As with the introduction of any new flagship for an auto manufacturer, the Jaguar E-Type had some interesting attributes early on that would be phased out to produce a more refined vehicle over the years. Two of the most iconic features of these early cars which Jaguar quickly replaced were the outside bonnet latches and the flat floors of the cabin. The unique bonnet design of the XKE meant that a particular latching mechanism was needed. Jaguar decided to borrow a similar t-handle locking mechanism to the one that could be found on the MK V sedans as well as other British postwar sporting cars. While interesting and elegant, this design proved slightly problematic and by the time the 500th car rolled off the line they had figured out a more practical design for the latches and they switched over to the mechanism located in the door jam that would be present on the rest of E-type production through the end of 1974. The flat floors of the early cars contributed nicely to the overall shape of the vehicle but would prove to be a bit cramped for the occupants of the cabin. As a result, in 1962, Jaguar decided to switch to a design that included more pronounced and deeper footwells. While these two features are some of the most commonly recognized, early E-Types have a plethora of nuances that would set them apart from later production vehicles such as hood louvers that were a single piece which was then welded onto the bonnet. These were replaced in 1962 by stamping the louvers into the hood, which proved an easier and more cost effective way of producing the bonnets. The E-type would undergo countless more design changes throughout its 15-year production run, some small and some much more pronounced, most of which took the car further away from its sports car heritage, turning it into a more refined GT car. Early E-type’s provide a unique look at the original intent and creation of the Jaguar designers, that while still present in later cars gets a little lost behind the addition of creature comforts and grand touring elements.
The example on offer here, chassis number 875195, fitted with engine number R1322-9, is a very early 1961 Jaguar E-type OTS. It features many interesting and highly desirable traits that were only present on early cars such as the outside bonnet latches, flat floors, welded hood louvers, body color headlight buckets, and the Pumpkin Orange finish on the head. It was completed at the factory on July 10th, 1961 and dispatched July 23, 1961, to Jaguar Cars of New York. Its first owner, R.F. Thompson of Dallas, Texas took delivery of the car on August 28, 1961. According to the included Heritage Certificate, the car was originally finished in a Bronze exterior with Biscuit colored interior and Black top. As the car sits today it is finished in a stunning Opalescent Blue with a Red interior and Blue top, the same color combination of the 1961 Geneva Show-stand car and intentionally restored to match. The current owner purchased the car in 1977 in a slightly scruffy and rough state. Over the next 35 years, the car sat while the owner hunted down and purchased any and all missing correct and date coded components for the car. During this time immense amounts of research were completed, studying the interesting and obscure attributes that set the very early cars apart from other E-types in order to make sure that the restoration of 875195 car was done to exacting standards. In 2012 the restoration was started, the owner undertaking most of the work, including initial disassembly and all mechanical/engine work. All paint and bodywork was done by marque specialist Lindley Motors of Sanatoga, Pennsylvania. Once the paint and bodywork was done, the owner completed reassembly of the vehicle in order to make sure it was done to the absolute highest standards. The restoration of the car was finished in 2015 at which time it was shown and judged at a national JCNA event scoring an outstanding 99.970. If the judging scores were not enough to prove the quality of the restoration, merely looking over the car leaves the viewer in awe of the quality and time spent making sure everything was absolutely correct and finished to the highest level possible. Since its painstaking restoration, this E-type has only seen 400 extremely carefully driven miles and it shows in the way the car still presents in a top-notch manner 3 years later. The attention to detail on this car provides a very unique opportunity to acquire a rare piece of Jaguar history that gives an outstanding look into the early production of the now iconic Jaguar E-type.
Included with the sale of this vehicle are JDHT Certificate, JCNA judging sheets, original numbers matching transmission, bell housing, and radiator, Tools (in a spare mounted box as well as a tool roll), and spare tire wearing the correct whitewall tire.
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Body And Paint
Although the car was originally delivered in a Bronze exterior color, it now wears a stunning Opalescent Blue that compliments the elegant lines of the E-type beautifully. All paint and bodywork was done to the highest standard by marque specialist, Lindley Motors of Saratoga, PA. The attention to detail and level of craftsmanship that went into the paint and bodywork still shines through 3 years later as the finish to the paint is still top notch with fantastic color and immaculate consistency from front to back. The body is extremely straight with excellent gaps and fitment to all the panels and body pieces. Although it is said fairly often, this car is a shining example of “better than when it left the factory” condition.
Glass And Trim
Both the driver's side and passenger windows contain their proper “Triplex Toughened” stampings, leading us to believe its the original and correct glass. There is some slight very light scratching present on the pains from normal up and down usage but nothing that takes away from the overall presentation of the vehicle. The windshield is in fantastic shape and contains a “Shat-R-Proof” stamping in the lower corner of the passenger side. The headlights are in excellent shape, tucked behind the clean and chip-free headlight covers. There is a small bit of dust and dirt inside the headlight buckets but this is an easy fix as long as you have a steady hand with a screwdriver to remove the correct Philips head screws holding in place the fantastic chrome headlight bucket trim rings. Marker and tail lights are all in fantastic condition with no scratching or cracking to speak of and clean and tidy mounting hardware. Rubber trim throughout the vehicle looks brand new, with an excellent dark color to the rubber and nice supple shape. The chrome trim throughout the car is absolutely outstanding condition with immaculate and clear shine and no signs of scuffing or wear of any kind. The plastic window located on the back of the dark blue top is crystal clear and appears to have always been folded correctly or located in an up position as there are really no crease marks to speak of.
The chrome spoked wheels are in outstanding condition. The chrome shines very brightly and they are immaculately clean with beautifully finished knock-off center caps.
This car was finished with immense attention to detail and has been maintained and stored with the highest level of care since then. Because of this, the car remains in immaculate condition with the only small areas to note being the slight scratching and scuffing to the side roll down windows and the small bit of dust which has found its way into the headlight buckets. Although cleaning the dust out is an easy fix, we felt that both the chrome trim rings and the correct Philips headed mounting screw were too perfect to warrant risking the damage in order to open them up.
Seats And Surfaces
The interior of the car received the same attention to detail and correctness that the exterior of the car was treated too. It remains in absolutely outstanding condition. Although originally finished in a biscuit color, it currently wears a bright red that compliments the Opalescent Blue exterior fantastically. The seats themselves are in excellent condition and look and feel very proper with correct levels of padding and the proper stitching and pleating. There is some very minor creasing forming around the edges, just part of the natural wear-in process of the leather. The red carpets have excellent color and weave to them, consistent in nature all around the interior. They show no wear and appear to have been both installed and maintained with the utmost of care, with no bunching or poor fitting edges to be found. The door cards fit very nicely and show no wear, same with the sills and their protective coverings. The door jams are clean and tidy with an excellent and consistent finish. The steering wheel appears to be an original unit and as such shows beautiful patina and worn in nature to the wood as well as the holed spokes. The centrally mounted horn button has nice plastic and clean and colorful emblem with no cracking or discoloration. The dash top is clean and tidy, with excellent fitment. Both the dash face and center console area are covered in the proper circular patterned aluminum trim which is in fantastic condition. Later cars would see a change in this pattern and it stands a testament to the overall correctness that the proper patterned aluminum trim is in place.
Functionality And Accessories
Every last switch, knob, pull, etc. in the interior is in excellent cosmetic shape and they all appear to perform their required function as they should. All the window winders and door handles are bright and clean and function with ease. The car contains the proper Blaupunkt radio which sits below the correct oblong ashtray, a feature that would see changes in later cars as well. The gauges are all the correct type and appear in fantastic condition, both cosmetically and functionally. The shifter moves easily through its range of motion and contains a clean and tidy shift boot and chrome trim piece at the base.
The interior of this car was finished and maintained to the highest degree and because of that there really is no flaws to note.
ENGINE BAY AND TRUNK
The engine bay of the car is directly in line with the quality and correctness of the rest of the vehicle. All painted surfaces are smooth bright. Chrome and plated surfaces are likewise shiny and clean with minimal signs of usage etc. All the proper clamps and hoses are in place, just as they would have left the factory in 1961. The heads of the car are finished in the correct orangish pumpkin color that while rarely seen, is correct for these very cars. The welded hood louvers are clearly visible from the underside of the bonnet, a unique and interesting feature that once again sets these early cars apart from later production versions. Everything in the engine bay is very clean and tidy which falls directly in line with the 400 carefully driven miles since completion of this top tier restoration. All of the cars appropriate stampings and tags are present, easily readable and in their correct locations.
The trunk area is once again in outstanding condition. The correct tan colored floor mats and side pieces are all in place, clean and well fitting. Trunk hinges are clean and tidy and function just as they should. Lifting the floor mat reveals the wooden floor panels painted in slightly glossy black, both in excellent condition. The correct chrome spoked spare wheel with whitewall tire sits in a clean and tidy spare wheel well. The gas tank looks to be very well finished and remains in excellent shape. There is a toolbox present that sits inside the spare wheel with all the correct tools located inside, as well as proper tools roll. This is an area of debate among early E-Type experts, which one is proper and correct so the owner decided to include both. The correct bottle style jack and Thor branded hammer accompany the tools as well.
The underside of this car is once again extremely clean and tidy while being highly correct. It displays just as one would expect from a car that has been driven only 400 careful miles since an exhaustive restoration. Suspension components are clean and tidy with all their correct finishes and no signs of any issues. The floors are clean and straight with no signs of any dings etc. The correct style early smooth oil pan does show signs of some repair on the bottom that was done in a correct and professional manner.
The only area of note would be that the underside of the oil pan does have a spot where some welding was necessary to fix a past issue. These early style “smooth” oil pans are very rare and hard to come by so a fix was necessary as finding a replacement would prove to be very difficult.
The engine rebuild was carried about by the current owner who did an extremely good job getting this E-type mechanically dialed in. Although testing on our part was very limited due to the mileage and nature of the vehicle, the engine starts right up with some help from the choke and once up to temperature runs and idles without any issue. It appears to make excellent power through the RPM range, revs freely and has not hesitations or flat spots in acceleration.
The transmission, while a later 4.2L full synchro box, shifts smoothly between gears with no issues. The clutch feels firm and responsive, holding excellent power and having a nice solid engagement.
Brakes And Suspension
We have not done extensive testing of the car due to its immaculate condition but the brakes do feel solid and responsive, bringing the car to a smooth and controlled stop. The emergency brake works well, holding the car firmly in place. The suspension feels compliant and responsive, with no issues to note.
All the tires are B.F. Goodrich Silvertown white walls, including the spare wheel. They are all in great condition with plenty of tread and nice clean white walls.
The E-type will always remain a fantastic vintage vehicle to drive and enjoy. Between their powerful engines and their well functioning brakes and suspension, they can easily keep up with modern traffic and be a blast to drive no matter the cruising speed. Where this particular car really shines is in its early nature and all the interesting pieces that are only present on these early cars. The E-type underwent a laundry list of changes throughout its 15 year production run and many of the features of this car were only fitted vehicles in the first year or so of production. Taking in the makeup of this car gives you the clearest picture of what the designers were originally aiming for when sketching out the E-type on paper. These early cars are in essence the purest form of the Jaguar E-type, much more akin to the sports car it was meant to be rather than the grand tourer it eventually grew into. This car represents the opportunity to own a unique and special vehicle in the E-Type lineage. It is not very often that the early cars come up for sale and even more rare to find one that has been restored with the amount of correct and thorough enthusiasm that this beautiful 1961 Jaguar E-Type OTS received.
- Body Types Roadster
- Exterior Colour Opalescent Blue
- Interior Colour Red Leather
- Drive LHD