Tall drivers can comfortably drive a Series 1 E-Type

Pretty much all the buyers guides I read when researching E-Types say that drivers over 6 feet tall should avoid SWB E-Types.   This means they are allegedly restricted to the S1 2+2, S2 2+2 and all Series 3 models.    I was never a fan of the styling updates to the E-Type as it aged, so was keen on an early car.   I also didn’t want an automatic so that left the S1 2+2 manual as my primary choice.

There were a few problems with that approach.   Firstly, at the time I was buying my car (in the United States), 2+2’s were not particularly valued by the market, so most of them were in pretty rough shape.   Given it costs the same to do up a rough FHC as a 2+2 and the FHC is worth double it was easy to see why.    I also would have been spending 20% of the purchase price on shipping back to Australia when I returned, and while I find the S1 2+2 and attractive machine, it just wasn’t the same as the OTS or FHC.

Reading the definitive guide to the E-Type I also noticed that Lofty England ran an OTS and didn’t seem to have too many problems.   He was 2cm taller than I am (196cms – 6’5″) so I tried a couple of FHC and OTS models.    I tried the 4.2 liter models for a few reasons; The seats were described as much better for tall drivers, they have much better brakes and a much better gearbox.   Surprisingly, even though its a little tight getting in and out of the car, it was quite comfortable.   The seats are quite comfortable, and there is plenty of legroom with the seat pushed as far back as it goes.

On the downside, your head is pretty much touching the ceiling in the FHC, and does touch it in the OTS with the roof closed.   To operate the pedals correctly I wear special narrow shoes or drive barefoot.     While it is not required, I also have a 1″ smaller steering wheel which is more comfortable.    In addition, when changing gears your knee hits the indicator stalk, so I have bent this back a little.   Still not quite enough, so will do more.

In summary, while the car is obviously designed around a smaller driver, a Jaguar E-Type can be driven by a tall driver.   And quite comfortably.    I’ve had my car since 2010 and still enjoy driving it.  Since I almost never drive the car with the roof closed, the lack of headroom is not a problem either.

The first photo shows my car with the smaller wheel and the second photo shows the stock wheel.

S1 OTS with small wheel

Stock wheel

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