Jaguar’s revolutionary E-Type set the automotive world on fire when it debuted at the Geneva Auto Salon in 1961. Not only was the car clothed in a stunning body, but it featured cutting-edge technology reserved for the world’s most exclusive sports cars. The E-Type shared much of its specification with the world-beating D-Type, including a twin-overhead cam inline six, four-wheel disc brakes and four-wheel independent suspension with torsion bars up front and coil-over shocks in the rear. The car was an overnight sensation, with the most remarkable piece of the E-Type package was the price. Despite the exotic construction, race-derived suspension and 265 horsepower 3.8-liter inline six, the E-Type cost just $5,620 when new, when a similar Aston Martin DB4 was over $11,000. The E-Type was indeed in a class of its own.
When introduced, customers could choose between the Open Two Seat Roadster, and the svelte Fixed Head Coupe. Both options allowed seating for two, with the coupe having a generous luggage space through the unique side-hinged rear hatch. However, in 1966, following the introduction of the 4.2-liter model, Jaguar felt they could appeal to a broader audience with a more practical version of the E-Type. Engineers stretched the tub and added nine inches to the wheelbase while also reshaping the roofline to accommodate a pair of occasional rear seats. The doors were lengthened, and the luggage compartment enlarged. With the additional space, Jaguar could now fit an automatic transmission, which seemed to suit the character of the 2+2 as a “family sports car.” The 2+2 proved to be a less popular option, though the body style soldiered on into Series 2 and Series 3 configuration. With its desirable covered headlamps, S.U. carburetors and purer form, the Series 1 2+2 is the most desirable of the three, though it is also the rarest. Of more than 22,000 Series 1 4.2 E-Types produced, just 5,598 left the Coventry works in 2+2 specification.
This exceptional 1967 E-Type is arguably one of the finest restored first series 2+2s extant. This remarkable automobile has been treated to a ground-up, nut-and-bolt restoration performed by a noted Jaguar collector and enthusiast who has no fewer than five JCNA National Championship restorations under his belt. This example is one of just a handful of Series 1 2+2s to be equipped from new with the Borg-Warner automatic transmission, as indicated by the “BW” suffix on the serial number. A host of sensible upgrades improve the driving experience, without sacrificing the factory-correct appearance.
According to the Jaguar Heritage Certificate, this US-specification car was delivered new in May 1966, with the first owner listed as Winifred H. Hahn. The current owner acquired the car in original condition over 30 years ago, and he has since transformed it into one of the finest examples of the 2+2 in the country. Fresh from a meticulous restoration, it is now finished in a striking color combination of black over red leather. In the process, the body was stripped down to a bare shell, and any corrosion corrected with high-quality, factory-correct panels. Bodywork is absolutely straight and crisp, with excellent fit and alignment of the doors, bonnet, and hatch. The black paintwork is impeccable, highlighted by freshly restored chrome trim and fittings. It rides on gorgeous chrome wire wheels, shod with period-look 185-15 redline radial tires. Over the course of the project, every screw, washer, and piece of hardware has been painstakingly restored to show-quality standards, and the results are outstanding.
The interior was fully retrimmed in beautiful red Connolly leather, Wilton wool carpet, and factory correct vinyl materials. As with the body, the standard of quality and attention to detail are remarkable. Seat upholstery is taut and fresh, as the car has seen only a handful of shakedown miles since the project was completed. Prior to trimming, the interior was fully lined with KoolMat insulation for additional sound and heat protection. Original instruments are restored, including the clock which now features reliable quartz movement. A fully restored jack and toolkit are in heavy-grain Hardura vinyl pouches as original. Subtle upgrades include Classic Auto Air under-dash air conditioning unit and the original radio which has been internally converted to modern electronics by Aurora Design.
From the engine to the rear axle, the entire driveline was meticulously rebuilt. The original, numbers-matching 4.2-liter inline-six is bored over by .010 and updated with a tappet guide hold down kit, lip-seal conversion for the rear main, high-performance oil pump, and remote spin-on oil filter. Additional improvements include Pertronix electronic ignition, high output GM alternator, and a high-efficiency aluminum radiator. The presentation is exquisite, with highly polished cam covers and carburetor bodies, as well as correct finishes, hardware, decals and labels used throughout the engine bay. The transmission and differential were also entirely rebuilt and detailed before fitting, while the rear cage features remote rear brake bleeders. An adjustable torsion bar reaction plate allows for quick adjustment of the ride height, paired with a set of high-performance Spax adjustable dampers at each corner.
The result of all of this effort is one of the most beautiful, best performing examples of Jaguar’s “family sports car” we have ever encountered. While it is a lesser-known model in Jaguar history, this rare early 2+2 is a highly capable and comfortable Grand Touring car. This example’s fabulous presentation and useful upgrades make it equally suited for JCNA Concours events or for enjoyment on the road, where the added comfort and ability can be fully appreciated.