1965 Jaguar E-Type

E-Type

About the Jaguar E-Type

The Jaguar E-Type is probably the most iconic sportscar of the 60s.   It is one of the few cars that even non car peope can recognize.   Introduced in 1961, the E-Type delivered performance to the masses.   At a fraction of the price of a Ferrari, Aston Martin or Mercedes-Benz, the E-Type allowed everyday people to enjoy supercar like (for 1961!) performance and handing.

Designed primarily by Malcom Sayer, who had previously worked in the aerospace industry, the E-Types innovative construction kept it both light and strong.   It also introduced the Jaguar independent rear suspension, including inboard disc brakes.   It was offered originally in a Fixed Head Coupe (FHC) and an Open Tourer (OTS).

The first iteration of the E-Type was the Series 1, equipped with a 3.8 liter XK engine.   The Series 1 3.8 is the most ‘raw’ of the E-types and Jaguar introduced improvements throughout in response to customer feedback.   Some of these very early cars that had flat floors, exterior bonnet locks and the like are now highly valued by collectors.   Rated at an optimistic 265hp and 150mph top speed, the production E-Types wouldn’t hit either of those figures, but still provided outstanding performance for their time.

In 1965, the Series 1 was updated to the 4.2 liter version of the XK engine, which added useful midrange torque.   At the same time, the moss gearbox, with its unsynchronized first gear was replaced by an all new unit of jaguar design, and the seats were changed to a more comfortable and supportive design.   Apart from a ‘4.2’ badge, the exterior of the car was identical.    The series 1 cars are now the most desirable E-Types, with pros and cons for each model.

In 1965, the practical 2+2 model joined the range.   The 2+2 lost some of the sleek lines of the original sayer design as the roofline had to be raised to accommodate the rear passengers heads.  Nevertheless it sold well, and also provided the room to offer an automatic transmission option, important for the USA market.   When new, it was the most expensive E-Type, but now the OTS is the best value model, with prices generally 1/2 that of a similar FHC.

By 1967 pressure was starting to mount from USA design and emissions standards that the E-Type could not meet.  This led to the Series 1.5 and Series 2 models, which introduced changes such as the safety interior, detuned engines, elimination of the covered lights and different bumper bars. At the same time, the front opening was enlarged considerably to aid with hot weather performance, and air condition started to be much more common.   Today, while arguably more practical, the Series 2 models do not command the same value in the market as Series 1 models.

Jaguar had also been building a new v12 engine for the upcoming XJ6.   The E-type was used to ‘test’ this engine on the market, as sportscar buyers were generally more forgiving, and the new XJ6 was not ready yet.   This led to the Series 3, which ran to 1975.    The Series 3 was more of a Grand Tourer than a sports car, and both the OTS and Coupe were based on the long wheel base 2+2 platform.   This meant for the first time that the OTS could be offered with an automatic transmission, which was becoming increasingly important in America.  Finally, after an extremely long production, the E-Type was replaced by the XJS.

About this car

This car was built 17/9/65 and left the factory 5/10/65, making it a Series 1 4.2.   The first owner was Spencer Augustus Folsom Jr, of Fayetteville, North Carolina.   It was later owned by another family member, and then purchased in the late 67 or early 68 by a young lawyer as a graduation present to himself.   He had previously owned a Mercedes 190SL, which was just a cheap sports car back then and was looking for something with a bit more power.    He purchased the car in Washington DC and drove it to his new home in San Francisco in 1968, including hitting it’s top speed somewhere along the way.     This car was his primary car until some time in the 80s when it had become a bit tired and he purchased an XJ6 and found himself using the E-Type less and less.

The car led a rather eventful life – during the time it lived in San Francisco it was mostly parked on the street, and stolen by the worlds most stupid burglar.   The burglar then proceeded to continue driving the car around San Francisco without bothering to change the licence plates or anything like that.   He owner even saw his car once driving around and attempted to give chase in his entry-level rental car, but was unable to keep up.   Later on, his flatmate saw the car parked on the street and called the police, who impounded it.   The bright spark who had stolen the car had left clothes & shoes in the car, and had actually started using the original owners address book as his own, writing in additional addresses, including his mother’s address!   The police were not particularly interested in pursuing him, but the owner eventually tracked him down to a town called Pacifica, and he had only been released from prison two days before he stole the E-Type!

During the 70’s, our owner was visiting a friend in Danville, CA, which was not as populated then.   He had a little two much to drink, so decided to take Crow Canyon road home, which was a more remote back road.   As he drove along the road, he saw a horse, standing on the road.   Changing over to the wrong side of the road to avoid the horse, the horse changed too and consequently, the car hit the horse, flipping it over the bonnet, with the horse’s head going through the windscreen, severing its artery and bleeding out over the car.    He managed to get the horse off the car and get home.

On calling the insurance company, the agent asked the owner what animal he had hit.  When asked why this even mattered, the agent said that the policy covered a wild animal such as a deer, but not a domestic animal such as a dog or a horse.   Of course, in that case the car had hit a deer.     At that time, the E-Type was just a cheap sports car, so he looked around for a used bonnet and found a guy who would sell him one for $500.   This was the bonnet for an earlier car, but it fit and the price was right.   They guy with the bonnet brought it over on a pickup truck and actually lifted it out and delivered it on his own.   Later he was gunned down for dealing drugs, so the owner always wondered if he had a stolen bonnet.    After that crash, the car was repainted from it’s original blue to a burgundy colour.

Later on, the owners colleagues present him with a drawing of him in a safari suit with an elephant gun and pith helmet shooting a horse with antlers.

By the mid 80s, the car was sitting in a warehouse in San Francisco, and was purchased by a friend of the owner from Reno NV.   He wanted to restore the car to a high quality driver standard.   At the start of the restoration the car was extremely rusty, and so had to be sent away to a body shop in Grass Valley CA, for rust removal.  It was then repainted back to metallic blue, but not the original Jaguar colour, the owner chose a deeper shade from an 80s Porsche.

The engine was also rebuilt, including the head being re-done and a cracked sleeve in #5.   The rear end ratio was changed to 1:3.31 as well.    Any areas that called for vinyl or hadura was trimmed in leather, even the accelerator pedal!

After the car was completed, it won some events for the Reno Jaguar Club.  (2001 & 2003 , 1st in the driven division).

In 2003, the car was sold on ebay to a new owner from Portland Oregon.   He changed the diff ratio back to 3.54, put in a smaller steering wheel, adjustable shocks, removed the luggage rack and amco bars.

In 2010, I purchased the car and had it shipped back to Royal Oak, Michigan where I was living.   I used the car in Michigan until July 2011, where I shipped it to Sydney, Australia where it remains.   I put on a new stainless exhaust system, new brake server and master and have done general maintenance.

Why an E-Type?

I had always admired the Jaguar E-Type, but living in Australia assumed they would be out of my reach.   However, during my time in the USA, I noticed how much cheaper they were there.   Coupled with the global financial crisis that was going on at the time, I decided to buy one and bring it back to Australia once I had finished my stay in the USA.

Originally I was going to get a 2+2 Series 1, as at 194cm tall, I do not really fit in the FHC.   However, once shipping etc was factored in, I decided to buy an OTS instead.

Driving an E-Type

Sitting in the drivers seat of an E-Type really makes you feel like you’re sitting in a world war two fighter plane, with the toggle switches, long bonnet etc.    It is a fun car to drive, with good power and handing, and in the 4.2 guise, the seats are comfortable even for the taller driver.   having a car that is purely mechanical – no power steering, automatic transmission or the like keeps you connected to the car and to the driving experience, and the car is at its most fun on twisty country roads with the exhaust note reverberating off the mountain passes.

What next?

coming soon

Related Posts: