Following a painstaking recent restoration, this is a concours-ready example of perhaps the best-looking Jaguar E-type of all – the Series 1 3.8 Fixed-Head Coupé.
Chassis number 887371 was built on 1 November 1962 and was originally finished in Cream with a Red interior. It was dispatched on 10 November to Jaguar Cars New York, but little is known of its subsequent life in the US. It’s thought to have spent some time in Florida during the 1980s before ending up with a collector on the East Coast who intended to have it restored.
Sadly, he still hadn’t got around to having that work done by the time the E-type was offered for sale in 2019. The car had been painted green at some point but it was still complete and matching-numbers. Having been shipped back across the Atlantic and offered for sale in the UK, it was acquired by a British enthusiast and entrusted to E-type specialist Gibsons Classics in Burton-upon-Trent for a ‘nut and bolt’ rebuild.
After the car had been completely stripped down, it was decided to replace areas such as the floors, front bulkhead, top scuttle panel, inner wheelarches and rear lower quarter panels, with new panels being sourced from Martin Robey.
Once the bodywork had been taken back to bare metal and repaired as necessary, a respray was carried out in Gunmetal Grey by Coventry Automotive Refinishing at a cost of £14,000 – and the bonnet has subsequently been coated with a Paint Protection Film. A long-manifold, big-bore, stainless-steel exhaust system from Classicfabs was fitted – complete with a heat shield for the alternator conversion – and the differential was reconditioned as part of a complete overhaul of the IRS unit.
During the restoration it was decided to fit an alternative period correct 3.8-litre engine-block, which along with the original cylinder head, was prepared by Rob Beere Racing. RBR Sportsman con-rods were fitted, the crankshaft was reground, and a new flywheel was matched to it. The original engine-block (R8575-9) has stayed with the car and is offered as part of the sale, and the E-type retains its original Moss gearbox (EB7723JS).
An upgraded cooling system was specified, complete with Kenlowe fan, the electrics were converted to negative earth, and a modern starter motor and high-pressure fuel pump were added.
Having been converted to right-hand drive – and a smaller wood-rim steering wheel fitted – the Jaguar was retrimmed by AM Automotive Interiors. After the finishing touches had been applied, the car was MoT’d during the summer of 2021 and returned to the road for the first time in more than 30 years, having been given the registration number 301 XVK.
Now being offered for sale at The Classic Motor Hub, this beautifully presented Jaguar Series 1 E-type would be equally at home on the concours field as it would be showing off its immense performance on a cross-country run. The suspension features adjustable dampers and the wheels and tyres have also been upgraded, giving this E-type a much-improved level of ride and handling.
All of the expenditure from its restoration is carefully catalogued in the car’s history file, there is a complete photographic record of the work carried out, and it also comes with a Heritage Certificate.
Still recognised as a landmark model, it’s little wonder that the Jaguar Series 1 E-type is one of the few cars ever to have been displayed in the New York Museum of Modern Art.
It was introduced at the 1961 Geneva Salon, and aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer came up with one of the most beautiful automotive shapes ever created. At a time when 100mph was still a significant figure, the E-type offered 150mph performance from its triple-carburettor, 265bhp, 3.8-litre straight-six engine.
Beneath the skin, it owed much to the Le Mans-winning D-type and shared that car’s basic layout of a monocoque centre section with a subframe carrying the engine and front suspension. At the rear, independent suspension was fitted when many of Jaguar’s rivals still employed a traditional live axle.
With the marque having pioneered the use of disc brakes in the early 1950s, it came as no surprise that the E-type featured them on all four wheels.
Although it was first and foremost a road car, and Jaguar was far too busy meeting demand to get involved with a full competition programme, the E-type proved to be an effective racer. In 1961 it was quick enough to scare anyone in a Ferrari 250 GT SWB, and the following year E-types finished fourth and fifth overall at Le Mans. In 1963, Jaguar produced a short run of 12 Lightweights, which were able to go toe-to-toe with Ferrari’s GTO.
The E-type was offered at a fraction of the cost of its rivals from Ferrari and Aston, and when The Motor road-tested one in 1961 it concluded: ‘The sheer elegance of line which Jaguar seem able to produce by total disregard for fashion trends is allied to a combination of performance, handling and refinement that has never been equalled at the price and, we would think, very seldom surpassed at any price.’
Production was slow to get under way during 1961, but thereafter modifications came thick and fast. A 4.2-litre engine was introduced in 1964, and the heavily revised Series 2 followed in 1968. The V12-engined Series 3 then took the model through to the end of its production run in 1974.