The Series I 4.2 liter Jaguar XKE is widely regarded as the most desirable and enjoyable of all E-Types. The larger engine made no more horsepower, but the extra 454cc displacement had an outsized effect on torque and drivability. The 4.2 also incorporated a number of significant changes to enhance the engine’s smoothness and durability. The gearbox was also changed to a modern all synchromesh unit with pressure lubrication and a stronger clutch with lighter action. The 4.2-liter XKEs were also vastly improved on the inside as well with much better leather seats and a new padded center console with a storage compartment and armrest. Other subtle changes continued throughout the Series I 4.2, but the sleek exterior, including the headlight covers, continued without change.
Good 4.2 Roadsters are now highly collectible, and this 1967 example, chassis 1E4119, is simply fantastic. It is finished in red with a biscuit leather interior and black cloth convertible top, and has triple plated show chrome wire wheels and Dunlop blackwall tires. It has its original engine block and head, new Koni shocks, stainless steel brake lines and correct Blaupunkt radio. It is overall a gorgeous and fresh restoration, but what really sets this car apart is the story behind just how fresh it really is.
In 1974, it was a clean California car with 60,000 miles when it was sold to a Chicago, Illinois collector. After one subsequent owner it was bought by Lee O'Donnell in 1981 who commenced the restoration that the sharp, clean, low mileage California XKE deserved. He had the entire drivetrain rebuilt by renowned Jaguar specialists Donovan Motors in Lenox, Massachusetts. The interior was fully redone, and the body and chassis were brought to stunning, top-notch condition without consideration for cost.
But it was never driven.
After the extensive restoration was completed, O’Donnell put the car into climate controlled storage and had the foresight to prepare it for a long-term stay. He never ended up even starting it. No coolant was put into the engine and both the carburetor air intake and exhaust were plugged to keep air out. The convertible top has never been down. The car comes with full documentation covering the extensive work done during the restoration, even including start up and break-in instructions from Donovan Motors, the engine builder.
The drivetrain has since been properly attended to by Jaguar technicians and started up according to Donovan's directions. Mileage is minimal, however, and it still has to be broken in according to Donovan's instructions. With restorations that are a few years old it is often easy to notice their age, but this car looks like it was finished yesterday, a testament both to the extremely high quality of workmanship that has gone into it and to its total lack of use since completion. It is a completely fresh and recently serviced restored 4.2 XKE Roadster in concours condition, a top shelf collectible sports car that leaves nothing to be desired.
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