• Ownership history dating back to 1983
• MoTs back to 1979
• Finished in its original colour scheme of White with Black upholstery
• Mechanically and cosmetically renovated by a Rolls-Royce specialist in 2020
There isn’t much we can say about the Jaguar E-type which isn’t already firmly entrenched in motoring lore, but as this is its 60th-anniversary year, you’ll indulge us if we wax lyrical for a bit about what Enzo Ferrari famously declared ‘the most beautiful car ever made’.
Launched on 15th March, 1961, the E-type was the replacement for Jaguar’s aging XK platform and it went quite above and beyond what anyone expected. When seen for the first time by press and public at the Geneva Motor Show, necks swivelled, jaws dropped and a few eyeballs popped out of their sockets. Jaguar historian Philip Porter wrote of the moment, ‘The press who ringed the car were awestruck. They had never seen a production car quite like this. The styling was no copy of the trend-setting Italians; it was not even essentially British – it was Jaguar’s own unique style. Add the promised performance and this was a truly stunning concept.’
What of that promised performance? After vigorous road-testing by The Autocar and The Motor, Jaguar was able to support its claim that the E-type would hit 150mph. Admittedly, it couldn’t be driven at 150mph for any meaningful length of time, but that was still an astonishing claim for a production car in 1961.
After Geneva, the press had a field day. The Autocar, The Motor, Autosport, Motor Racing, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, the Daily Express, the Daily Mirror and many other journals fell over themselves to give the E-type the highest possible praise. John Langley of The Daily Telegraph said ‘Driving the car is more like flying than motoring. On the M1 I found the car would cruise smoothly and quietly at 110-120mph. Bursts of acceleration rushed it to just over 140mph on two occasions.’ Other reviewers all took a similar tone.
Perhaps the two greatest contributing factors towards this outstanding achievement were the 3.8-litre dohc straight-six XK engine, carried over from the XK150S, with its three SU HD8 carburettors and the gorgeous streamlined bullet profile, the work of Malcolm Sayer, one of the most celebrated designers of all time. It also boasted a radical method of construction, with the engine and suspension supported by a front subframe which effectively made the car chassisless, and provided the perfect combination of lightness and rigidity.
Needless to say, the E-type was destined to go onto greatness in competition but, for many, people, it is better remembered as a cultural icon of the Swinging Sixties. Anyone who was anyone in celebrity culture bought an E-type. George Harrison and George Best both posed with their own 2+2s. A white roadster had a starring rôle in the 1965 Dave Clark Five film Catch Us If You Can, and another two had major supporting rôles alongside Michael Caine in The Italian Job.
The Series III was the ultimate incarnation of the E-type. Built from 1971 to 1974, it benefitted from Jaguar’s powerful new 5.3-litre V12. It also featured upgraded brakes and power steering as standard, while an automatic gearbox, wire wheels and air-conditioning were all options. The V12 sported four sizeable Zenith carburettors, and was easily identified externally by its vertical grille bars, flared arches, wider tyres, four exhaust tips and V12 boot badge. A total of 15,290 Series IIIs were built, of which 7990 were roadsters.
This Jaguar’s history extends quite a way back, with a record of MoTs and annual mileage dating back to 1979, and known ownership history from 1983. The earliest known owner was a Mr. Andrew Wicks of High Wycombe, who kept it until 1989.
A certificate issued in 1991 by Jaguar confirms that it left the factory in White with Black upholstery, was first registered on 13th September, 1972, and was sold new through Henlys London, the well-known and prolific motor dealer which began in 1917 and gave its name to Henlys Corner on the North Circular and Henlys Roundabout at the beginning of the A30 in Hounslow.
The most recent owner kept the Jaguar since 2001, when he purchased it from classic-car dealer Peter Jarvis in Swanley, Kent. It has recently been in the care of Rolls-Royce specialist Hanwells of London, which has treated it to some extensive renovation including a full repaint in Old English White and rust-proofing treatment and various mechanical jobs, which have been photographically documented.
Due to health problems, the past owner was not able to drive the car in recent years, hence it has not been taxed or MoTed since 2019.
Apart from the V5, perhaps the most important element of this Jaguar’s history file is its thorough record of MoTs from 1979 to 2019.
There are also various invoices in its thick history file, including one showing work recently completed by Hanwells of London, and others for parts from the Jag Shop and S. N. G. Barratt. There is a certificate of authenticity issued by Jaguar and the present owner has gone to the trouble of summarising the car’s past ownership and MoT history in one sheet.
In the way of factory material, the Jaguar is complete with the Operating, Maintenance and Service Handbook, a maintenance chart and wiring diagram.
While we don’t know for certain if any restoration work has been completed on the interior, Peter Jarvis described the car in 2001 as ‘totally original’. All we can say is that if the interior is totally original, it is absolutely stunning.
The seats, dash, carpet and door trim are all virtually free from blemishes, and there is just some very light wear visible on the Jaguar cap at the centre of the steering wheel but you’d have to look extremely close to see it.
The radio cassette player is a more modern item. We do know that the interior was originally black, and it appears unchanged from when it was owned by Peter Jarvis, so it is entirely conceivable that the interior is unrestored, in which case it would be one of the very best such examples.
After repainting and rustproofing by Hanwells of London, this Jaguar can realistically be described as being in showroom condition. The new coat of Old English White is immaculate, and the black hood also looks like a relatively new item.
While we cannot quite go so far as to say that all the chrome is perfectly flawless, it does come very close and shines as brightly as heavenly Polaris, if you will pardon our poetry. The chrome wire wheels are especially dazzling, and even the super-clean tyres have a slight glossy sheen.
The exterior glass is in excellent condition all-round.
The E-type’s puissant V12 fires up straight away and rumbles along very happily. With its automatic gearbox, this E-type is perhaps more in the mould of the grand-tourer than the sports-car. With power steering as well, it should be a very easy car to drive by E-type standards (they are not renowned for manoeuvrability) and it seems to be positively begging to be let loose on some fast country roads, sweeping its way through spectacular scenery.
When the E-type was last MoTed in 2019, it passed with the advisory points that the front brakes pads were wearing thin and there was a slight oil leak, but the brake problem was rectified when Hanwells overhauled the car in 2020. The full list of work completed by Hanwells is as follows:
- replaced all four rear shocks
- replaced both rear subframe arms
- replaced four subframe mounts
- adjusted handbrake
- replaced all coolant hoses and clips
- fitted reconditioned radiator
- overhauled rear axle
- flushed cooling system
- overhauled front calipers
- replaced top and bottom ball joints and lower arm bushes
- replaced gearbox mount
- replaced inlet and exhaust manifold gaskets.
To most people, the appeal of an E-type is self-evident, so the question really is why one should choose this E-type over another. Simply put, it’s one of the very best there is.
Fresh from a cosmetic and mechanical overhaul, it looks nigh-on perfect and should be in fine fettle for many miles of happy motoring, and we’re struggling to find an appropriate superlative for the believed-original interior. With the 5.3-litre V12, it represents the most powerful member of the E-type family, and with chrome wire wheels and an automatic gearbox, it is also one of the best specified.
As much as everyone likes an early E-type, they are known for being a bit of a handful, but the automatic gearbox and power steering make this a more obliging machine, and it’s probably the perfect E-type for one who has to do a lot of town driving.
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