SOLD for £41,475
“The most beautiful car ever made”. Enzo Ferrari on the Jaguar E-Type.
A much used quote without a doubt, though it is not recorded whether ‘Il Commendatore’ also admitted it was a third of the price of his own often slower and less powerful products. Their relative price differential sixty years down the road only emphasises what fantastic value these Cats represent over their equine rivals.
For the E-Type, Malcolm Sayer designed (N.B. not ‘styled’ – Sayer did not consider himself ‘a hairdresser’ as he put it) an aircraft influenced shape that was not only aerodynamically efficient but also stunningly beautiful, having a more than a passing resemblance to his pure-bred D-Type racer that dominated Le Mans in the latter half of the 1950s. The influence of the competition-purposed machine was more than just skin deep as, courtesy of William Heynes and his engineering team, the E-Type’s construction shared much with its alphabetical predecessor; a monocoque tub with tubular front sub-frame carrying the seminal straight six XK engine and locating the front suspension can be found in both machines, though the E sported a more sophisticated independent rear axle arrangement. Economies of scale and efficient production techniques enabled Jaguar to offer the E-Type at a smidge over £2,000, a truly remarkable figure for a classically beautiful, well specified, 150 MPH motor car.
Perceived wisdom is that one should go for either the first or last examples of a model run as the early cars are the purest and the later versions the best developed. However, the 1960s were a time of dramatic change in terms of customers’ expectations and tastes; the E-Type reflects this eloquently. The early ‘Series 1’ cars, while undoubtedly delightful in their own right, can prove somewhat challenging to actually use while by the time the Series 3 arrived, the market was demanding a softer, more touring oriented machine and consequently we are going to mark these down for being more of a GT than a Sports car. The sweet spot for many (us included) is the late Series 1 with its torquier and probably more powerful (though the figures published at the time don’t admit as much - it is just possible the early cars and their numbers were slightly ‘massaged’ by Jaguar) 4.2 litre engine mated to an all synchromesh gearbox, improved brakes courtesy of Lockheed and seats suitable for sitting on rather than just admiring. Yes, the unofficially labelled ‘Series 1 ½’ enjoys all these benefits but it is deprived of the stylish aluminium dashboard and delicate toggle switches of the earlier cars. Small wonder then that the Series 1, 4.2, manual, 2 seater coupe is considered by many to be the most desirable of all E-Types, aside from ‘stamp collector’ super-early machines with such features as floors that make sitting in them uncomfortable and bonnet locks that would look more at home on a Triumph Herald.
This particular Series 1 Coupe is notable as being one of the last dozen built before, according to Jaguar Heritage, the Series 1 ½ arrived at Chassis Number 21584. With Jaguar’s program of continual improvement there are detail differences to be found throughout the Series 1 production run but there is a very small ‘sub-sector’ known to aficionados as the ‘Series 1 ¼’ which were largely Series 1 machines but with exposed headlights in the style of the Series 1 ½ machines and it is likely that ‘21572’ is one of these though there is clearly a substantial ‘elephant in the room’ regarding its headlights anyway, more of which later. According to the Jaguar Heritage Production Record Trace Certificate on file, this E-Type Coupe was manufactured on 9th June 1967 and dispatched a month later to Bryson, Jaguar’s agents in Australia. Little is known of the E-Type’s time in Australia but it was lightly modified, very much in a period fashion, during its stay there before its return to the UK in 2015.
Far be it from us to criticise what Enzo praised but if there is one less than perfect aspect to an E-type’s lines (and we appreciate this is akin to suggesting Brad Pitt is not much of a looker) it is that the wheels don’t fully fill the arches. What better way to improve on this than a set of wider wheels, spoked of course, alloy rimmed ideally and if made by Mr Carlo Borrani, so much the better; done, done, done and done. Having utilised these on his own not unsightly 250 GTO and SWB, we feel Enzo would approve. To accommodate these rather lovely items, the bodywork has been treated to some subtle flares, beautifully executed to a very high standard in steel, to the extent that if you didn’t know better, you might think the Jaguar left the factory with these in place, which along with the wheels give it a wonderfully purposeful stance.
Though the details are again undocumented (something a fortunate new owner could fruitfully enjoy delving into), the Jaguar’s engine appears to have been tuned, the most obvious giveaways being the somewhat noticeable trio of twin choke Dellorto carburettors and free flowing air filters (which should at least keep small children and dogs out of the engine) attached to it. Eagle eyed readers will have noted the later ribbed cam covers atop the engine which again suggest that underneath them not all is exactly as it left the factory. Whatever its details might be, the engine seems to be in rude health and once warmed through it has great oil pressure with no untoward noises or exhaust smoke and a superb straight six soundtrack from both the induction side and ‘cherry bomb’ (so 1960s) exhaust boxes.
Having recently had his personal motor engineer give the car a thorough service which included flushing the radiator, a change of oil and filters plus a thorough cleaning of the carburettors, the owner confirms the car is driving very nicely indeed. The brakes are original Dunlop items and these have been rebuilt with new seals, while there is also a new radiator expansion tank. Overall this ‘matching numbers’ - engine, head, body and chassis - E-Type is mechanically in superb condition.
Having spent pretty much the first fifty years of its life in the dry Australian atmosphere, the E-Type was repatriated to the UK in 2015 at which time it was put into dry storage before the owner acquired it early in 2020 and returned it to the road. Having quite possibly never seen rain, aside from the bonnet the bodywork is completely original with no evidence of it ever having had any replacement panels or welding work. Seams and spot welds are crisp and sharp, something very rarely seen on unrestored UK cars and a look at the floor-pans as shown in the photo gallery reinforces the fact that this is a wonderfully solid and rot free example. To get an idea of how E-Types can often end up and just how sound an example this is, please see our previous Lot 86. The only blemishes are a couple of minor bubbles on two wheel arch tops and a few dinks and dents, especially to the front valence. Back to that elephant in the room, clearly the bonnet has been changed for a Series 2 example at some time in the past though a Series 1 version is available by separate negotiation. Generally the body fits together well with decent panel gaps.
While not its original cream shade of paint, signs of which can be seen in the photo gallery, the opalescent blue applied a good while ago is a period colour which suits the Jaguar’s lines admirably. It is in fair condition though there are a few scratches and imperfections but the impression is of an honest, very useable machine; something you would not be reluctant to drive enthusiastically for fear of damaging perfect paintwork.
The nicely understated chrome work on the Jaguar is in average condition; usable, though it would ultimately benefit from being refinished, especially if the decision was taken to repaint the car. The Jaguar badge from the centre of the air intake is missing and a ‘vinyl’ front number plate would be more ‘factory’ but these nit-picks are outweighed by the super-cool roof mounted aerial.
What appears to be the E-Type’s original dark blue leather interior is in pretty good shape with just some wear to the driver’s seat back caused by entry and egress. There are a few ‘pimple’ type blemishes in some areas but generally speaking it is more than presentable. The matching carpets are not in great condition with some wear to the sill coverings and missing foot-well sections, though we know we would rather be contemplating a new set of carpets than seat covers. The switchgear and gauges all work apart from the speedometer which is stuck at an appropriate 100 mph with 88,000 miles showing on the odometer. Scoring well for originality, this is epitomised by the presence on the speedometer glass of the Factory applied sticker giving instructions for resetting the trip-meter; amazing that no one has peeled that off in the last fifty-four years. The wood rimmed steering wheel with its ‘correct for Series 1’ polished rather than brushed spokes and silver edged ‘E-Type’ badge shows a minimal amount of cracking. The wonderful period Radiomobile 8-track (yes, 8-track!) radio and cartridge player is in perfect working condition having just been serviced though the owner tells us this works best tuned to the Light Programme; there is however Bluetooth connectivity for the very latest sounds from the hit parade. The aroma inside the Jaguar is pure 1960’s; bottle it and Christmas gifts are sorted.
Under the bonnet originality is again the watchword. The single radiator fan of a Series 1 E-Type is still present along with various containers for the likes of brake and washer fluids. More suitable for driving than concours competitions (thank goodness) we are talking lived in but honest. It is hugely encouraging to see that where the paint has recently flaked off the sub-frame, the exposed metal is still bright and un-corroded. The Jaguar is a genuinely dry climate car and though this has not been as kind to its rubber components as it has to its metalwork, we would certainly prefer a few hours of DIY replacement of door seals, grommets and suchlike as opposed to potentially many months with a welder, possibly simultaneously incurring substantial skilled labour costs.
On the subject of rubber, those fabulous Borranis are wrapped in premium Michelin Energy MX2 tyres which have plenty of tread remaining.
The history file that accompanies the Jaguar contains documentation dating right back to 1967. The aforementioned Jaguar Heritage Production Record Trace Certificate is accompanied by the current UK V5C registration document plus a quantity of receipts and bills relating to both its life on the other side of the world and more recently back in the UK.
With a Series 2 E-Type under restoration and a number of other classics in his stable, YHR 744E’s owner simply does not have the time to look after and enjoy her fully. He has hence entrusted her sale to Berlinetta with what we can only describe as a super-realistic reserve. Never restored and quite likely repainted just once back in the 1970s, for us the E-Type simply needs using. Though the purists might disagree (they’d be wrong by the way), we feel the period modifications add significantly to the Jaguar’s appeal and it could be enjoyed just as it is or cosmetically improved for very little outlay.
In the sort of usable condition sports cars were back in the 1970s and 80s, before increased values made restoring them financially viable but driving them perhaps less enjoyable, this E-Type is a rare find. Use it as it is or as a superbly solid base for the restoration of a very desirable model? We’d rather the former though it isn’t our call – yet! Christmas is coming after all…