1961 Jaguar E-Type Series I Roadster 'Flat Floor'
The early Series I E-Type Jaguar is not just the most beautiful car on earth but it represents the genesis of the monocoque sportscar as well as heart-stopping lines and a profile that was owned by the rich and famous and desired by everyone else.
Whilst the preceding D-Type possessed a similar layout, the E-Type offered luggage space, easier ingress and egress using wider doors combined with a super-flexible six-cylinder, 3.8 litre engine that could burble along at 10mph in top gear or leap quickly up to its top speed of 150mph with a light depression of the throttle. The car itself was also lighter than the preceding XK, by over 500lbs no less and this, when combined with one of the most efficient shapes ever penned, even by today’s standards, could not help but receive a standing ovation when unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961. Malcolm Sayer’s ravishing composition aside, the front suspension was similar to the XK150's wishbones and torsion bars but the rear was revolutionary. Comprising transverse lower links and fixed-length driveshafts, its wheels were suspended on coil spring-shock absorber units, two to a side. The differential was mounted to a steel cross-member and hosted inboard disc brakes. Anti-roll bars were installed front and rear.
The comparative rarity of these early ‘flat floor’ cars, 2,615 made in total, makes them especially appealing to collectors today. This particular example, chassis number 875842, which makes it the 842nd roadster made with a lefthand drive configuration. Back in 1962, the boys at Browns Lane couldn’t press louvres into the bonnet as a whole unit so, it is thought, holes were cut into the bonnet and the louvres were spot welded in from the changing room lockers. Later pressed louvres were made specifically and welded in before louvres were able to be pressed in the entire panel. These are clear indicators of an early car.
Originally painted, as per the JDHT Certificate, in opalescent bronze with a red interior and black hood. Later, the following month, it was shipped to the US territory of Puerto Rico where it was sold to its first owner via the Rio Pedras Motor Corporation. Sadly, nothing is known of its subsequent history. The story of this car picks up only very recently when it was discovered by a gentleman in Germany, returned to the UK and registered as 615 XVD in November 2018. It was then sold to its current owner and became part of his extensive, and very exclusive, private collection. Appearing to be in remarkably sound condition throughout, it has lost its original engine at some point (R2263-9) but the unit currently fitted (RA2486-9) is a correct 3.8 litre, E-Type engine dating from June 1963 and, importantly, with the correct compression ratio for this build date.
This represents a rare opportunity not only to acquire a ‘Flat Floor’ roadster, a rolling and running restoration, but also offered, miraculously, without reserve.
If it were me, I would use it just as it is!
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