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1961 Jaguar E-type Series 1 Fixed-Head Coupé

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  • 1961 Jaguar E-type Series 1 Fixed-Head Coupé
  • Rare and desirable ‘flat floor’ model
  • Bare-shell restoration by Richards of England in 2016-18
  • Full matching-numbers status and presented in original Imperial Maroon
YEAR1961
MAKEJaguar
PRICE£150,000

VEHICLE DESCRIPTION

This beautifully restored Jaguar E-type Series 1 FHC dates from 1961, the first year of production. Chassis number 860120 was completed at the Browns Lane factory in Coventry on 18 December that year and is one of the coveted ‘flat floor’ models. 

It was finished in Imperial Maroon with Maroon trim and dispatched via Henlys London on 10 January 1962. It’s believed that it was then sold to a wealthy farmer – Albie Malan – in Ladybrand, South Africa. Malan was apparently a great enthusiast who owned a number of expensive cars and would regularly cover the 140 kilometres between Ladybrand and Bloemfontein at high speed.

The E-type is then thought to have been acquired in the 1980s by the owner of Dorian Hats in Johannesburg, where it was used only infrequently. In 1988, it was bought by John Lawrence in Auckland and shipped out to New Zealand. 

Having been registered BJQ 260, the E-type remained in New Zealand for more than 25 years. Records from its annual Warrant of Fitness Inspection show that it was used sparingly from 2003 onwards, and covered a little over 2000 miles from then until it was sold to a new owner and exported to the UK in 2015. 

When it arrived, the Jaguar was entrusted to Lincoln-based Richards of England and given a thorough restoration. It was completely stripped down and the shell was fitted to a jig before being bead-blasted to take it back to bare metal. It then received in the region of 500 hours of work in the Richards of England fabrication department, with the intention of retaining as many original panels as possible.

It was resprayed in its original shade of Imperial Maroon and displayed mid-restoration at the London Classic Car Show. The engine was rebuilt by M&C Wilkinson, the gearbox and differential were also rebuilt, and all of the brightwork was rechromed. 

Inside, Maroon Connolly Vaumol hide was used on the seats and centre console, while wool carpets and a wool headlining was fitted. The original alloy dash and wood-rimmed steering wheel were retained, and Richards of England even considered details such as using the correct ‘mid blue’ colour on the Girling dampers and creating an aluminium replica of the early ‘side fin’ radiator, which has been painted black. 

Now being offered for sale, this Jaguar E-type Series 1 was the 120th right-hand-drive Fixed-Head Coupé in terms of chassis-number sequence and represents a rare opportunity to acquire a matching-numbers ‘flat floor’ car. It is still fitted with engine number R3270-9, body number V1453 and gearbox number EB2428JS – all of which are listed on its Heritage Certificate – and is a superb example of this iconic model.

MODEL HISTORY

Few cars have had the impact of the Jaguar E-type when it was launched at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show. Early road tests produced a headline top speed of 150mph, Malcolm Sayer had designed a shape of timeless beauty, and all of this was on offer for a fraction of the price asked by rivals such as Aston Martin and Ferrari. Little wonder the E-type became such a strong symbol of the Swinging Sixties. 

The car owed much to the famous Le Mans-winning D-type of the 1950s. Aerodynamicist Sayer had previously worked at the Bristol Aeroplane Company and for the D-type he devised a central monocoque structure – referred to as the ‘fuselage’ by some of Jaguar’s top brass during development – to which was added a front subframe for the engine. 

That layout was retained for the E-type, which replaced the D-type’s live rear axle with independent suspension all round. It was introduced with the 3.8-litre, triple-carburettor, straight-six engine from the outgoing XK 150 S and its performance was mind-boggling at a time when even 100mph was well beyond the experience of most motorists.  

Bill Boddy wrote in Motor Sport that: ‘The E-type is a staggering motor car on all counts; safety, acceleration, speed, equipment, appearance – all are there, for a basic price of only £1,480.’

Production of the roadster and FHC slowly ramped up through 1961, with early cars also scoring some notable competition success. Updates came thick and fast as Jaguar struggled to keep up with demand. In 1962, the ‘flat floors’ were replaced in order to provide more room in the foot well, and in late 1964 the engine was enlarged to 4.2 litres. At the same time, a Jaguar gearbox with synchromesh on all four speeds replaced the previous Moss gearbox. 

In 1966, a 2+2 model was added to the range, and the Series 1 lived on until 1968, when it morphed into the facelifted Series 2. A more fundamental change came in 1971 with the addition of a V12 engine for the Series III, and the E-type lived on until 1975 before it was replaced by the XJ-S.


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