One of the greatest sports cars of all time, the Jaguar E-Type is a true icon. Technically innovative, visually stunning, and among the highest performing street cars then available, the E-Type caused a sensation when it was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 1961. The car showcased lessons Jaguar had learned in motorsports, winning Le Mans five times between 1951 and 1957. It employed semi monocoque construction, independent suspension all round, and disc brakes all round. It was powered by a triple carbureted variant of Jaguar’s legendary twin cam XK inline-6. At its introduction in 1961, no other sports car was as technically sophisticated: not the 300SL, nothing from Ferrari or Maserati, and nothing from Aston Martin. That the E-Type cost less than half of most of these cars was all the more remarkable and ensured it would be a sales success. Its styling was equally well-received, being described as the most beautiful car ever made by Enzo Ferrari, and becoming the first car every displayed in the Museum of Modern Art.
The E-Type was continuously developed during its life, with the first major change arriving for the 1965 model year. A new fully-synchronized gearbox was added, and the engine expanded to 4.2 liters from 3.8. The brakes were also improved. These cars retained all of the beauty of the earliest E-Types, which was lost as the car was updated subsequently, making these 4.2 liter Series I cars the pick of the bunch.
This particular car is a three-owner example which the current owner purchased in 2014 at Gooding’s Amelia Island auction. It has since been comprehensively restored and runs and drives superbly. Finished in its original color combination of carmen red with black interior, the car retains its matching-numbers block, along with an unstamped replacement cylinder head, all of which is confirmed by the included Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate. Also present with the car are the original jack and tool roll, reproduction owner’s manual and service poster, service records dating back to 2002, and extensive invoices from the recently completed restoration.
The car presents beautifully overall, thanks to its recent mechanical and cosmetic restoration. The paint was done to high end driver standards, and was applied to a straight and solid body. The doors sit a bit proud at their trailing edges and the hood fit at its trailing edge on the right side is slightly recessed, but otherwise . The rear hatch fits properly and operates well, as does the front clip. The chrome is excellent throughout, as are the lights and glass. The wheels and spinners are in as-new condition and wear Coker redline tires.
The interior is freshly restored to high standards, with excellent leather upholstery and carpets, restored gauges and steering wheel, and rechromed trim and accents. The car has a smaller steering wheel to provide more clearance for taller drivers, as well as aluminum trim on the dashboard and center console in the style of the early 3.8 liter cars. The wool broadcloth headliner was redone to excellent standards and the luggage compartment thoroughly restored as well. The engine compartment is highly detailed and very clean, with polished valve covers and dashpot housings and comprehensively restored ancillaries, front subframe, and suspension components. A thermostatically controlled electric pusher fan is installed ahead of the radiator. The entire undercarriage of the car has been thoroughly restored and is very clean and detailed.
The car runs and drives very well. The electric choke mechanism works properly and the car starts instantly cold or hot. The engine displays good oil pressure and is responsive and tractable, with nice even carburetion once warm. The clutch is progressive and easy to modulate and the gearbox has good synchromesh and well defined gates. The car is fitted with upgraded Wilwood brake calipers and the car stops capably with a high, even pedal. The chassis behaves as it should, with an excellent blend of compliance and control that feels surprisingly modern today, and must have felt downright transcendent in 1961.
The car comes with extensive restoration documentation as well as service records back to 2002, tool roll, jack, knock-off hammer, grease gun, reprint owner’s manual and maintenance poster, and JDHT Certificate.