Single family ownership since 1963; 32,000 miles from new 1961 Jaguar E-Type 3.8-Litre Series 1 'Flat Floor' Roadster Registration no. KJH 20 Chassis no. 850038 Engine no. R1187-9
Introduced in 3.8-litre form in 1961, the Jaguar E-Type caused a sensation when it appeared, with instantly classic lines and 150mph top speed. 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 sports car, 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 right-hand drive Jaguar E-Type roadsters (the chassis number sequence commenced at '850001'). Many of these very early cars were sent by the factory to Jaguar dealers for use as demonstrators, and chassis number '850038' (the 38th right-hand-drive roadster) was despatched to Appleyard's in Leeds. The accompanying JDHT certificate states that the E-Type was manufactured in June 1961 and records the first owner as 'Jaguar Distributors Demo car'.
In the present ownership for some 50 years, it was purchased from a client of the family's Newcastle-upon-Tyne garage business, a Mr Straughan, who in the summer of 1961 had asked them to find him one of the new E-Type sports cars. They purchased Appleyard's demonstrator for him and Mr Straughan kept the car for 18 months before deciding that he would prefer a Jaguar Mk2 saloon. His E-Type was taken in part exchange. The keys to 'KJH 20' dropped through the vendor's letterbox on the morning of 25th December 1963, making that year's one of the most memorable of Christmases. Shortly after, during the Big Freeze of 1963/64. The vendor recalls the car's engine block was sadly damaged and was replaced. It should be noted that the Swansea V5 registration document records only the vendor and his father as owners, Mr Straughan's details having been omitted.
During the winter of 1963/64, the engine coolant froze and cracked the block, which was then replaced with correct 3.8-litre unit. For the next 10-15 years the E-Type was kept securely garaged and only driven occasionally on dry weekends by the vendor's father, plus annual trips to Scotland for salmon fishing. After the vendor's father's death in the 1980s, the E-Type remained in storage, unused, until 2004.
The car had been stored with the detachable hardtop in place, and when the vendor decided to refit the original soft top, the latter was found to have deteriorated. Stan Swan of The Trim Centre, Nuneaton, a Jaguar interior specialist, was entrusted with the production of a new hood and, later, a full interior re-trim. Stan had worked in Jaguar's Experimental Department at Browns Lane for 20 years until he started his own business, and recognised 'KJH 20' as one of the batch of 60-or-so early cars earmarked for despatch to Jaguar dealers. He revealed that these early models' interior panels were all hand made and had the maker's name and numbers on the backs of them.
Recognising that his E-Type was of greater historical significance than previously supposed, the vendor decided to embark on a total rebuild. The entire car was dismantled and, although in good condition, the body was sent to Jaguar specialist Alan Proctor of Worksop for a bare metal strip-down, minor repairs and a repaint in original opalescent blue. One of the final tasks undertaken was a strip-down and check over of the engine, which having only some 32,000 miles on its bores required relatively little work. The latter was undertaken by Beamish Morgan Ltd of County Durham whose bill plus those relating to other aspects of the restoration is on file. The mechanical work was carried out in the workshops of the vendor's motor dealership. A photographic record is available and the car also comes with its original hard top, handbook, competition tuning manual, maintenance chart, maintenance vouchers, service manual, spare parts catalogue, jack and hammer (in bag), hood bag and cover, tool kit and car cover. The vendor's detailed account of its history is there too (perusal recommended).
Its restoration only recently completed, this exceptional early 'flat floor' roadster is offered with tax, MoT and Swansea V5, and wants for nothing but a new owner.