Is this the best Jaguar E-type Series I on the market?

Leading specialist E-type UK have listed a new Jaguar E-type in their inventory, and it could just be the best Series I on the market. Here’s why

One of the leading global authorities on all things Jaguar E-type has unveiled a new vehicle for sale; an extremely rare Series I E-type 4.2 Open Two Seater.

Crafted within the Browns Lane walls in 1967, this particular E-type was originally purchased by American Richard J Nellam. He took delivery of the big cat from his local Jaguar dealership in California – the E-type, known as the XKE in America, escaping the commonplace rust and road salt that most European examples have been plagued with.

Built on November 7, 1967 and shipped out to American soil on November 22, the car was imported back into the United Kingdom in mid-2011. We realise that this doesn’t yet sound all that special, with some 70,000 E-type 4.2-litres rolling out the factory gates and thousands of examples being traded back and forth across the pond. So, what’s the deal? Time for a history lesson…

Why the E-type Series I broke the mould

Unveiled to the public in 1961, William Lyon’s penned bodyshell curves and mechanical prowess helped cement Jaguar’s E-type as one of the most popular automotive export models to the U.S market. Back when the world was starved of sleek automobiles for less than the outright cost of a house, the powerful Brit stormed the fashion and automotive scene like no other automobile.

Sure, BMW had their 507 – but it was cheaper to purchase the company as a whole than it was to buy a 507. Elvis Presley had one, because he was the only one who could afford it. Don’t think the Mustang was here yet either. The American buying public had to wait a further three years before the galloping horse stormed the party.

If you wanted speed and elegance on a relative budget, you had only one choice. The Jaguar E-type. With popularity further enhanced by the arrival in late 1964 of the larger, more powerful 4.2-litre engine, the new powerplant was far from a mere engineering fancy.

E-types harbouring the 4.2-litre unit were built to compete with sports cars of Americana, the likes of Ford and Chevrolet utilising contemporary, although somewhat dated, V8 engines.

Serving up a dollop of additional torque in the rev range over the original 3.8-litre appliance, the arrival of the larger engine coincided with the replacement of the original Moss box, the more advanced 4-speed synchro transmission offering more sophistication and ease of use over its predecessor. Driving experience and usability were heightened to levels no American sports car could match.

As time marched on and the U.S Government brought in new, and frankly ludicrous, regulations about ride height and bumper design, the E-type formula found itself watered down. After the less sporty and more erudite Series II of 1968 gave way to the GT-cruiser Series III of 1971, now running on 5.3-litre V12 power, the Series I (and, if being picky, Series 1.5) remained the true collector’s item.

Arguably, even after all these years, nothing has ever trumped the E-type Series 1/1.5 as a true driver’s car. Making them highly sought after and worshipped by classic car enthusiasts of all stature. If you want a ‘proper’ E-type, you’ll require a Series I – built from 1961 until 1968.

Except, as the years passed, early E-types grew a reputation for overheating, breaking down and leaving new, unaware owners rocking back and forth in their garage wishing they had never been born. It seemed that you couldn't have dependability and reliability when it came to the E-type.

However, this is where E-type UK’s new car comes into play…

GIJ 3844 – the best Series I on the market?

Arriving back in the UK seven years ago, the owner requested that the iconic vehicle be reworked for modern driving. Simple in principle, but the team at E-type UK had substantial work to undertake.

Completely converted to UK Series I specification, including a right-hand drive conversion, the craftsmen installed a triple SU carburetor upgrade alongside a Series I dash conversion.

The biggest change presents itself as the upgraded 5-speed gearbox – a travesty to those who thrive on keeping everything as it came out the factory, but an excellent addition for motorway cruising. Not only does that make the E-type faster, but also more economical. You should now be able to get beyond 20mpg, if you are lucky…

To prevent that infamous E-type overheating problem when pushing hard or stuck in gridlocked traffic, there’s a new aluminum radiator and header tank – not to mention electronic ignition and wider triple-lace wheels.

It’s not all change, however. The original, and rather stunning, British Racing Green colour scheme, together with the contrasting beige interior, is all original.

This all amounts to a truly remarkable E-type, retaining all the period charm yet with modern practicality that should see off everyday use without protest. Capable of performing on par with contemporary sports cars of the highest pedigree, but with 1960s flair and heritage, this E-type also comes with an advisory-free MoT. All UK documents and handbook are present.

Marcus Holland, Owner/Managing Director of E-Type UK, said: ‘This stunning 1967 E-Type is a fine example of exactly what we’re capable of at E-Type UK.

‘It’s been upgraded by our incredible staff to both bring it up to date with modern demands and to UK spec – and the result is remarkable. This is a chance for one lucky buyer to own a truly fantastic Jaguar that’s ready to fire up and hit the road straight from our showroom.’

Ready for modern driving, yet oh-so-original and exciting, this could well be the greatest and most usable E-type currently for sale on the market. Just look away if you are a member of the originality brigade …

What of the asking price? With the likes of a top-end Maserati Grancabrio MC costing little under £150k and a mid-range Ferrari starting at £182,809 – the showroom price of E-type UK’s refurbished and dependable E-type may surprise you. Find out on the official E-type UK website.

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