Lot 65 (Imperial War Museum Duxford, 26th July 2017)
Registration No: 533 UYW
Chassis No: 876192
Mot Expiry: June 2018
- Highly desirable 'flat floor' model with matching chassis and engine numbers (1 of just 1,582 made)
- The subject of much recent restoration work by renowned marque specialist XK Engineering
- Among the finest examples we have encountered
Famously launched at the 1961 Geneva Salon, the Jaguar E-Type created a furore. With its stunning looks, outrageous performance and low price tag, the newcomer left rivals reeling and customers clamouring. While, early competition success at the hands of Graham Hill and Roy Salvadori amongst others helped cement its reputation. Built as a monocoque with an engine cradling front sub-frame, the model's combination of all-round independent suspension (torsion-bar front / coil-sprung rear) rack and pinion steering and four-wheel disc brakes gave it excellent roadholding and handling capabilities. Fed by triple SU HD8 carburettors and topped with a 'straight port' DOHC cylinder head, its 3781cc straight-six engine was quoted as developing some 265bhp and 260lbft. Allied to a four-speed Moss gearbox, the free-revving unit reputedly enabled the E-type to sprint from 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds and onto 150mph.
Seemingly borrowed from a light aircraft, the wonderful turned aluminium centre console that adorned its dashboard was complemented by scalloped 'Dunlopillo' seats and a wood-rim steering wheel. Achingly beautiful yet viciously quick, the E-type remains for many the ultimate production Jaguar. While any roadster is desirable, the so-called 'Flat Floor' cars enjoy a particularly exalted status. Dating from early in the production cycle before Jaguar responded to popular demand and had footwell recesses pressed into the model's previously 'Flat Floor' platform so that it could better accommodate tall drivers, they arguably represent the automotive icon in its purist form. Just 1,939 'Flat Floor' Roadsters (357 RHD, 1,582 LHD) left the Browns Lane factory and some fifty-years' worth of attrition means that survivors are not only scarce but also highly sought after.
According to its accompanying Jaguar Heritage Production Record Trace Certificate, this particular example - chassis 876192 - was built on 23rd November 1961 and despatched to Jaguar Cars' New York distribution hub eight days later. Originally finished in Carmen Red with Black leather and a Black hood, it was supplied new by Falvey Motors of Ferndale, Michigan to W.H. Mansfield. Migrating to the more car-friendly climate of California thereafter, the E-Type was repatriated by the vendor during late 2014 on the understanding that it was 'rust free' and comprised 'all factory sheetmetal, no cut out or replacement panels'. Said to be a 'nice driver' at the time, the two-seater was nonetheless entrusted to renowned marque specialist XK Engineering of Coventry with instructions that they restore the 'Flat Floor' Roadster to its former glory.
Stripped back to bare metal and re-profiled as necessary, the bodywork was then painstakingly resprayed in its original Carmen Red hue. The interior was retrimmed in Black and thus adhered to factory specification too. Attention was paid to the wiring, fuel system, exhaust, brakes, steering and suspension with numerous components being repainted as well as refurbished. The brightwork was renewed or re-plated and a brand new Black hood installed. Considerable time and effort was spent on ensuring that the opening panels (bonnet, boot, doors) fitted properly and sat well within their apertures. Rubber seals were replaced throughout and the wire wheels shod with fresh Avon tyres. In keeping with XK Engineering's ethos, the wood-rim steering wheel was refurbished rather than replaced because it was deemed to be the one with which the car had left Browns Lane!
Pleasingly retaining its original 'matching numbers' 3.8 litre straight-six engine, the E-Type was upgraded whilst Stateside with one of Jaguar's more user-friendly four-speed all-synchromesh gearboxes. Not long emerged from XK Engineering's workshops, chassis 876192 is worthy of close inspection and a testament to their craftsmanship.