They were the epitome of cool and became the sports car of choice for George Best and other Sixties celebrities.
Now Jaguar is going back to its roots by building a limited run of the classic E-type. However, to own one you will need at least a spare million pounds and be able to convince the car company that you will actually risk taking it on the road.
Just six of the lightweight racing versions of the E-type will be built, to the exact specifications of the highly-prized original.
They will finish a production run that mysteriously stopped in 1963 before the intended 18 were completed.
Each are expected to sell for well in excess of pounds 1?million. ''It's not a cheap car to build,'' Tony Schulp, Jaguar's Heritage consultant and the man charged with selling the new models, said.
''Put it this way; there are 11 cars left in the world and if they came up for sale I estimate they wouldn't be selling for less than 3million to 4million pounds each.''
Jaguar has been trading heavily on its heritage for its new models as it races to catch up with the sales and profitability of its stable mate, Land Rover.
The combined company has been highly profitable for its Indian owners Tata since it bought the ailing British firm in 2008 for 1.3billion pounds, but last year Jaguar sales accounted for less than a quarter of the 425,006 total.
The brand has seen a resurgence with sales up 19 per cent in the year to the end of April on strong demand for the new F-type sports car.
The ''new'' E-type cars will be so faithful to the original, right down to the Sixties vehicle identification numbers they were supposed to have, that Jaguar will sell them with the approval of the FIA world racing authority to compete in classic events, despite being new. The project is designed as part of Jaguar's new heritage company, which will offer a top-quality restoration service in the manner of that offered by other premium brands and could include more small-scale reconstructions of classic models. ''The Lightweight E-type will show our expertise at this kind of project,'' Mr Schulp said.
The operation will be based at the Browns Lane site in Coventry, where Jaguar traditionally made cars. In 2005 it moved production to Castle Bromwich, also in the West Midlands, and Halewood on Merseyside, which is now a Land Rover production site.
Browns Lane was sold off and was redeveloped as a housing estate, but Jaguar kept about 17 acres. The area will house the new heritage centre where the E-type will be hand built.
Mr Schulp said the six new cars had not yet been sold and that Jaguar was still ''in discussion'' with customers. However prospective buyers will have to fit certain criteria before the firm will sell them a car.
''We're targeting people who are going to be actively using them,'' Mr Schulp said. ''We don't want them sitting in a museum in the Middle East.''
Owners will be able specify certain details to be incorporated into their car, as long as they are in line with original specifications. ''Of the original 12, none was the same; some had different bonnet locks for example,'' Mr Schulp said.
The cars were originally sold to drivers and teams wanting to take part in events such as the Le Mans 24-hour race and were championed by racing drivers such as Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart.
According to Mr Schulp, no one knows why the original planned run of 18 was not completed.
-The Daily Telegraph