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Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance, Houston, 2016 (Best of Class)
Jaguar’s first departure from the proven XK Series introduced the world to the iconic body lines of the new E-Type, a car that would immediately be added to the pantheon of great European sports cars.
Designed by legendary aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, the car took inspiration from the E2A race car – a prototype that posted the fastest practice lap at the 1960 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The production E-Type would deliver on that promised performance with an advertised 0–60 mph time of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 150 mph.
Met with overwhelming enthusiasm at its March 1961 premiere, the E-Type’s initial production would continue until 1967, incorporating only detail changes that delineate the rarest and most desirable of the initial examples. These early characteristics included exterior bonnet-latch mechanisms operated by a T-key, as well as flat cockpit floors indicative of the first 500 E-Types produced. For the first few months of production, the bodywork utilized a welded-in panel of hood louvers, unlike later cars that were directly stamped into the sheet metal.
Numerous other well-documented changes appeared during the production run, nearly all of which were introduced after roadster chassis 875300. For many enthusiasts, the early editions represent the purest vision of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons’ revolutionary sports car.
The car offered here, chassis 875157, is reportedly the 157th export roadster produced. According to a copy of its Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate, it was completed on June 30, 1961, and sold new to F.P. Thorson by Jaguar Cars of New York City on September 22, 1961. This car appears to have spent much of its life between two collectors in California before being restored by marque specialist Classic Showcase Inc. of Oceanside, California.
The restoration utilized NOS parts wherever possible, and all the work was photographed and documented. A restored hardtop and a correctly fitted soft top were included, and proper Dunlop tires were mounted on highly polished wire wheels. For improved driveability, a five-speed synchromesh gearbox was fitted, and the original gearbox is included. Show-quality accessories such as a tool roll, an original owner’s manual, and a period-correct bottle jack complete the concours presentation.
Kept in exemplary condition, the car appeared at the prestigious Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance in 2016, where it won Best of Class. Visually striking in lustrous black with red interior and showing low mileage since its restoration, this gorgeous outside-latch example captures the elegance and excitement that make the Jaguar E-Type Roadster one of the world’s most beautiful cars.