Jaguar E-Type Buying Guide
March 30th 2022
Jaguar E-Type Buying Guide
When you're in the market for any car, there's so much to consider - even more so when you're looking at a beautiful classic - and it can be overwhelming. A wise purchase is a sale that you're confident in, which means you're sure you're buying the right vehicle and buying it at the right price. E-Type UK is here to help, on hand to offer our expertise so feel free to get in touch, we've also put together this master list of things to consider in the meantime, in order to stand you in the best possible stead - Welcome to our Jaguar E-Type Buying Guide.
BUYING AN E-TYPE | WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
We said there's a lot, and we know it can be just too much, especially when there's so much information to consider simultaneously and the stakes are so high. Buying is a big choice, which means equipping yourself with knowledge is the best thing you can do. So, we've broken it down into palatable sections to offer an accessible master list that you can use as a buying guide. These sections lay out the primary factors you should take into account when looking for your Jaguar E-Type, plus the specific points it's important to consider within each of them.
THINGS TO CONSIDER |
● We all know the most desirable classic cars come with a price tag, therefore, you need to know the market. Understanding what makes an appropriate asking price and what your money is getting you, ensures you are getting the deal you deserve. Bear in mind also, different models and conditions are valued at different rates, therefore, equipping yourself with all the knowledge you can is vital.
● E-Types are some of the finest classic cars available in today’s market, with their beautiful vintage appearances, extra checks are necessary when considering a purchase. As a result of their age, knowing key areas for corrosion and wear is key to sourcing the right example for you.
● A history file can make or break a car, offering reassurance and transparency to potential buyers. Explore the history file for restoration work and past repair or damage, as not all repairs may be immediately apparent and in some cases, poor repairs can impact value and safety.
Additionally, are you more of a purist, or are you happy with newer parts and upgrades? There's no wrong answer, but it's something you should determine when starting your car search, as these buying factors will impact budget and market availability.
● There are three series of the E-Type, and some degree of variation within each, which can be even more diverse when you take into account the current condition of the car and the parts. As a result, buying an E-Type still involves choosing what kind of experience you want as the owner and as a driver.
● Series 1 and 2 E-Types are typically faster than Series 3, with a top speed of around 150 MPH. The roadster is a little less aerodynamic, and thus, not quite as quick, but faster than the Series 3, nonetheless. However, the lower rear axle gearing in the Series 3 gives it the edge in acceleration - it was recorded to hit 0-60 in less than 7 seconds, whilst Series 1 and 2 takes around 7.5 seconds back in the day.
● The other key choice you have is the early 3.8 Moss gearbox vs the all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox in the later 3.8 & 4.2 litre cars. Essentially, you're choosing between experiences: the clunk of a moss gearbox and often need to double de-clutch, and the mechanical satisfaction that comes with getting it right, or the less demanding drive of a four-speed, that makes a quieter and more civilised driving.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR?
There are a few key things to look out for insofar as the bodywork of any E-Type.
The first and the most significant is corrosion. What if you find an example that is displaying areas of corrosion but is mechanically sound, is it still a good buy? The answer is that you're much better off with things the other way around; mechanicals are easier and more inexpensive to fix in comparison to the unique classic car bodywork. The E-Type was made using inexpensive 20-gauge mild steel with a brazed Reynolds tubing front sub-frame, which wasn't built to last well without restoration and replacement - any cars that experienced life in the US also underwent a long sea voyage, which exposes these vehicles to rust damage to an even greater extent as a result of the conditions. Make sure to check specifically around the rear wheel arches and the join between the sill and the floor, as these are the principal spots at risk of corrosion.
Take note of past restoration, repairs and previous work carried out on your potential purchase as the quality of work will impact the value. Request to read through a car's history file, identifying past restorers' names and invoicing, this will initially give you a steer of the quality of the restoration and repair work. It's a good idea to look out for repair work on the sills, end plates and floor pans, as these are all structural features. What you're looking for is any quick and cheap fixes, and excessive use of thick underseal can sometimes be a red flag, because many issues, including rot, could be masked underneath.
If the Jaguar E-Type has been properly restored and wax-injected, this bodes well, but the intricate and unique nature of the unibody on an E-Type means that most body shops likely won't have the skills or expertise to carry out this kind of work. Even if the work looks good superficially, expert evaluation is critical. Experts, such as E-Type UK, have the equipment to ensure perfect alignment in the body structure, which is another important thing to note.
An E-Type should feel smooth and powerful on the test drive, you shouldn’t be able to feel excessive hesitation throughout the drive, in either the acceleration or breaking. However, it is important to remember these are classic cars with classic engineering, therefore, are not comparable to your modern-day driver.
Undertaking checks on the engine are dependent on which car you're looking at. For the Series 1 and Series 2 E-Types with the six-cylinder engines, they are known for their durability, so as long as they haven't been driven hard, which tends to be likely, you should be onto a keeper. Due to the age of E-type’s, it is very possible the engine would have been rebuilt, with some commenting an XK engine to be good for 80,000 – 100,000 miles between rebuilds – depending on the type of use.
Upon start-up and getting an E-type to temperature, you're looking for any unusual knocks and rattles, however, lumpy idle and exhaust smoke, while the engine gets to temperature, should be expected. You should also make the usual checks for head gasket failure – a mayonnaise-like substance on the inside of the oil filler cap or contaminated coolant can suggest a problem. Strong and consistent oil pressures usually suggest a happy engine, while a climbing temperature gauge without a fan cutting in, can suggest a cooling fault leading to overheating.
The V12 engines in the Series 3 cars, they're similarly durable but predisposed to overheat. To check this, let the engine get to temperature and then idle for a few minutes, keeping a watch on the temperature and oil pressure gauge; oil pressures should be around 45-55psi at 2500rpm. Note, any harshness is a giveaway because overheating could have distorted the long block and heads.
For manual gearboxes, it’s important to look out for signs of worn bearings, oil seals, and worn synchromesh, which are more noticeable when changing down into second gear on the overrun, looking for signs of wear, namely clonks that suggest worn universal joints.
For automatic gearboxes, the transmission fluid should look clean and red (not old or brown) and it needs to be checked for smooth and positive gear changes, with minimal lag.
Once against it is wise to keep in mind the age of the technology fitted in a classic car, unless under 5 years old, even the best-kept transmissions may feel slightly worn, but this is expected when dealing with vehicles over 50 years old.
E-Types are known for their innovative suspension systems in their era of production, that give their passengers a smooth ride and beautiful handling, but of course, inspection is recommended to guarantee these things. It's a complex system that needs various checks, inspecting front worn shock absorber all the way to a noisy and clunky IRS. When you test drive your potential purchase, you should feel a taut responsive drive, you shouldn't encounter any wallowing. Due to their complexity, it may be wise to enquire with a specialist, such as E-Type UK, to undertake an inspection, providing greater insight into these areas for condition and helping to find a vehicle that’s built to last.
E-Type brakes vary along with the improvement from Series 1 through 3, on top of any modifications made since the original production. A lot of E-Types, particularly the earlier models, have been fitted with stronger, newer brakes to make them more appropriate for today's high-speed roads. This is something that can add to the car's value, so keep an eye open for reputable upgrades.
E-types offer a servo-assisted disk braking system, the front-mounted outboard and the rear-mounted inboard, this minimises the un-sprung weight and aids stability in the rear. Whilst this means the front brakes are easy to service, it makes the rear brakes much more difficult (and costly) to access in situ. Typically, the brakes are strong and well-assisted but take care to check for imbalance. The most common cause is oil contamination on the disks, which needs to be addressed.
It's easier to tell with the interior; a careful, meticulous comb of the inside of your potential purchase can serve you well because it's easier to visibly diagnose any problems. You're looking to check for condition, wear, damage and repairs, and whilst you're checking the interior, be sure to test the switchgear too. If you are looking at a car with a questionable interior remember this shouldn't be a deal-breaker, an expert, like E-Type UK, can help to bring an old and tatty interior back to life by either localised material replacement or the other end of the spectrum, a full retrim, but all these options will impact your budget and overall purchase spend, so should be taken into consideration.
WHAT IS AN E-TYPE LIKE TO DRIVE?
A good E-Type is an absolute delight, but it's possible you won't have the best time if your E-Type isn't in such good repair, so alongside your research into how an E-type ‘should’ drive like, we’d suggest driving a range of examples to help determine your preference as well as spot potential faults. Your experience starts with the view of that bonnet curve, and when you start it up, you'll hear the characteristic throaty exhaust soundtrack, you can expect pace, and a smooth, fluid ride with plenty of torque, with sporty steering and control.
HOW MUCH DOES AN E-TYPE COST?
This is going to depend on which E-Type you're looking at, the condition and the history.
Series 1 is often considered the most valuable of the E-Types because it was the first of its name. When it was first unveiled in 1961, it was up for £2,000, which is around £44,000 today, accounting for inflation. Today, £44,000 might get you a rusty project of a car, but you're looking up to £200,000 for a perfect model in the open market. It's a big part of the decision to establish what kind of car - or project - you're looking for, and an accurate projection of the costs that come with restoration depending on the vehicle you're looking at.
There were just under 19,000 Series 2 E-Types produced between 1968 and 1970, and they're comparatively a little more affordable than the Series 1. The different editions for the Series 2 sit at different price points: a functional model in decent condition will typically go for £50,000 to £70,000; with the Series 2 Roadsters demanding more of a premium, seeing some examples exceeding £100,000 depending on their condition and heritage.
Series 3 Jaguar E-Types were produced from 1971 to 1974, and there were only two variants produced of this V12, the roadster and 2+2. If you're looking for a car in need of restoration, you can pay between £40,000 and £60,000, but a fully restored roadster could see the heights of £120,000, depending on finish and specification. Unfortunately, the market isn’t as kind to the 2+2 examples, with even fully restored cars struggling to push past £70,000 - £80,000.
Ultimately, you want a Jaguar E-Type because you appreciate them as we do, and we want to set you up to get the right vehicle for you. The diversity available in Series, models, restoration and condition is enormous, and the first thing you have to do is learn the market and work out what it is that will make you happy - because that's the only reason you should be sealing any deals.
That said, use this information to your advantage and make sure that you don't commit to any big choices without an expert weighing in. Like any classic vehicle, your Jaguar E-Type will need good care, but it's not a very high maintenance endeavour, and it's worth it.
If you need help or are looking for a stunning classic Jaguar E-type, then visit our Kent-based Showroom, or if you can't find your dream E-type contact our friendly sales team via the office line +44 (0) 1732 852 762, to start the search on your behalf.