Introduced in 1961, the Jaguar E-Type caused a sensation when it appeared, with instantly classic lines and a 140 mph-plus top speed. The newcomer's design owed much to that of the racing D-Type: a monocoque tub forming the main structure, while a tubular spaceframe extended forward to support the engine. The latter was the same 3.8-liter unit first offered as an option on the preceding XK150, and the E-Type's performance did not disappoint; firstly, because it weighed around 500 pounds (227kg) less than the XKl50; and secondly because aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer used experience gained with the D-Type to create one of the most elegant and efficient shapes ever to grace a motor car. Tall drivers, though, could find the interior somewhat lacking in space, a criticism addressed by the introduction of footwells (and other, more minor modifications) early in 1962. But of all the versions of Jaguar's long-lived and much-loved sports car, it is the very early 'flat floor' 3.8-liter cars built prior to February 1962 which, for many enthusiasts, remain the most desirable of all. This restored 3.8-liter 'flat floor' is fully deserving of the description of 'concours.' It is finished in Old English White with a black interior, and is accompanied by sundry invoices.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1961 Jaguar E-type Series I 3.8 flat-floor convertible
Years Produced:1961-1968
Number Produced:Series I 3.8, 7,820; Series I 4.2, 9,550
Original List Price:$5,595
SCM Valuation:$32,500-$45,000
Tune Up Cost:$300
Distributor Caps:$22.50
Chassis Number Location:ID plate on center of firewall
Engine Number Location:Stamped on engine block above oil filter
Club Info:Jaguar Clubs of North America info: 888-258-2524
Alternatives:AC Bristol roadster, Austin-Healey 3000 convertible, Porsche 356 Cabriolet

The Series I E-Type (referred to as the “XKE” in U.S. marketing literature) is an ideal benchmark for overall prices at classic car auctions because there is at least one in excellent condition for sale at every auction. These cars’ specifications are well-known and parts are generally available, so if the example has been restored, the work has generally been done to a high standard. In the U.S. this year, comparable condition Series I E-Types were selling for around $45,000, so the sale of this E-Type at $40,183 by Brooks in Monaco in May of last year suggests that prices are fairly comparable in the U.S. and Europe, allowing for shipping, and that general market conditions haven’t changed much in the past year.

A solid E-Type that has been carefully restored is an excellent automobile. Even with the less-than-ergonomic seats in the early Series I, the cars are comfortable, and the nearly bulletproof 3.8-liter engine makes it practical for long-distance cruising, though the awkward 4-speed transmission could have been better. E-Types have always been the most sensual of cars – no coincidence that one was Austin Powers’ chariot of choice in that quintessential send-up of Sixties attitudes. The Series I is most stylish of them all, with its smooth, elegant fender lines terminating in clear glass covers over recessed headlamps and cloth soft-top easily dismounted for top-down touring.

The later Series I with the bigger 4.2-liter engine is a good driving option but has less investment potential. Many people prefer the added power and more comfortable seats.

The Series II, introduced in 1968, was mechanically a better car, though additional safety changes to headlamps, a different soft-top mounting and an awkward radiator opening were steps backward in styling.

By 1971 the high-revving six no longer could meet U.S. emission standards, so the Series III was introduced, powered by the torquey V12 from the big sedan. It had the visual styling cues of the earlier E-Types, but huge rubber bumper overiders and a larger grille detracted from the classic curves.

If you decide to satisfy your nostalgia for Sixties auto-sensuality, the Jaguar E-Type proves the rule of paying a reasonable price for a good car rather than looking for a cheap restoration project. A good E-Type is very good, but a bad example can be horrid. If much body-work needs to be done to get that enormous multi-curved bonnet to look and fit properly and if there’s any rust in the monococque tub, your bill just for paint and bodywork alone could exceed the sale price of this Brooks car.-Gary Anderson.

Comments are closed.