The Jaguar E-Type was launched at the 1961 Geneva motor show and had a production run that lasted 12 years finally ending in 1973. The Jaguar E-Type regularly and consistently appears in polls to rate the most beautiful cars ever, very often topping the list and at least appearing in the top ten.
The initial offering was a fantastic 265bhp, 150mph performance with acceleration to go with it and 18mpg average fuel consumption, all from a fully equipped touring/sports car. This kind of performance is impressive for cars built today and was a remarkable feat at the time as no other manufacturer had achieved these performance figures in its day. The initial form at its launch in 1961 was a 3.8 litre series one E Type, a 4.2 litre series two Jaguar E-Type in 1968 and in the end as a 5.3 V12 series three XKE the Jaguar E-type was a benchmark for the car industry throughout its production run.
If you’re looking to buy a Jaguar E-Type then you basically have two options, either a restored or un-restored example.
When buying a Jaguar E-Type for restoration in theory this should be the easier route as you are looking for a car that you know needs work and expect you are going to see areas of the car that are quite frankly a mess. Also it can be quite difficult for the seller to describe an inaccurate picture of the work required. It is usual to be advised to find the worst car you can find to start with and use this as a comparison when looking at other potential Jaguar E-Types for restoration. If you’re lucky and live in a warmer climate you may find your potential project car in good condition however in general the bodywork will be in a poor condition and require full restoration, the main selling point is that the car is complete (look out for a car in boxes – I guarantee that parts will be missing).
Other points that you need to be aware of are the conversion of Jaguar E-Type hard top coupes to roadsters (convertibles), this will significantly affect the value and also the road safety of the vehicle. Also be aware of matching numbers for the engine, gearbox and chassis – by this I mean the car is coming with the engine and gearbox originally supplied.
When buying a restored Jaguar E-Type you must do your homework on the potential cars you are looking to buy. A Jaguar E-Type with plenty of history is a good starting point but even then it helps to be of the mindset that the car could have problems. Any restoration by a reputable firm should have a photographic account of the work undertaken, don’t just rely on receipts for large sums of money for work apparently undertaken. Look for a car that is used on a regular basis as a Jaguar E-Type was designed to be driven and a car that sits around can soon start to reverse any restoration work undertaken. If possible take someone with you with experience of buying a Jaguar E-Type and someone with mechanical knowledge. It also makes sense to look at more than one car – don’t buy the first Jaguar E-Type you look at!
I hope you will find this guide useful for buying a Jaguar E-Type, it truly is an iconic car and a good example will give you a fantastic driving experience like no other classic car could.