelbase and wheel tract as the ’64 Skylark, and that was the 1963 Pontiac Tempest.”

“Thank you, Ms. Vito.”

And thank you to the kind gentleman from Healdsburg who introduced me to this lovely car. His “other ride” is a John Deere.

My Cousin Vinny, 1992, $64 million box office, with Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei and Fred Gwynne.

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