Dream Car Friday: Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Roadster

In a world ravaged by depressing news bulletins, why not buy the all-time greatest British sports car loved by celebrities and run away from it all? Here's a slice of Jag goodness from our classifieds

This car remains a legend that needs no introduction. The vehicle that was owned by athletes, singers and actors alike, even Enzo Ferrari was caught sulking about the ground-breaking shape. It can only be the Jaguar E-Type! Time has not diminished the big cat's svelte looks, but it has changed the asking price a tad...

Just over 15 years ago, one could pick up a decent E-Type for the same price as a Ford Focus. However, today it requires a successful stint at Caesar’s Palace or the gumption of relocating to a cardboard box; either way you’ll end up looking and feeling like a 1960s' film star.

Sell your remaining possessions for a pair of Ray-Ban’s and a Matt Monro cassette, and drive your problems away whilst gliding over to the Stelvio Pass to live your 60s fantasies. It'll chase away any form of contemporary blues.

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The E-Type famously paved its way to iconic status in 1961, with the steady hand of Malcolm Sawyer and the eye for detail William Lyons based his reputation on. The sports car was everything the public had ever wanted, injecting colour into an otherwise black-and-white automotive world. Films such as Danger: Diabolik helped cement it's infinite appeal:

The original hand-built prototype and press car, 9600 HP, was in the final stages of preparation just days before its big reveal at the Geneva Motor Show. Browns Lane executive Bob Berry was chucked the keys and told to scorch it to Geneva. Not a bad day at the office, by far.

The E-Type survived its thrashing from Coventry to Geneva with just 20 minutes to spare. A hasty polish like Alladin with his lamp, and the success of Jaguar's E-Type began its blissful journey. Lyon’s was so unprepared for the ruckus his latest creation would cause, he ordered test driver Norman Davis to drop the spanners back at the factory and smash the 700 mile drive in convertible E-Type 77RW, to meet the demand for test drives. His arrival ignited rapturous applause from the indoctrinated public and press.

Why the fuss?

It’ll be said until the cows come home to the tannery, but it’s jaw-droppingly pretty. The equivalent to an hour-glass frame, it’s easy to see the appeal. Originally launched with a 3.8 litre straight six derived from the mightily successful XK range, the engine was enlarged over time to the 4.2 litre unit seen in a vast array of period Jaguar products, albeit only increasing torque in the process.

With 265bhp it wiped the floor with most of the competition, which incidentally cost double the then ‘humble’ E-Type. Albeit employing some slight trickery to make the headlines, the E-Type broke 150mph for the few, lucky journalists across the country. Jaguar allegedly gas-flowed the cylinder head and wrapped the wire wheels in Dunlop racing rubber, but with everyone so smitten this was merely a humorous anecdote for the decades since.

Why this one?

The car we’ve picked from the Auto Classics classifieds is the perfect E-Type. Being a late Series 1 car, it benefits from the torquier 4.2 litre lump, in addition to the all-synchromesh gearbox – no mashing about searching for gears like a lost 7/16 spanner here, no sir!

Finished in a rather quaint 1960s colour palette of beige with tobacco coloured leather, we’re already readying the office for sale at Auto Classics. Having been imported from gloriously dry California, the car has been sympathetically converted to right hand drive by the vendor – Cotswold Classic Car Restorations.

Add on the fact this particular car keeps many original features, offering a patina rarely seen on restored E-Types, and you have the dream car right in front of you. With the listing being live for a matter of hours, you'll want to snap it up before someone else lights their Montecristo in celebration.

Get a closer look with the AutoClassics classified listing.

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