A pair of matching numbers very early 1961 Jaguar E-types which have been cherished in a museum for the past twenty years will go to auction 31st July – 2nd.
Forming part of The SA-30 Collection, which includes 30 exceptional cars chosen to celebrate 30 years of the Silverstone Classic, the extremely desirable coupe and roadster are both early E-types retaining all their original features and have been part of two significant private collections for 20 years.
The United States became Jaguar’s primary market and this is where almost 90% of E-type production ended up. However, it was here that the incredibly difficult search to source a totally original first supply suffix chassis number roadster staring ‘875’, was to start. An “875” would be the ultimate vintage for any serious collector.
In the mid-1990s, Paul Webb, a passionate collector who has specialised in dealing with E-types since the early 1970s, began the search to find the Holy Grail of E-Types. He was ideally placed and in the perfect hunting ground spending many decades of wintering in California and sourcing many E-types.
He struck lucky when he discovered 885249. This E-type was the 249th fixed head coupe produced, built on 30th November and supplied new to Abbey-Scherer Co, El Monte, California on 14th December 1961. It was allegedly still with its first owner, having resided in the ultimate climate to amazingly preserve this Jaguar.
Nick Whale, Silverstone Auctions Managing Director:
“These two E-types are just the best you could possibly ask for. To have the opportunity to own two of the earliest cars in this condition is an extremely rare opportunity.
“Both of these cars have been cherished by the two previous owners, who knew the importance of these cars.
“To own two with the same colour bodywork and the interior is quite rare and Silverstone Auctions are extremely honoured to have been asked to sell them for our client, a well-respected collector.
“For both the enthusiast and the dedicated collector, the desire to obtain the first of the breed and in its most original condition will always be The Holy Grail. However, actually achieving this goal was always going to be an issue as the early cars had serious flaws succumbing to rust and Jaguar often on record stating “it was far better to simply buy the new and improved model than repair an older model.”
This E-type Coupe had covered just 49,000 miles from new and off the road since 1985; with that Californian dated registration plate still fitted and it even still retained the original brake master cylinders with their correctly dated tags. Paul immediately snapped up the car. Literally everything was correct; the early ‘small ellipse’ nose still undamaged and correct separate spot welded louvre panel bonnet, which also retained the original factory stamped numbers almost never seen these days. This was ‘The Car’ – perhaps the ultimate surviving original 1961 E-type Coupe to exist.
In 1997, Paul imported the car to the UK, to take pride of place within his own private museum, where he commissioned respected experts Suffolk and Turley to retrim the seats in their original colour of beige as the leather had totally dried out in the Californian heat. It then formed part of Paul’s amazing private Jaguar collection.
The search didn’t stop there. The desire to own a matching pair was just too much to resist and Paul continued his search which he widened to include Arizona.
In the early 2000s, Paul struck lucky again and discovered his matching car – the complete twin to his coupe., right down to the interior colour.
This roadster was manufactured on 25th September 1961 – the first month an E-type would be released to any public buyers in the UK and was supplied new to an R Condon in Phoenix, Arizona – as confirmed by the Jaguar Heritage build sheet and dispatched there on 12th October 1961.
This car too retained all its original features and panels and amazingly both this car and the coupe had received just one ‘outside only’ refresh of colour, so all the door shuts and engine bay still kept all of their factory-applied original paint. The bonnet also retains the original factory stamps.
In 2004 the E-type Roadster returned to the UK where the interior was treated to the same level of attention by Suffolk and Turley. It also received a new mohair soft top at the same time and appears to have travelled just 74,414 miles from new.
The Silverstone Classic Live Online Auction on the 31st July – 2nd August via this link.