Monterey | Lot 312

1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8-Litre Roadster

$258,500 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California

15 August 2015

Chassis No.
Engine No.
Body No.
R 2472-9
R 2284
  • Originally owned by famed entertainer Jerry Lewis
  • Fresh restoration by marque specialists at E-Type UK USA
  • Early “flat floor” car; original engine and in its original colors
  • Very high-point scores in Jaguar Club of North America Concours judging
  • Documented by its JDHT Certificate

265 bhp, 3,781 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine with triple SU carburetors, four-speed manual transmission with upgraded synchromesh gears, independent front suspension with wishbones and a torsion bar, independent rear suspension with a transverse link and trailing arms, and four-wheel power-assisted disc brakes. Wheelbase: 96 in.

“Many a night I’d get into my XKE Jaguar and speed down Sunset Boulevard, blasting the horn for no particular reason except to feel monumentally important.”

Jerry Lewis, 1983, in interview with The Village Voice

Like most automobiles that lit the world on fire when introduced, the Jaguar E-Type quickly acquired a cult following of sorts among celebrities. Among them was Jerry Lewis, the American entertainer beloved worldwide as the long-time comedic partner of Dean Martin, the zany star of classic 1960s films, including Cinderfella and The Nutty Professor, and the host of television’s The Jerry Lewis Show. He is also renowned as a philanthropist, having spearheaded and hosted for over 40 years the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s tremendously successful Labor Day telethon.

According to its Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate, a copy of which is on file, this E-Type Series 1 3.8, a desirable early “flat floor” model, was originally delivered to Lewis in Beverly Hills, California, by distributor Jaguar Cars of New York on November 22, 1961. Lewis obviously got a lot of enjoyment and pleasure out of owning his E-Type, as expressed in the quote above, recorded over 20 years after he had purchased the car!

In its present ownership, after being found in a small town in Illinois, the car’s restoration was completed to concours specifications by marque specialist Harry Fulford, of E-Type UK/USA in Newbury Park, California. Finishing the car in its original, sporting color combination of Black over a Red interior with a Black top, it was a full mechanical and cosmetic overhaul, with new parts used wherever necessary, and it was detailed to highly correct standards. For instance, the top is properly counterweighted, with bags of shot sewn into the headliner; the cylinder head paint is the appropriate “pumpkin” color; and the correct factory tags were used on the master cylinder. The engine (including block and head) and chassis match the original numbers on the Heritage Certificate. The gearbox is, importantly, a freshly rebuilt and upgraded fully synchromesh Jaguar unit in order to improve the driving experience.

The restored E-Type has never stopped questing for perfection. It was brought to the Jaguar Club of North America Concours d’Elegance in Fullerton, California, on May 17 of this year and scored 99.39 points. Copies of the judging sheets are on file. With the judging sheets revealing the tiny demerits, the car was then brought back to E-Type UK/USA to have those corrected, and at time of cataloguing, the car was being prepared for a return to JCNA judging in search of an even higher score.

Many “celebrity ownership” cars exist, with exaggerated and undocumented provenance and usually in subpar condition. This E-Type is a happy exception, with its ownership by one of the world’s most beloved comic figures and humanitarians, it being documented by its JDHT Certificate and judging sheets, and it now benefiting from a fresh restoration that has left it truly “better than new.”

It would make a fitting centerpiece to any Jaguar collection and would no doubt make the new owner feel, in Jerry Lewis’s words, “monumentally important.”

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