Lot 174

St. Moritz 2023

1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8-Litre Roadster


CHF230,000 | Sold

Switzerland | St. Moritz, Switzerland



Chassis No.
Engine No.
R 1322-9
Gearbox No.
EB 427 JS
Body No.
R 1307
Norwegian Vehicle Registration
  • An early production “flat floor” model, with external bonnet latches and welded bonnet louvres
  • Retains its original chassis, engine, and gearbox
  • Restored in 2015; covered approximately 750 miles since completion
  • Accompanied by a jack, toolkit, and Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust (JDHT) certificate
Addendum: Please note this lot has entered Switzerland on a temporary import bond, which must be cancelled either by exporting the lot outside of Switzerland on an approved Bill of Lading with supporting customs documentation or by paying the applicable VAT and import duties to have the lot remain in Switzerland. If the lot is not removed from the temporary import bond within 30 days of purchase, it will be transported to a bonded warehouse outside Switzerland at the buyer’s expense.

Seldom has the adage “the devil is in the detail” been more apposite than in the case of the Jaguar E-Type. Although the overall appearance of both the Series 1 3.8-Litre Roadster and Fixed Head Coupé remained virtually unchanged between the first production cars in 1961 and the last in 1964, numerous subtle mechanical and cosmetic alterations characterise the earliest examples. Arguably the single most significant change was detailed in Jaguar Service Bulletin N.15 of May 1962, which announced the introduction of redesigned footwells in the interests of improving occupant comfort. The term “flat floor” was retrospectively applied to the hugely desirable early examples that preceded the redesign.

Contemporary Jaguar production records suggest that 1,581 units were built in left-hand-drive Roadster configuration with the flat floor design. While flat floor cars are among the most collectable examples, their number also includes a sub-category representing the Holy Grail of E-Types: early production cars with external bonnet locks. Although their actual operation was quite different—the E-Type requiring a carriage key to be inserted into an aperture concealed behind a bonnet-mounted, teardrop-shaped chrome escutcheon—the principle was similar to that employed on the C-Type and D-Type sports racers.

Barely four months after the E-Type’s public debut in Geneva—and less than three since Graham Hill had driven Tommy Sopwith’s car to a maiden race win at Oulton Park—chassis 875195 departed Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory, destined for the United States. As the 195th left-hand-drive Roadster produced, the car boasted all three major design features peculiar to early production cars: flat floors, external bonnet latches, and welded bonnet louvres. Duly finished in Bronze with a Biscuit interior and a black hood, the car was despatched to Jaguar Cars of New York on 23 July 1961 for onward delivery to its first owner, R.F. Thompson of Dallas, Texas.

Regrettably, it is not known how long Mr. Thompson retained the car, though by 1977 it had been acquired by a Pennsylvania-based collector. Remarkably, it would remain in his care for the next 43 years, during which an extended period of appraisal and parts sourcing was followed by an exhaustive restoration commencing in 2012. The then-owner was actively involved with most mechanical aspects of the rebuild, and paid particular attention to retaining or reinstating any period features consistent with the car’s early production status. Indeed, the only significant departure from the car’s original factory specification was a respray in the period correct colour of Opalescent Blue by Lindley Motors of Sanatoga, Pennsylvania, and a retrim in red leather with a dark blue hood.

Upon completion in early 2015, chassis 875195 was entered in the Delaware Valley Jaguar Club Annual Concours, held at Oakbourne Mansion in Westtown, Pennsylvania. As a JNCA member club, its parent organisation’s standardised class structure and scoring system was employed; the car scored a highly impressive 99.97 points on its concours debut. Thereafter, it was only used very sparingly, with just 400 additional miles being covered prior to the car being offered for sale. Acquired by the consignor in 2020, the car has since been subjected to further expenditure of some €15,000, and at the time of cataloguing has covered around 350 miles since its last workshop bill.

In combining incomparable aesthetics, an illustrious competition heritage, and boundless performance, the E-Type remains the quintessential British sports car of the post-war period, and arguably one of the most impactful cars ever constructed. Accompanied by its rare early-specification hard-cover toolkit, jack and JDHT certificate—not to mention added assurance from more than four decades of single ownership—chassis 875195 represents one of the finest early E-Types currently available, and one fit to grace any suitably discerning collection.