1968 Jaguar XKE Series 1.5 Roadster

Jaguar’s revolutionary E-Type first appeared to a stunned public at the 1961 Geneva Auto Salon. Jaguar boss Sir William Lyons and his chief aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer paired up to design the new sports car, meant to replace the ageing XK150. The new car employed a semi-monocoque tub that utilized ingenious bolt-on front subframes to support the engine and independent front suspension. The rear was handled by the now ubiquitous modular independent rear suspension, pioneered on the Mk10. The E-type boasted four wheel disc brakes, torsion bar front suspension, and initially a 3.8 liter version of the XK’s twin-cam inline six. This high tech chassis was wrapped in a gorgeous body that was quite unlike anything that had been seen before. Beautiful, curvaceous and with just the right amount of aggression, the E-Type was a smashing success from day one. Amazingly, co-designer Malcolm Sayer had no interest in making the car beautiful. He was more interested in aerodynamics and applying his theories toward a functional design. Ironically, the E-Type was not terribly aerodynamically efficient, but it was achingly beautiful. In 1965, Jaguar performed some updates to make the E-Type an even better performer than ever before. The engine was updated to 4.2 liters and 265 horsepower. The new engine was more powerful and gave a generous dollop of torque at the low end. To cope with the extra power, the early Moss gearbox was replaced with a fully synchronized 4-speeder that was monumentally easier to operate. Braking was also improved with the addition of a new servo to add extra shove to the 4-wheel discs. The resulting E-Type Series 1 4.2 could hang with a contemporary Ferrari or Aston Martin at a fraction of the price of more exotic machines. Long considered one of the most beautiful production cars of all time and with the performance to back it up, the E-Type is a perennial favorite among collectors and drivers alike.

In mid-1967, to suit American regulations, Jaguar was forced to tweak the styling of the E-type for its first major facelift since being introduced in 1961. Gone were the glass headlamp covers, and the car began to evolve into the Series 2, with its open headlamps, larger tail lamps and other mechanical, styling safety-regulated changes. But the transition was gradual, and the interim cars built in late 1967 to early 1968 became known as the “series 1.5”. These cars were a varying mix of series 1 and series 2 parts. All had exposed headlamps but with the smaller high-mount tail lights of the series 1. Engines and interiors varied car by car, depending on when they were built. This 1968 model is a very straight and solid one-owner example out of Washington State. It is a late production series 1.5, as evident by the rocker switch-equipped dash and twin carburetor 4.2 liter engine. The OTS roadster body is highly desirable and it is equipped with a four-speed manual gearbox, wire wheels and a period luggage rack. It is presented in unrestored original condition and it could either be freshened up and used as-is, or it would serve as a great basis for an easy restoration. Complete, very solid and with only minor corrosion, this is a rare opportunity to acquire a single owner E-type of any generation. One-owner E-Types are scarce and with the values of Series 1 and Series 2 cars skyrocketing, this 1.5 represents excellent value in today’s market and would make a fine choice to preserve or restore to suit your needs.

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