As the revolutionary XK series reached the end of its development, Jaguar engineers, led by company founder Sir William Lyons, relied again on the proven template of combining exotic looks and race-proven technology in a surprisingly affordable package. Lyons and his chief aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer worked together to design the new car, drawing inspiration from the Le Mans-winning D-Type which employed a semi-monocoque tub with bolt-on front sub-frames to support the engine and independent front suspension. The E-Type also featured the ingenious modular independent rear suspension with inboard brakes, pioneered on the Mk10 saloon. The E-type also boasted such exotic tech as four-wheel disc brakes, torsion bar front suspension, and a 3.8-liter version of the XK's twin-cam inline-six pumping out an impressive 265 horsepower; numbers one would expect from a car costing twice as much.
Co-designer Malcolm Sayer had no interest in designing a car based purely on aesthetics; instead, he was far more interested in aerodynamics and allowing his interpretations of airflow guide the shape. The E-Type followed a natural progression from the path set by the D-Type racing car, with evocative curves and a purposeful, aggressive stance. Upon debut at the 1961 Geneva Auto Salon, it was met with near-universal acclaim, and legend has it that even Enzo Ferrari declared it the most beautiful car in the world. Today, the E-Type is still regarded as one of the most significant pieces of industrial design of the twentieth century, regularly topping "most beautiful car ever" lists. Today's collectors still cherish the E-Type, and despite being built in relatively large numbers compared to its competitors, the car is a cornerstone of the car collecting hobby.
Our featured E-Type is a gorgeous 3.8-liter Fixed Head Coupe from 1963, recently restored in the original shade of Opalescent Gunmetal. The accompanying Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate shows this car left the Coventry works on the 22nd of August, 1963. The first owner is listed as J.R. Lazarus, and it appears he collected his new Jaguar at the factory, as a UK registration number was issued in Coventry before entering the United States via Jaguar Cars North America. More recently, the car belonged to an enthusiast on the East Coast, who commissioned a complete restoration beginning in 2015. The mechanical restoration is well-documented, and the work included a suspension and brake system overhaul, engine service, and detail.
After the mechanical work, this car received a cosmetic restoration including new paintwork and a striking red leather interior which was completed in 2019. It presents in superb condition, with the Opalescent Gunmetal paintwork ideally suited to the curvaceous shape of the fixed-head coupe. The paint quality is excellent, with beautiful straight reflections and consistent panel gaps. Bumpers and exterior trim are in excellent condition as well, with high-quality plating. Rolling stock consists of chrome knock-off wire wheels fitted with fresh, period-look Blockley radial tires.
Complementing the dark gray paintwork is a stunning red leather interior, freshly restored using materials supplied by the marque specialists OSJI. Seats, carpets, and interior panels are all new and trimmed using factory-correct materials. The details are well-researched and concours-correct, including the proper leather-trimmed center console and vinyl central instrument panel, which Jaguar added in July of 1963 after customer complaints about glare from the bright alloy trim used on earlier cars. Records show the original instruments were restored, and the factory switchgear remains in good condition. Finishing touches include a factory Smiths Radiomobile radio and a beautiful, original-type three-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel.
During the restoration, the original, numbers-matching engine was removed, inspected, and completely resealed. With the head off, the cylinders were examined and found to be in good order. The cylinder head received a full rebuild with align-bored cam journals, new exhaust valves, springs, and cam bearings. Various mounts and ancillaries have been replaced as needed with the purpose of making the car usable and enjoyable on the road. Cooling is vastly improved via the large aluminum radiator and the integrated electric cooling fan. Upon reinstallation, the engine received new exhaust manifolds, correct brass nuts, and polished cam covers and carburetor bodies. Finally, a stainless steel exhaust system ensures long-term durability with a rich and addictive exhaust note.
For many enthusiasts, the 3.8-liter E-Type represents the best of the breed, with its unfiltered character and free-revving engine providing an unforgettable driving experience. The weather-tight cabin and ample luggage compartment make the fixed-head an ideal choice for touring. This example is thoughtfully prepared for road use, yet has strong cosmetics that make it well-suited for participation in JCNA shows and regional concours. With its gorgeous presentation and striking color combination, this striking E-Type coupe will surely reward its next keeper for years to come.
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