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The story of the E-Type requires little introduction, however, what perhaps may need some explanation is the position in the market of the very early cars and their importance to collectors and marque enthusiasts alike. In common with Works of Art, Furniture, Philately, Fine Wines and all the other things people collect, the rarest and best quality items tend to attract collector's interest and inevitably, the harder they are to find, the more expensive they can become. Should there be a number of well-heeled collectors chasing a particular painting, for example, then the result can be a serious clash of egos and wallets. This is equally true of Classic Cars and the E-Type is a perfect example. The most sought after of all the E-Types are the first 92 right-hand drive cars produced and these are easily distinguished by their outside bonnet locks. Fifty-six of this first batch were supplied in July 1961 to Jaguar dealerships to be used as demonstrators and they were expressly forbidden to sell them until that September. Interestingly, this car can be seen in the historic photograph outside the Browns Lane Factory of the first batch of RHD 'demonstrator' E-Types set to go off to dealers. With most of the first 20 cars produced being allocated for competition use, the very first road cars are considered to be the Holy Grail of E-Types, and arguably of all collector's cars.
Chassis #62 is a rare opportunity to enjoy the thrill of ownership inherent in one of these special early cars. It was rumoured to have been destined for Jaguar dealer, Rossleigh in Edinburgh, as a demonstrator for potential customers in Edinburgh and the surrounding area, however, it was in fact first registered by West Sussex County Council as 171 DBP in August 1961 and sold by Wadhams in Chichester to a Mr Cutley at Hurstpierpoint. Mind you, it did arrive in Bonnie Scotland sometime later and is recorded as belonging to Ian Simpson of North Berwick who owned the car until 1978. According to a letter on file, he apparently bought it as 'a rusty wreck' for £250 subsequently restoring it and registering it as HSS 124, a number plate that was transferred from a Ferguson Tractor. It later became the property of a Mr D Russel of Edinburgh who in turn sold the Jaguar to Mr A Stewart in Fife before a previous client of Silverstone Auctions purchased the car from a gentleman in Edinburgh.
Number #62 is extra special in the history of E-Types in that, from the mid-seventies, it has spent a very quiet life in Scotland living under the radar and having had a number of geographically close, owners. The result of this sheltered life is that until recently its whereabouts have been a mystery to historians and it was one of only a few of the original 92 cars that hadn't been found. This was the case right up until Silverstone Auctions sold this car at the Silverstone Classic in July 2016, and it was then spotted by the eagle-eyed and much-noted TV classic car personality, Quentin Willson. In conversation with his friend and fellow petrol head, actor and comedian Steve Coogan, they hatched a “cunning plan" to go and find the buyer and extract it for Steve’s ever-growing and special collection of rare and desirable classics.
Much like many of its sister cars, #62 had over the years lost some of its distinguishing early features, which had partly helped to hide the significance of this car. Once acquired and following advice from Quentin, himself a prior owner of a very early E-Type FHC, the decision was made to send the car to XK Engineering in Coventry for a total nut and bolt complete restoration which was to take over two years from 2017 until 2019 to complete. The car most importantly retains its original matching numbers body (although naturally a number of panels had been replaced) and engine - including matching cylinder head - as well as the original Moss gearbox. The car also retained not only the much revered 'flat floor' but in fact, a whole myriad of other specific very early details including the split-link throttle linkage, early rearview mirror, different bonnet louvres, chrome windscreen frame (first 500 cars), correctly dated steering rack, wiper motor and screenwash pump and, of course, the famous outside bonnet blocks. This restoration has been completed to an absolute forensic level of detail. Every single component has been replaced or restored to create today an absolutely stunning Concours-standard car, perhaps as close to the day when it was new as it has ever been since! This entire restoration process has been closely followed and reported on by Classic Cars magazine, allowing the next owner to encapsulate the whole journey from start to finish with the full story and colour detailed pictures as a permanent record of the whole experience. When collected by Steve from XK Engineering early in 2019 it headed straight to several Concours events and came first in the JDC Royal Brierly Trophy Concours in June 2019 and was a runner up in the JDC Champion of Championships at the NEC in November. It has since resided at his home in pride of place amongst his collection.
The history file shows that it was previously restored in the mid to late 1970s by Ian Simpson and also in the 1990s by a later owner during which a colour change was made from green to red. However, this car was originally finished in Sherwood Green with a green leather interior and French Grey roof as it is presented today. Accompanying #62 is an excellent history file that dates back to 1975, and of course, includes a Jaguar Heritage Certificate. The history file details much of the car's life in Scotland through invoices from the 1970s to the present day.
Possibly the definitive Jaguar connoisseur's dream collectable, this lovely E-Type is in Concours condition and represents a very special opportunity to own one of the very first cars and experience the excitement and pride that must have been felt by its first owner way back in 1961 and, in so doing, adding your name to the annals of Jaguar history.