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 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.
The vendor has known 876573 since it was sourced by John Seddon of Ivydene Garage, Betley, Crewe in the early 1990’s and recently had the pleasure of re-acquainting himself with the car.
876573 is a very original car bar the conversion to RHD and a re-paint in recent years. It bears the original engine, with clear head stamps, block stamps R2993-9 and importantly block casting date 10-7-61 that cannot be replicated and associated casting marks for a 1961 block. A genuine chassis plate, a 1/62 dated wiper motor and other date stamped components, correct size font picture frame stamp add to the car’s authenticity.
The bodytub is very original and though the underside of the car was not ramp inspected sills, driver / passenger floors, boot floor, bonnet and doors were largely as left the factory and not replacements as far as the vendor could see.
Interestingly this chassis number falls within the now acknowledged ‘flat floor’ cars that recognized sources now agree end at 876581, yet this car has recessed floors? This may have been a customer build preference from the factory but in part may explain a body number anomaly with the tag in the boot that shows body No R2911 as opposed to R2922 shown on the genuine chassis plate and factory records. Such chassis plate / factory record anomalies are not unusual. Mueller/Haddock note a number of these in their recent book Jaguar E-Type Six Cylinder Originality Guide (P.438) including 875738 and 875954. Similarly, CMC recently had on sale 850092 a genuine unrestored car at the London Classic Car Show with a body tag / chassis plate anomaly.
Mechanically the car is strong with a VSE engine full rebuild and visibly it could be seen the rear axle had been overhauled. As can be seen from the pictures in the cars file with some fettling the car could be made very presentably with tidying of the hood and interior and some under bonnet detailing without destroying this cars originality.
A Wonderful example of an early E-type ready to be used and enjoyed.