Jaguar E-Type Celebrates It’s 50th at Hilton Head Concours
Story and Photos by Harvey Ferris (Carolina Jaguar Club) and David Kirkman (North Georgia Jaguar Club)
A trip to the Hilton Head Island Concours D’ Elegance had been on my calendar ever since I learned that a special class for E-Type Jaguars would be featured at the show. The HHI Concours D’Elegance, now in its ninth year, is a relatively new concours but it has quickly gained an outstanding reputation as the premiere fall concours in America. The concours features over 150 entrants with classes ranging from the brass era to the 60’s muscle cars. It attracts entrants shown at other big shows such as Amelia Island and Pebble beach. The Concours is the highlight of the three day HHI Motoring Festival and draws over 12,000 spectators. I was not disappointed!
At the suggestion of David Kirkman, of the Georgia Jaguar Club and a HHI Concours Judge and frequent exhibitor, the organizers of the Hilton Head Concours had agreed to present a separate class for these very special cars in recognition of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the E-Type’s debut in 1961. All cars exhibited at the Sunday concours are by invitation only and selected by the HHI Concours to participate. All of the E-Types in the class had JCNA connections and extensive successful JCNA Class C and D concours records.
The E-Type was produced from 1961 to 1975 in what has come to be known as Series I, II, and III. At Dave’s suggestion the focus of the class would be on the Series I cars. The HHI Concours committee selected eight Series I cars, ranging from three early 1961 “Flat Floor” cars to the last of the Series I cars as produced in 1967.
I arrived early, in time to watch a parade of beautiful concours cars as they drove to their assigned positions on the show field. I found the Jaguar E-Type class, officially “Class 08B – Jaguar E-Type (XKE)”. The location assigned for the Jaguars was one of the most desirable spots on the concours field, which ensured a steady flow of interested and appreciative spectators all day long. I spent time with each of the owners as they prepared their cars for the judge’s inspection that would start at 9 am.
Wayne and Linda Phears brought their 1961 Opalescent Grey OTS. Eddie and Sally Cole brought their 1961 Old English White OTS. David and Pam Littlefield brought their 1961 black OTS. All three are early “flat floor” cars. Wayne and Eddie’s cars are very early “outside bonnet lock cars” which had been previously shown at the Amelia Island Concours.
Next in the history lesson was the red 1963 OTS brought by Joseph and Catherine Johnston and also a red 1963 OTS brought
by JCNA president Dick Maury. Joe’s E-Type was fresh from a complete restoration. Dick’s car, which he restored to impeccable condition himself, is a national JCNA Division C5 winner.
Greg Gaylard presented his white 1964 OTS and Avery Wise his black 1964 FHC, one of the two coupes to be part of the show. Avery’s E-Type placed first in D2 at this year’s North Georgia Jag Club Concours, where it was also voted People’s Choice. 1964 was the last year for the 3.8 litre engine! In 1965,
the 4.2 litre engine was introduced. Finally, for the Series I cars, Craig Guston presented his red 1967 Series I OTS.
1967 was the last year of the ”pure” Series I cars. Jaguar gradually introduced changes dictated by the increasingly rigorous rules of the US DOT in the important US market. These cars came to be known as “Series II” cars. David and Beverly Kirkman’s 1969 Series II OTS shows all the changes inherent to a Series II car. These changes include open
headlights, rocker type dash switches, larger outside light fixtures, 2 Stromberg carburetors, and no more winged knock off hubs. Dave’s car was the 2010 Southeast JCNA Division D3 champion. Also featured were John and Debbie Wagner’s red 1969 2+2 coupe. The 2+2 was promoted as a “family” car, as it had small rear seats suitable mainly for children. John is a JCNA and AACA member, where his car was recognized as an AACA Senior Champion this year.
Most of the Series III E-Types fell outside of the production year guidelines for HHI but the Committee wanted at least one V12 in order to demonstrate the evolution of the car. Bob Wheeler brought his 1974 Series III V12 for Display, complete with its removable hardtop.
Skip Smith, from the North Georgia Jaguar Club, was selected by the HHI Concours Judges Committee to participate as one half of the very knowledgeable two man judging team assigned to the class. The judges
were responsible for assessing the concours correctness of each car and awarding class ribbons.
The judging team ultimately awarded the blue ribbon to the historically significant 1961 E-Type belonging to Wayne and Linda Phears. This car was the 10th LHD car manufactured and was part of the initial shipment of E-Types to the US. Wayne and Linda’s car also received the HHI Concours “Automotive Design Excellence Award”. Dick Maury and Gregg Gaylard were presented with “Palmetto Awards” in recognition of their exceptional cars.
All in all the HHI Concours was very interesting. I was pleased to see our JCNA Jaguars play such an important role in the show. That and knowing what a wonderful vacation destination Hilton Head Island is leads me to highly recommend your attendance at the HHI Concours the first weekend in November next year.