The 29th Fixed Head Coupe E-Type built
1961 Jaguar E Type Fixed Head Coupe
Chassis no. 860029
Engine no. R 2705-9
It is now 50 years since the Jaguar E Type was introduced in 3.8-litre form in 1961, it caused a sensation when it appeared, with instantly classic lines and 150mph top speed. The newcomer's design owed much to that of the racing D-Type: a monocoque tub forming the main structure, while a tubular spaceframe extended forwards to support the engine. The latter was the same 3.8-litre, triple-carburettor 'S' unit first offered as an option on the preceding XK150. An optimistic 265bhp was claimed, but whatever the installed horsepower, the E-Type's performance did not disappoint; firstly, because it weighed around 500lb (227kg) less than the XK150 and secondly because aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer used experience gained with the D-Type to create one of the most elegant and efficient shapes ever to grace a motor car. Taller drivers though, could find the interior somewhat lacking in space, a criticism addressed by the introduction of foot wells (and other, more minor, modifications) early in 1962. But of all the versions of Jaguar's long-lived and much-loved sportscar, it is the very early 'flat floor' 3.8-litre cars built prior to February 1962 which, for many enthusiasts, remain the most desirable.
Dating from the first few weeks of production, this vehicle is one of the earliest surviving Jaguar E-Types (the chassis number sequence of right-hand drive coupes commenced at 860001). According to its Jaguar Heritage certificate recently applied for by Bonhams, 860029 was originally built on November 15, 1961, and was dispatched from the factory 9 days later. This same document confirms that it was originally distributed through Jaguar Cars of New York, despite being to right hand drive specification. Its color scheme was Opalescent Dark Blue with a light blue interior.
The car is not listed in any subsequent registries of the marque or model, but according to an old New York Registration by 1979 it was still in the same State in which it had been when new, and was by then the property of Bernard Kessler of Hyde Park, NY. It had clearly had a hard life by this point, was missing its original transmission and was in need of considerable restoration.
This work was begun, but owing to the poor health of its owner, still remains to be completed. Work carried out included a stock rebuild of the engine and fitting of a new stainless steel exhaust. A period correct Moss four speed box was sourced and fitted. The right side floor and some subframe parts were sourced from M. Robey, while the bodywork was stripped by the owner. It was subsequently refinished in a similar hue to its original of Jaguar Solent Blue, by Duane Nosworthy of Westchester Classics of Bronx, NY. An interior refurbishment kit was obtained from Bartlett of Indiana, but this for the most part remains to be fitted. In addition the original fuel pump has been rebuilt, as have the hydraulics, and the original fuel tank and painted wheels have been refurbished. A journal of receipts and details of the rebuild has been kept from day one and is offered with the car.
Rarely does the opportunity present itself to acquire one of the very first XKE cars, let alone an original U.S. supplied car. In its current order, with much of the work done it still provides the chance to enjoy the restoration of an important early car in this special anniversary year.
- Body number is V1239; and the car is titled as 1962