The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
10/25/17 11:23 a.m.


Story By Michael Marter • Photos Courtesy Jaguar

There’s no modern parallel for the fervor created when Jaguar introduced the E-Type at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show. A sophisticated, achingly beautiful two-seater with Ferrari-like performance at an affordable price, the E-Type soon became an A-list fashion accessory the world over. Journalist Henry N. Manny III declared it “the greatest crumpet catcher known to man,” and he wasn’t talking about griddle cakes.

An E-Type is orders of magnitude more complex than “lesser” British contemporaries, and commensurately more difficult and expensive to repair and maintain. Buying the right car and avoiding the wrong one can save tens of thousands in unpleasant surprises. Hundreds of E-Types have passed through our XKS Motorsport service and restoration facility; some were gems, but many had suffered at the hands of incompetent restorers or simply the ravages of time.

Virtually no E-Type has avoided accident damage or at least some rust, no matter what the seller might insist. (Funny how a 40-year-old who’s owned a 50-year-old car for two years can know its complete history!) Purchase prices now fully justify a pre-purchase inspection by an expert.

Body condition is, by far, the most important consideration when buying an E-Type, as it’s the most difficult and expensive aspect to properly repair. Inspect a potential purchase as you would any 43 to 55 year old car, looking for poor panel fit, filler, overspray or rust bubbles as tip-offs on deeper problems.

With the car on a hoist, thoroughly inspect the complete underside, paying particular attention to the rear trailing arm mounts. If they are rusted through (many are), new floors are in your future. While bolt-on items, the front subframes are susceptible to rust and accident damage. Wrinkles around the control arm pickup points indicate a past front end shunt. If possible, remove the spare wheel and poke around the boot floor; water can collect here with predictable results.

Finally, run your fingers along the vinyl covering the inner sills where they meet the door latch pillar. Wrinkles here indicate a hard rear end hit.

Few shops in the U.S. have the experience, knowledge or special jigs required to make major repairs to an E-Type body shell, which is a complex assembly of small panels. As a monocoque structure, it’s strong as a unit but weakened when elements are removed. If not properly supported during repairs, the shell can easily fall out of alignment. (We once made remedial repairs to a roadster with newly replaced sills. Because jigs weren’t used to maintain alignment, the car “folded” and the doors wouldn’t close.) If you’re contemplating a car in need of rust repair, definitely have your intended restoration shop inspect the car prior to purchase.

The shop you choose to work with should only be one with years of E-Type experience. Do not pay someone to learn on your car. Shameless plug: XKS Motorsport is one of those few shops fully versed in and equipped for E-Type body repair–and every other facet of E-Type repair and restoration, for that matter.

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frenchyd
frenchyd HalfDork
10/25/17 3:47 p.m.

In reply to The Staff of Motorsport Marketing :with the cost of a Jaguar XKE out of the reach of your average subscriber , I think you should look for affordable alternatives.  

For example I have a few fiberglass molds for a XKE roadster.  It wouldn't be that hard to come up with bits and pieces to make it work like one.  Maybe not a street car with all the whistles and bells  but a vintage looking race car.  

Either use a six cylinder 4 liter Jaguar engine. Or the GM derivative the 4.2 

the hard part would be the suspension  since it's so narrow.  

 

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
10/27/17 12:37 p.m.

That was a nice canoe ride.laugh

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
11/4/17 11:59 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

An XKE might be out of most of our price ranges, but decent MkII and 3.4 or 3.8S are more affordable and provide plenty of Jag style and performance.

frenchyd
frenchyd HalfDork
11/4/17 2:32 p.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

You are absolutely correct but why stop there?  XJ6 or 12,  XJS are also in that modest price range.    While offering grace, space, and pace.  

Ok  I stole that from a Jaguar advertisement

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