Early E-types had a variety of distinctive styling features that complemented the elegance of their lines, though not all of them were practical
|Vehicle:||1962 Jaguar E-type Series I 3.8 convertible|
|Original List Price:||$5,595|
|Tune Up Cost:||$500|
|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 c/o Nelson Rath, 1000 Glenbrook, Anchorage, KY 40223|
|Alternatives:||1963-65 Porsche 356 SC cabriolet, 1953-63 AC Ace roadster|
This car sold for $82,250 at Christie’s Greenwich sale, held June 5, 2005.
Combining collectibility, performance, and style within a usable and (relatively) affordable package, the Jaguar E-type is one of the most desirable classic sports cars on the road. The 1962-64 3.8-liter Series I E-types, especially those in the open, two-seater body style, are among the most desirable variants of the model. To Jaguar cognoscenti, only the relatively rare 1961 E-types with flat floors and external bonnet latches have greater intrinsic value.
Though most of the powertrain was carried over from the last of the XK 150s-including the overhead-cam straight-six, with its three SU carburetors and four-speed transmission-the E-type chassis was all new, with independent rear suspension and inboard brakes that provided better handling on the road or the track than any production car of the time.
These early Series Is had a variety of distinctive styling features that complemented the elegance of their lines, though not all of them were practical. The small grille opening, accented with a simple chrome bar displaying the Jaguar “Growler” logo, has become has become an iconic Jaguar styling cue. Nevertheless, a larger opening would have produced fewer engine cooling problems.
The headlamps enclosed in glass covers edged in chrome complete the sensuous lines of the fenders, but the glass scratches over time, and cool humid days cause moisture to collect on the inside. Automotive lighting being what it was in the ’60s means the resultant loss of candlepower is ill-afforded.
Tiny eyebrow chrome bumpers cap the corners of the fenders, though they do little more than provide a design highlight-or a target for a
parallel-parking SUV. These bumperettes were never up to the task of actually protecting the body panels from bumps, and they themselves are prone to getting dinged or mangled.
On the interior, the dash is faced with aluminum stamped in a raised dot
pattern, which gives the instrument panel an aeronautical look but is difficult to maintain. The seatbacks have a lovely curve, but prove to be uncomfortable on long tours.
Jaguar addressed some of the E-type’s shortcomings in 1964, when a more powerful 4.2-liter engine was fitted, along with a completely re-
engineered, fully synchronized transmission and an improved clutch. On the interior, the stylish, thin-backed seats were swapped for ones with softer cushions, and the aluminum facings on the dash and console were replaced by more practical vinyl.
In spite of these improvements, and a whole variety of other running changes, Jaguar didn’t make a formal name change until much later, when the Series II E-type was introduced in 1969. Because of the number of
running changes made between late 1967 and early 1969, the majority due to smog and safety regulations, many owners refer to these cars as “Series I 1/2s.” However, the Jaguar Clubs of North America do not recognize this designation for judging, and there is no general agreement on what exact period this term should identify.
While nomenclature is being discussed, it’s worth noting that in Europe these models were always referred to as E-types when new, harking back to Jaguar’s glory days at Le Mans. In North America Jaguar marketing instead chose to evoke the XK 120’s U.S. road-racing victories and used the term XKE, subsequently immortalized by Jan and Dean in “Dead Man’s Curve” and The Rip Chords in “Hey, Little Cobra.”
Hard-core aficionados generally prefer “E-type.” At the risk of starting another “lively discussion” like the one we created a few months back over the correct way to refer to a Healey 100-4, we’ll just say that either term for the Jag is acceptable.
The Sports Car Market Pocket Price Guide suggests that the appropriate value range for ’61-’64 Jaguar convertibles is $35,000 to $55,000, and in fact, it is possible to find a very presentable example in that price range. Nevertheless, the $82,250 fetched by the car pictured here is certainly not unusual.
With increased competitiveness in E-type concours judging at JCNA events and growing experience at preparing such cars, flawless 100-point cars are occurring more and more often. As the cubic dollars continue to be spent, six-digit figures are not unusual for the best of the best when they sell at auction.
As this car was not a fresh restoration, but one that was already five years old, I wouldn’t have expected it to crack the $100k barrier, and it didn’t. But the seller should still consider himself fortunate to have gotten back three-quarters of his restoration costs, while the buyer can be happy that he got such a discount on the restoration, and as we often say, “the car for free.”
(Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.)