Jaguar E-Type Masthead
Jaguar E-Type Roadster vs. Coupe:
a Designers Perspective

By Steve Sego, WebCars! Art director

Comparing the Jaguar XKE roadster and coupe and looking for design flaws or imperfections is like trying to find fault with Michaelangelo's "David" or the "Pieta" … timeless beauty is just that … timeless. Both cars have stood the test of time and are breathtakingly beautiful 50 years after they were penned.

I've spent hours sitting at different vantage points around an E-coupe, sketching various points and really looking for flaws, miscongruencies, awkwardness or a false line. I've really looked, but found nothing. The car is flawless … its lines just flow, as if sculpted by the wind. It exudes a quiet elegance just sitting still. The magnificent symphony from under the bonnet is another chapter altogether, not to be delved into in this current discussion.

Jaguar E-Type OTS drawing
Design wise - personally - I opt for the Series I 1961 - 67 coupe with covered headlights. The roadster is almost as good! Here I go - tugging on Superman's cape! The projections from the solid form of the basic body are distracting - the windshield sticks up to form a wind buffer disrupting the flow of lines as well as airflow. The top, in the retracted position, sticks up behind the seats to create a visual triangle on a virtually oval shaped car. With the windshield, the top creates hard angles on a soft form sculpture. Most collectors prefer the roadster because of the "wind in your hair" experience, and I can't fault them for that. The roadster's higher price reflect the demand of the public … but we're talking style here.
Jaguar FHC drawing
I'm not alone in my preference for the coupes overall grace. There is only one car that has ever been on permanent display at New York's Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and that is the Jaguar E-Type coupe. The roadster is superb … parked outside the main entrance.

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