We are spending a few days here in NYC for the NYIAS. If you are interested in the basic coverage, there are dozens of major networks, mainstream press, and folks from the usual car-focused publications to tell you all about it. Our plan at the 2011 NYIAS was to find the unusual or extraordinary.
Of course, like most plans, it went out the window once put into action. When we arrived at the show, we saw a long row of Jaguars parked out front. We soon discovered that fifty years ago, the New York Auto Show played host to the launch of an automotive classic: the Jaguar E-Type – or XKE as it was known in America. If any country took the E-Type to its heart, it was the United States. More than two-thirds of all models built were sent across the Atlantic, establishing a special relationship that persists to this day.
On first sight of the E-Type at its launch, Frank Sinatra is reputed to have said: “I want that car and I want it now”, and old Blue Eyes was just one in a long list of Hollywood greats to covet the two-seater sports car. Steve McQueen, Tony Curtis, Britt Ekland and Brigitte Bardot were all celebrity owners. The beauty, performance and passion that all Jaguars embody still resonates strongly in America to this day. The 21st century XJ limousine turns as many heads in New York with its lithe, powerful and captivating presence as the E-Type did when Sinatra first saw it 50 years ago.
Few companies are fortunate enough to have the design heritage enjoyed by Jaguar; one that stretches back half a century and more. It’s this visual integrity that allows comparisons to be drawn between the groundbreaking new XJ luxury saloon and the legendary E-Type sports car, a machine so beautiful that it holds a permanent place in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. These two cars may be separated by a gulf of 50 years, during which time the global automotive industry has changed beyond all recognition, but both are unmistakeably Jaguars. We will have more from the NYIAS in upcoming reports. For now, just enjoy the car porn from Jaguar’s press kit 🙂