1965 Jaguar E-type Series 1 fixed head coupe, the latest in Jaguar’s “Reborn” program. Photo courtesy Jaguar Land Rover.
Following the successful launch of factory-restored Land Rover Series I and Range Rover models under Jaguar Land Rover Classic’s “Reborn” program, the division has selected its next model for rebirth – the Series 1 Jaguar E-type, built in fixed head coupe and roadster form from 1961-’68. The first Jaguar Classic Reborn E-type, a 1965 coupe powered by a 265-horsepower, 4.2-liter inline-six, will make its debut appearance at the Techno-Classica Show, taking place in Essen, Germany, from April 5-9.
The Jaguar E-type debuted at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show, and immediately captured the imagination of sports car enthusiasts the world over with its futuristic styling and impressive performance. Produced from 1961-’74 in a variety of series and models, the E-type has landed on too many “most beautiful automobile” lists to count. A significant endorsement of Malcolm Sayer’s design came in 1996, when the New York Museum of Modern Art added the E-type (specifically, a 1961 roadster) to its permanent collection. Even Enzo Ferrari reportedly called it “The most beautiful car ever made.”
In 1961, a Jaguar E-type roadster carried a sticker price of $5,695, at a time when a Ferrari 250 GT California Spider sold for $13,600 and a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster sold for $10,950. While priced higher than a Chevrolet Corvette ($3,934) or a Porsche 356B Super Cabriolet ($4,470), the Jaguar remained in the realm of the attainable for many buyers. Perhaps that added to the car’s lasting appeal, and today the E-type remains highly desirable among collectors and marque enthusiasts. Early “flat floor” Series I models have climbed in price in recent years, and at the recent RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale, an “exceptionally restored” 1961 3.8-liter roadster sold for a fee-inclusive price of $412,500. More common topless examples, or those with older restorations, routinely sell in the $135,000 to $200,000 range, with coupes priced slightly lower.
For Jaguar, then, offering factory reconditioned cars makes good sense. Starting with 3.8-liter and 4.2-liter donor cars sourced by the brand’s model experts, each is restored to the specifications called out by model year, retaining as much of the original car as possible. Safety-related parts are replaced with new components from the Jaguar Classic inventory, and any body panels needed are also picked from the division’s stores and spot-welded in exactly the same manner as an original part. Customers ordering a Series 1 E-type Reborn can choose from select upgrades as well, including high-capacity cooling borrowed from the racing-spec Lightweight E-type; an all-synchromesh transmission for vehicles not originally equipped; and three-piston front brake calipers with larger pads (as used on Series II models) to replace the original two-piston calipers.
Ten examples will be constructed in the first batch, and it isn’t clear if the mix will include both coupes and roadsters, or be limited to fixed-head coupe models only (we’ve asked Jaguar for clarification, and are awaiting a response). Pricing, before options, starts at £285,000 (about $355,000 based upon current exchange rates), which is roughly what it would cost to buy and restore an early example to concours condition.
The difference, perhaps, is that those lucky enough to procure an E-type Reborn can claim the utmost in heritage; in the words of Jaguar Land Rover Classic director Tim Hannig, “The resources and information available to Jaguar Classic’s expert technicians are unrivaled, which results in the most authentic E-type restorations possible.”
For additional information on the E-type Reborn, or to check with a specialist on availability, visit Jaguar.com.