Introduced in 3.8-litre form in 1961, the E-Type caused a sensation when it appeared, with instantly classic lines and 150mph 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. 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.
One of some 400 right-hand drive ‘Flat-Floor’ roadsters made, of which around 170 are estimated still to exist, this incredible restored matching numbers example was manufactured in December of 1961, and delivered to its lucky first UK owner in the January of the following year, originally supplied in Cream with a Red Leather interior and Black Soft Top.
Over the last two years Chassis #322 has benefitted from a hugely detailed restoration at the hands of very well respected Jaguar marque specialist Rothwell Engineering. To give interested parties an insight into the quality of their work, Rothwell restored E-Types have been displayed in the London Design Museum, have won the Autoglym Grand Final and Concours Champion of Champions, and have been supplied to prominent leaders of the UK automotive industry. Before embarking on our car’s restoration the owner took advice from the Jaguar Enthusiast’s Club, who confirmed our vendor had made the right decision with his choice of restorer.
Unsurprisingly the restoration work was extremely comprehensive, and is detailed in a nine page report which summarises the attention given to the each area of the car. The report breaks down restoration work into the subjects of bodywork and paint, suspension, steering, drivetrain, engine/gearbox, fuel and exhaust systems, brakes, electrical, interior trim/hood and chromework. Notably the engine was rebuilt to exacting standards by VSE in Wales, during which the moving parts were balanced, and the engine built up to run on modern unleaded fuels. It comes as no surprise that the cost of the restoration exceeded £100,000.
After carefully rebuilding this rare early example, Rothwell have delivered an E-Type of truly outstanding quality, which truly runs and drives as good as it looks. Chassis #322 shows just under 59,000 miles recorded (with only a few test miles since the rebuild), and is offered with a heritage certificate, detailed written and photographic account of the restoration work, current MoT and UK V5 document,
Finished in a stunning shade of Gunmetal Grey with a contrasting Red leather interior, this is by far one of the best E-Types we have seen in a very long time.