Amelia Island

The Ritz-Carlton
10 - 11 March 2017
Lot 255

1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8-Litre Roadster

Offered from a Private Collection


$412,500 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida



Chassis No.
Engine No.
R 1251-9
Gearbox No.
EB 353 JS
Body No.
R 1228
  • Offered from a private collection
  • The most desirable early specification: flat floor, welded louvers, and outside bonnet latches
  • Exceptional restoration by British marque specialists
  • Finished in the original colors from a superb original example
  • Well documented, including Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate
  • Includes original removable hardtop and original tool roll
  • One of the finest early E-Types available in recent years

265 hp, 3,781 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with semi-trailing wishbones, torsion bars, telescopic shock absorbers, an anti-roll bar, independent rear suspension with lower transverse tubular links, radius rods, universally jointed half-shafts, twin coil springs, and telescopic shock absorbers; and four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes. Wheelbase: 96 in.

The new E-Type of 1961 was preceded by the competition D-Type of the mid-1950s and its short-lived production version, the XKSS of 1957, as well as the experimental competition car entered by Briggs Cunningham at Le Mans in 1960. Like the D-Type, the new car used monocoque construction: the front of the chassis featured a space-frame with steel tubes supporting the engine, the front suspension, and the hinged hood and fender assembly, which lifted to provide virtually unlimited engine access. It also featured the proven twin-cam inline six-cylinder engine of the former XK 150 S, four-wheel independent suspension, and disc brakes at each corner. A speed of 150 mph was promised too, all for a price of about $6,000—and for one of the best-looking cars on the planet!

The example offered here was built in June 1961 and delivered through the New York dealer to Hollis A. Smith of Midland, Texas. It remained in his ownership until May 1966, when it was acquired by Vance K. Irwin through Knotts Sports Car Centre of Longview, Texas. The E-Type would remain in Mr. Irvin’s family until 2010, passing to his son, Rick, in 1998, and spending the majority of that time in dry, secure storage in the Lone Star State.

Following its acquisition from the Irwins by a European owner, Colin Pearcy, the E-Type was restored by CMC Jaguar, one of the most experienced Jaguar restorers in the world, in conjunction with E-Type UK and respected master trimmer, Mick Turley. The car was returned to its original specifications, as per its Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate, including the original color scheme of Carmen Black over black with a black top. Upon completion, the car was driven for a 1,000-mile “shake-down” tour of Europe, after which any nagging ills were promptly corrected so that it would both show and drive superbly.

A letter from CMC Jaguar’s N.R. Goldthorp to Mr. Pearcy, a copy of which is on file, notes that “of all the E-Types that we have restored, your car was probably the most original and correct. As it had been in a dry state in the USA, it had not suffered the ravages of corrosion.” A minor accident had damaged the trunk floor and number plate panel, necessitating the replacement of those panels; in addition, both outer sills were replaced. The balance of the bodywork is original Jaguar metal from 1961. “As I have indicated,” Mr. Goldthorp continued, “[this car] is probably the most original early E-Type body in the world or at the very least is the most original that we have seen in the past 20 years.”

Now offered from its excellent maintenance and superb care in a fine American collection, this is certainly one of the finest early E-Types to have been brought to market in recent years. Finished to a remarkable standard, including the original removable hardtop, it is not an over-restored piece of jewelry, but rather has been brought to the highest level of “how the factory did it,” right down to its original ignition keys and tool roll. It is a superb example deserving of the finest home.