Early Model Jaguar E-Type Coupe Project Must Be Saved!
From Piccadilly to parts car, this E-Type coupe deserves to live a life anew.
The word “iconic” gets thrown around all too often when we talk about sports cars. In fact, here at the JaguarForums office, we have a jar full of coins labeled the “Iconic Jar.” Yes, really. I’m sure you can guess its use, too. Much like bacon, zombies, and the word “epic,” excessive use and hype have whittled away the meaning of the word almost into nothingness.
The Jaguar E-Type, however — or XKE, to us Americans — is iconic in the truest sense. While it’s true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it’s safe to say that calling the E-Type beautiful is objective fact. You’d be in good company to agree — New York’s Museum of Modern Art has one in their collection, alongside works by Matisse, Van Gogh, Cézanne, and Gauguin. Even the notoriously prideful Enzo Ferrari called it one of the most beautiful cars ever made.
In the case of this example, that beauty may be hard to see. Worn down, weathered, and missing that beautiful, curvaceous bonnet, this well-loved E-Type coupe was offered by H&H at their The Imperial War Museum Duxford Motor Car Auction. It traded hands for £41,625, or about $60,000 USD.
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While every E-Type is worth saving, this model is especially significant. Less than 2,000 E-Type coupes were made in a right-hand drive configuration, as most were produced in left-hand drive for the export market. That might come as a surprise, given the E-type’s status as a British motoring icon (there’s that word again).
Of additional interest is its place in the timeline E-Type production. Most would argue that the early Series 1 cars exhibit a purity of form unmatched by the later cars, as the shape was gradually compromised by forces both inside and outside Jaguar’s works in Coventry. While the earliest cars were built with a 3.8-liter inline-six, it was soon updated to a 4.2-liter six. This upgrade upped the torque by roughly 10% and improved throttle response.
Furthermore, the gearbox was updated to a smoother close-ratio synchromesh unit. Coupled with the more aerodynamic shape of the coupe, the end result was the fastest production car in the world. 0-60 happened in around 7 seconds, the quarter-mile time of just a hair over 15 seconds, and the top speed was over 150 miles per hour. Perhaps for the last time in history, the most beautiful car in the world was also the fastest.
This car, originally finished in that most…iconic…shade of British Racing Green, sat in the showroom window of a Jaguar dealer in Piccadilly when new. Sometime between then and being stuffed in a garage and forgotten, it covered around 60,000 miles traversing the English countryside and making statements in London city traffic.
With any luck, the next owner who bought it will restore it to its former glory and that cacophonous inline six will once again echo through the concrete canyons of Piccadilly and the rolling hills of Nottinghamshire. Rule Britannia.