From development prototype to Geneva Motor Show star and 150mph road-test car, 9600 HP played a key role in the launch of the sensational Jaguar E-type. The latest book from Porter Press International tells the story of this unique car’s life, its intricate restoration, and the unsung hero behind its creation – Malcolm Sayer.
Built as ‘prototype number 7’, the car that would become known by its registration number of 9600 HP was driven extensively by legendary Jaguar test engineer Norman Dewis in late 1960 and early 1961. Dewis gave author Philip Porter complete access to his notes and records in order to accurately piece together this period in the car’s life.
It then assumed the role of ‘press car’ and was lent to – among others – Autocar magazine, with which it achieved the magical top speed of 150mph during performance testing. When Autocar later reached the milestone of 5000 road-tests, it selected that of 9600 HP as its most memorable.
First published in 2000 and extensively expanded and updated for this new edition, 9600 HP – The Story of the World’s Oldest E-type includes interviews conducted by Philip Porter over the past 35 years with many of the characters who were central to the car’s adventures. Bob Berry recalls how he drove 9600 HP flat-out across France in order to be in Geneva in time for the E-type’s official launch, while Maurice Smith, Peter Riviere and Elizabeth Hussey talk about that landmark Autocar road-test.
Molly Carstairs looks back on life with director, writer and artist John Paddy Carstairs, who owned 9600 HP when its time with Jaguar came to an end, and racing driver Jack Fairman remembers his ownership of the car in the late 1960s.
After being acquired by Philip Porter in 1977, 9600 HP was stored in a barn until 1999, when a deal was done that would lead to its emotional return to the road. The story of its painstaking restoration is told in detail, as is its busy life in the 20 years since then.
Malcolm Sayer – the aerodynamicist who was behind Jaguar’s C-type, D-type and E-type – is celebrated with a hugely expanded section on his life and career. Former Jaguar designers Ian Callum and Keith Helfet explain how his legacy remains part of the marque to this day, and the Sayer family have generously opened their fascinating archive to showcase never previously published drawings, sketches and photographs, giving a rare insight into this unsung genius.
Sixty years since the Jaguar E-type was launched, it remains a benchmark in design and engineering – a potent symbol of the Swinging Sixties and one of the most famous cars in the world. 9600 HP is the only remaining prototype and the oldest surviving E-type, and this new book tells the full story of its many lives.
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