1961 Jaguar E-Type SI
Year of manufacture1961
1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8-Litre Series 1 'Flat Floor' Coupé
Chassis no. 885038
Engine no. R1755-9
"If Les Vingt Quatre Heures du Mans has been responsible for the new E-Type Jaguar, then that Homeric contest on the Sarthe circuit will have been abundantly justified. Here we have one of the quietest and most flexible cars on the market, capable of whispering along in top gear at 10mph or leaping into its 150mph stride on the brief depression of a pedal. A practical touring car, this, with its wide doors and capacious luggage space, yet it has a sheer beauty of line which easily beats the Italians at their own particular game."
There have been few better summaries of the Jaguar E-Type's manifest virtues than John Bolster's, penned for Autosport shortly after the car's debut in 1961. Introduced in 3.8-litre form, the E-Type caused a sensation when it appeared, with instantly classic lines and a 150mph (241km/h) top speed. The newcomer's design owed much to that of the racing D-Type: a monocoque tub forming the main structure, while a tubular spaceframe extended forwards to support the engine. The latter was the same 3.8-litre, triple-carburettor 'S' unit first offered as an option on the preceding XK150. An optimistic 265bhp was claimed, but whatever the installed horsepower, the E-Type's performance did not disappoint; firstly, because it weighed around 500lb (227kg) less than the XK150 and secondly because aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer used experience gained with the D-Type to create one of the most elegant and efficient shapes ever to grace a motor car. Indeed, even Enzo Ferrari felt obliged to concede that the E-type was 'the most beautiful car ever made'.
Taller drivers though, could find the interior somewhat lacking in space, a criticism addressed by the introduction of foot wells (and other, more minor, modifications) early in 1962. But of all the versions of Jaguar's long-lived and much-loved sports car, it is the very early 'flat floor' 3.8-litre cars built prior to February 1962, which, for many enthusiasts, remain the most desirable.
According to its accompanying Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate, this left-hand-drive Series 1 XKE - as the E-Type was known in the USA - was manufactured on 14th September 1961 and delivered new to one R P Hankey of Newport Beach, California. A very early car, it is the 38th of the 398 left-hand drive coupés built during the first year of production, which had started belatedly in February 1961. After its early life in California, this E-Type found its way to Fox Island, Washington State in the 1970s, remaining in the greater Seattle area thereafter. Its most recent owner, an elderly British enthusiast, acquired the E-Type in 2000 and enjoyed it for several years before commissioning a painstaking total restoration that commenced in 2010 and was completed in the spring of 2014.
After the car had been completely disassembled and stripped back to bare metal, all of the original body panels were restored (with the exception of the driver's door skin, which was replaced) and then professionally refinished in Opalescent Dark Green. All the chromium trim, brightwork, and correct wire wheels were either renewed or re-plated, while the interior was totally re-trimmed in premium quality Cinnamon leather and the original wood-rim steering wheel restored. The original instruments being retained, the full interior refurbishment was completed with new carpets, new door panels, new headlining, and new alloy dashboard and centre console fascias unique to the early Series 1 cars. Similarly, all mechanical systems including the suspension, brakes, and engine were totally rebuilt and a few sensible upgrades incorporated: notably alternator electrics, a high-capacity aluminium radiator, and a stainless steel exhaust system.
A logbook recording the restoration, which contains 'before', 'during', and 'after' photographs, is included in the sale. The car also comes with an owner's manual; a selection of XKE magazine advertisements; extensive E-Type literature and research; XKE Registry data and listing; a Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate; a FIVA Identity Card; Belgian registration papers; and copies of the factory's hand-written production logbooks recording this car's build data. An early and highly desirable 'flat floor' benefiting from a recent bare metal restoration, this beautiful E-Type coupé ticks all the boxes.