1961 Jaguar E-type fixed-head coupé topped half a million at auction

One cool cat… This E-type coupé topped half a million at auction. Here’s why ‘Although there is always a large choice of restored E-types on the market, very few have been done to such a perfect level’…

CHASING CARS  Russ Smith’s market headliners

1961 Jaguar E-type

1961 Jaguar E-type

Hampered by weight of numbers, Jaguar E-types have always looked like a poor relation alongside Astons and Ferraris, despite their undoubted beauty and iconic status. Then RM Sotheby’s sold this 1961 fixed-head in Monterey for £560,310. Exactingly restored by a marque expert using original sheet metal and theoretically unobtainable new-old-stock parts, it has been described as the Holy Grail of E-types. But does its status as one of just 24 coupés with external bonnet catches really make that much difference? We asked Henry Pearman of Eagle E-types to put this car’s sale into perspective.

‘I was actually sitting behind the successful buyer of this car in Monterey, who is a very well respected and astute collector who faced strong competition with the bidding in the room.

‘Based on the fact that we spend more than 4500 hours in restoring an E-type coupé, with the additional fact that any really early – say 1961-built – E-type coupé requiring restoration is likely to command in excess of £85,000 as a starting price, I don’t think this car was overpriced when looking for the best. Although there is always a large choice of restored E-types on the market, there are very few indeed that have been done to a perfect level and therefore these other examples would arguably need to be restored again, if being brutally honest. It is also relevant and becoming more widely recognised that a genuinely well-restored E-type is still head and shoulders above even the best of the contemporary competition as a driving experience.’

In addition, and perhaps most importantly, this is something extremely rare as an outside-bonnet-lock car, of which just a handful were built. ‘A further fact is that the E-type was not caught up in the recent hyped values of some Ferraris and Astons, which have since received a circa 15% price correction to bring them back in line to a more realistic value, so there is more comfort when searching out the very best E-types.’

It might seem drastically overpriced on face value, but this E-type had all the ingredients to justify the £560k price to at least two bidders in the saleroom.

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