1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8-Litre Roadster
$400,000 - $500,000
- One of 385 desirable early Series 1 examples
- Features flat floors, welded bonnet louvers, and external bonnet latches
- Scored 100 points at the 2014 Jaguar Owners Club of Los Angeles Concours d’Elegance
- 1st in Class at the 2014 San Marino Classic Concours
- Tremendous preservation of its original sheet metal and mechanicals
- Documented as matching-numbers engine and transmission by JDHT
With the debut of Jaguar’s sensational new sports car, the E-Type, at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show, they had once again proven to the world that they could build an incredible performance car with svelte looks to match, which was a hallmark of the brand. From the moment of its introduction, dealers could hardly keep their E-Types on the showroom floor. The E-Type was intended as the next-generation replacement to Jaguar’s XK 120–150 series of sports cars, and it was the culmination of lessons learned from that series, as well as those learned in the heat of competition with the revolutionary D-Type. It was powered by Jaguar’s venerable 3.8-liter, straight six-cylinder engine, which first appeared in the XK 150 S the year before. Its horsepower was rated at a respectable 265, and it could muster a top speed of 150 mph. The E-Type was also equipped with a modern independent rear suspension that masterfully mixed precise handling, comfort, and grip.
So popular was it that the small Jaguar factory was behind on orders for the next four years, meaning there was no compelling reason at all to make major changes to the car until 1964. Rather than large-scale differences, early E-Type enthusiasts look for the small clues that differentiate their cars, such as this car’s chromed escutcheon external bonnet latches, which are the famed “outside latches” that identify a very early E-Type. Very few outside-bonnet-latch cars were ever produced. This car, number 331 in production order, also sports flat floors and welded louvers, which were soon changed to more cost-efficient pressed metal.
In recent years, the supply of highly original early E-Types for restoration has dwindled, so the discovery of an original low-mileage example was notable. Fortunately, it ended up in the care of an experienced Jaguar restoration facility, marque specialists Classic Showcase, which had the foresight to preserve as much of the car’s originality as possible. In their California shop, they performed a no-expense-spared rotisserie restoration of this gem. A 100-point result at the May 2014 Jaguar Owners Club of Los Angeles annual Concours d’Elegance is evidence of the car’s excellent overall quality. A few weeks later, “Blue Diamond” again won 1st in Class while at its second event, the San Marino Concours. Complementing that is a fully reworked and leaded body that has been finished in the same Opalescent Dark Blue as indicated on the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust certificate. The completely replated brightwork calls attention to the correct, early Series 1 outside-bonnet-latch and upper-door chrome finisher. The sumptuous interior features correct light blue upholstery and a dark blue convertible top, as it had when it left the factory.
As the current owner is a perfectionist, an additional $23,000 was spent to further enhance this already spectacular E-Type after he acquired it in 2014. Improvements included the acquisition of the correct jack ($2,000), tools, and show-quality manuals. Additionally, this E-Type was fitted with a period-correct radio and antenna, new old-stock Jaguar seat belts, and year-of-manufacture license plates. Additional detailing included an expert color sanding and polishing, as well as an engine service. These efforts were rewarded with a 1st in Class win at the 2015 Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance. This stunning early outside-bonnet-latch E-Type is simply one of the best of the best.