Beautiful older restoration in British Racing Green with tan leather and top. Chrome wire wheels, excellent paint and interior, but not a trailer queen. $10,000 in receipts for recent service.
This 1963 E-Type roadster is an early Series I car, not early enough to have a flat floor or exterior hood latches, but pretty early. It was comprehensively restored perhaps 10 or 12 years ago and collected some trophies, then hit the road, which is really what you should do with your thoroughbred. The handsome British Racing Green finish is really the best choice on these cars and it has the right mix of yellow in it, not a pure green but kind of an olive green that was how it was done originally. Bodywork is outstanding, with laser-straight panels and extremely good gaps, all of which suggest the underlying structure is in excellent order. The doors open and close easily, and with their featherweight design, feel almost delicate. The hood swings forward on well-oiled hinges, and the trunk lid (boot lid?) sits flush with the surrounding sheetmetal. Paint is deep and glossy with surprisingly few signs of use and the chrome is brilliantly restored with no notable demerits.
The biscuit leather interior is the right choice with the BRG paint, a handsome and completely British contrast that is skillfully done. The leather is aromatic and beautifully fitted, and aside from one or two scuffs on the heel pad of the carpets and some “comfort marks” on the driver’s seat cushion, it shows almost no wear. The Smiths gauges are as lovely here as in any British sports car, and they all work except the temperature gauge. The textured aluminum center console is correct and frames the stubby 4-speed shifter, which itself is wrapped in more tan leather. There is no radio, although all Jaguars came with provisions for a dealer-installed unit and one could surely be added here. Seat belts with Jaguar logos on the latches were added and look proper in the roadster’s interior, and there’s a bit of storage space behind the seats that’s likewise fitted with plush wool carpets. Overhead you’ll find a snug-fitting tan canvas top with a crystal clear rear window, but it’s really only for emergencies, and the matching tan boot gives it a dashing look with the top down. The trunk is good for one or two small bags, but also includes a matching wire wheel and spare tire and a sisal mat up top.
Mechanically, the E-Type’s 3.8 liter DOHC inline-six was well-established in 1963, and as a result, it’s reliable and powerful. A properly sorted E-Type like this can be driven with confidence and we’ve found that it’s a reliable runner, always starting easily and idling well with a little choke, even when it’s cold. The block is not this car’s original block, but it is a correct E-Type unit, serial number RA5755-9, which dates from between March 1963 and early 1964 when 4.2-liter production started. Interestingly, it does carry its original cylinder head, serial number R61767-9, as indicated on the number plate in the engine bay. It was fully rebuilt at the time of restoration and still runs superbly, with good oil pressure and a burly six-cylinder soundtrack through a fresh polished stainless steel exhaust system. More recently, it has been fitted with an upgraded aluminum radiator from Welsh Enterprises, as well as a big electric fan up front to assist the laughably delicate 2-blade original unit.
The 4-speed manual transmission shifts cleanly and smoothly and clutch take-up is light and progressive. The brakes are firm and confidence-inspiring, and as I mentioned, the exhaust system is recent. The undercarriage shows signs of having been driven, because this car was restored for the road, not the back of a trailer, but everything appears to be in good order. The suspension is that ideal combination of supple and competent that only Jaguar seems to have mastered, and with 185HR15 Dunlop radials, it has just the right period look with the confidence of modern tire technology.
This is an eminently usable car, something you can drive to work every day if you choose to do so, and always ready for a quick early morning sprint down your favorite country road. The Jaguar E-Type lives in a class of one.
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