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Upon the introduction of the E-Type, yet another masterpiece by Sir William Lyons, Jaguar’s own advertising described their newest sports model thusly: “You don’t have to be a competition driver to drive a Jaguar. You don’t have to be a celebrity. You don’t have to be rich, but just slide behind that racing wheel, ease back into the butter-soft glove-leather seat, turn the key, reach down and slip into first, hear that unmistakable Jaguar roar and you’ll be the fastest, most famous, richest man in the world.”

The effect that the E-Type had on the motoring public around the world is difficult to overstate. It truly was a civilized, road-going version of Jaguar’s Le Mans-dominating D-Type that had been made approachable enough for most any driver, yet was capable of 150 mph straight out of the showroom; and it was, for many, one of the most beautiful automobiles ever put into production.

Early in the development process, Mr. Lyons authorized the addition of the coupe version, which was later chosen to be the debut car at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 1961. These pre-production examples were built on a much-accelerated schedule to be completed in time for the show, and the first few coupes were handmade from roadster bodies. History records the E-Type as the runaway hit of the Geneva show, and another Fixed Head Coupe was delivered after a now-legendary all-night drive, to give rides to the beguiled automotive press outside the showground. In the months following the event, Jaguar completed the tooling for the coupe’s body panels while production of the roadster was already underway.

It is well known in collecting circles that the most coveted E-Types are the flat-floor, welded-louver, outside-bonnet-latch cars of 1961. Hundreds of roadsters were built in this configuration and command a substantial premium over cars built after the bonnet latches were relocated inside the passenger compartment, but only 20 left-hand-drive and four right-hand-drive examples of the coupe were built with outside latches. Today, the 12 known surviving left-hand-drive cars from this tiny group are the most highly prized of all road-going E-Types.

This car, chassis 885018, is the 18th of the 20 outside-bonnet-latch coupes, and was acquired in 2016 by dedicated Jaguar enthusiast Gordon Logan. He immediately retained the acclaimed Jeff’s Resurrections of Taylor, Texas, to perform what was to become a 4,250-hour restoration on the rare coupe, and today it stands among the most carefully researched, correctly restored, and brilliantly finished examples in existence. A particularly intact restoration candidate, as it retained its original engine block and cylinder head, gearbox, and differential according to a copy of the JDHT Certificate on file, the Jaguar was disassembled and painstakingly renewed in its original, striking color combination of Opalescent Gunmetal – which was reportedly matched to a section of original paint found in the car – and a red leather interior. Exhaustive effort was made during the two-year, photo-documented restoration process to prepare the car as it was delivered, including recreating the factory chalk and grease-pencil markings that it received upon final inspection at the factory in August 1961.

Following more than a year of research and the gathering of numerous, all but unobtainable parts, including date-coded electrical components, hoses, clamps, clips, and period OEM American-market headlights, the restoration began in earnest. The E-Type’s interior was also painstakingly restored, including its correct, roadster-specification seats, and rare, chrome-trimmed sun visors. In all, well over $400,000 was spent to achieve the truly awesome result.

In 2018, following its completion, 885018 competed at the highest levels of Jaguar Clubs of North America (JCNA) and concours competition, received three 100-point scores at JCNA events, and took Best of Show honors or significant special awards wherever it was shown. In 2019, it was purchased by the consignor and has been maintained as a featured part of his magnificent collection of sports cars, spanning from the prewar era to the present day. This E-Type Fixed Head Coupe stands atop most all others for its 100-point restoration, original matching-numbers components, and of course, its extreme rarity. It is worthy of a special place in any world-class collection.

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