‘Most beautiful car ever made’ to star at Cars in the Park

2011-05-10 00:00

THE car described by some as the most beautiful ever built turns 50 this year. The Jaguar E-Type was the first choice for many celebrities in the 60s, driven by the likes of Brigitte Bardot and Steve McQueen. It is still a popular car today and collected by enthusiasts around the world.

Midlands resident Evert van Breemen owns a 1972 model E-Type, one of the only 72 000 made before production stopped in 1974.

Van Breemen’s father owned one, and he longed to own one himself.

“It was always my aspiration to own one,” he said.

He had to work towards his dream car for 25 years, but it was worth the wait. “I’ll never forget that Saturday when I bought my first Jaguar,” he said. After the E-Type was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961, Enzo Ferrari is said to have described it as “the most beautiful car ever built”.

The E-Type is considered to have set new standards in design and is a permanent exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The museum said in one of its catalogues: “If ever a sports car elicited powerful emotions, the sleek Jaguar E-Type [known in the United States as the XK-E] is probably one of the most evocative.”

These beautiful lines also made the E-Type a movie star, with roles in the Austin Powers movies, where it was painted in the colours of the Union Jack, the Italian Job (1969) and Casino Royale (1967).

“They were the first prestigious cars,” said Van Breemen.

He used to own an E-Type roadster which he took on a trip from Johannesburg to the Midlands.

He remembers how, driving back from Hilton, they hit a section of road a herd of cows had just crossed. The Jaguar, originally made to reach speeds over 200km/h, went through the cow pats at some speed, shooting up a wave of dung at the drivers behind him.

“They were trying to wipe this brown stuff off their windscreens and were swearing at us,” he laughs.

The Jaguar E-Type and other vintage vehicles will be on display at the 35th annual Cars in the Park on Sunday. The show will be held at Alexandra Park and gates open at 6.30 am. About 1 000 exhibitors will have displays, and the theme is ‘Restoration – Work in Progress’. Vehicles in various stages of restoration will be on show to highlight what has gone into the many gleaming classics on display.

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