A rare E-Type Jaguar which was left rusting in a barn for 40 years has been restored to perfect condition and is now worth 200,000 pounds ($250,000).
The owner had abandoned the classic sixties sports car since 1979 and had given up hope of getting it back on the road. A classic car restoration company, E-Type UK, inspected the fixed-head coupe and was excited to discover its original chassis, gearbox and engine numbers all matched. The firm’s founder Marcus Holland knew the potential value of the right-hand-drive models, which were rare as most were manufactured for the left-hand drive US market.
He offered the owner £50,000 ($62,000) for the crumbling 1964 series 1 classic, which had been left to rot in an East Sussex, U.K., barn. Enzo Ferrari once described the Jaguar E-Type as “the most beautiful car in the world”, and its iconic smooth edges continue to stretch prices skywards on today’s best-restored examples.
Marcus’ team set about an ambitious 18-month project to restore the car’s glory, adding modern upgrades and few classy touches for the new buyer. Marcus said, “a restoration like this is a real challenge for our team. Forty years of inactivity takes an enormous toll on every single part of a vehicle.”
At first glance, the car’s condition appeared reasonable, but extensive sandblasting and a three-day strip-down revealed the cost of the neglect. Previous cheap repairs and British dampness had rusted many areas of the floor and the inner and outer sills beyond repair. Engineers replaced them completely and spent many months repairing the body shell to reveal the car’s perfect lines.
It was finally re-finished in its original opalescent silver blue paintwork and the interior retrimmed in oxblood red leather along with fresh chromework and headlight surrounds. The team then turned to the 3.8-liter engine, gearbox, suspension and brakes – rebuilding them all to ‘fast road’ specification.
A new five-speed gearbox means the car is now refined for cruising and a new stainless-steel sports exhaust, aluminum radiator and header tank enhance the car’s cooling ability. On testing, the car exceeded 230 horsepower, marginally less than when first made almost six decades earlier.
Marcus added: “Everything about the running of the car has been upgraded. It drives really well and pulls like an absolute train. The five-speed gearbox makes it more enjoyable on long modern drives and means you can do some proper miles. If looked after properly you can expect it to last a whole new lifespan.”
The team kept the original gearbox so the car can still be classed as a “matching numbers” original, enhancing its later sale value. Marcus added: “It means you can make the car more reliable and increase its performance but it is still classed as a matching numbers car.”
The car’s original owner, from Herstmonceux, East Sussex, had not treated it as a heritage piece, but drove it regularly and had even attached a tow bar to pull a dinghy. He went to see the finished product. Marcus said, “he was heavily impressed with the result. It was in a better condition than he would have ever seen in it originally.”
ROTTING JAGUAR SPORTS CAR DUG OUT OF GARDEN AFTER 30 YEARS RESTORED AND WORTH A SMALL FORTUNE
The new owner is a Jaguar E-Type enthusiast, who already owns a convertible model, and plans to drive his latest acquisition in European car rallies, as well as between his homes in West Sussex and London. Marcus, based in Hadlow, Kent, said, “there are two types of buyers. Investors who keep them in specially-made garages, only driving them in dry conditions and those who go shopping in them.
“The owner of this one won’t quite be using it for trips to Sainsbury’s, but definitely won’t be kept in storage either. He has spent enough money restoring it and now wants to see what it can do. He was very pleased that the vision was accomplished.”
Marcus said he was “honored” to deliver his client’s dream in November 2019 after starting restoration in May 2017. He was also delighted to keep a piece of British motoring history on the road “for many years to come.”
When launched in 1961 the E-Type cost just 2,450 pounds ($3,000) and was one of the fastest cars in the world, reportedly hitting 150 mph on the M1 with a test driver at the wheel.
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