It’s over 50 years since it was launched but there is still something breath-taking about the shape of an E-Type. Considered by many to be the quintessential British Spots car they have been highly desirable from the day they were launched and continue to be a must have classic car for many. Over the years A V Classics has restored many E-types and we have found a number of similar issues with the vehicles.
We have had more than one client who bought a Series 1 E-Type without driving it first. The E-type may be startling to look at, but they are not a perfect fit for everyone. The flat floor and tight pedal arrangement of the early Series 1 can make for an uncomfortable drive. The coupe versions are a very tight fit for people over 6ft tall. One of our clients did not enjoy the driving position and sold his E-Type immediately when it was finished.
These cars have been popular from the start – most have been kept on the road pretty much continuously which means that over their lifetime they have had running repairs and fixes made to keep them there. The quality of these previous fixes is important. What may look like a good car externally may be hiding a multitude of poor and at worse dangerous repairs.
The front of the E-Type is a delicate lattice work construction made of a lightweight metal. In a frontal accident, this cage can be bent and the structural welds can crack. This a major structural component and fixing it is expensive. Having a potential purchase thoroughly inspected by E-type experts for collision damage is a must.
Built between 1961 and 1975 in a three-main series, with a short-lived series 1.5 version, the car came with either a 3.8 or 4.2 litre manual engine. An extended 2+2 version was added to the line-up in 1966 and offered an automatic box.
The amount of minute variations can be confusing – Series 1.5 cars are typically known as the transitional series of cars built in 1967–68 as model year 1968. American safety regulations meant that open headlights, different switches and de-tuning was needed to meet the new US vehicle emissions or ‘Smog’ standards. Matching these new standards meant the number of carburetors changed from 3 to just 2, resulting in a loss in horsepower from 265 to 246. But Series 1.5 cars also had improvements too – they benefitted from having twin cooling fans and adjustable seat backs.
Less widely known, is that right at the end of Series 1 production, but prior to the true transitional series 1.5 cars there were a very small number of Series 1 cars produced, with open headlights. These Series 1 cars had their headlights modified by removing the covers and altering the scoops they sit in, and differ in several respects from those later used in the Series 1.5.
Values for the very early series can vary widely – the open headlight versions of a series 1 are extremely rare and there are also big differences in the values of the later series based on condition and specification. Today the 2+2 offers the entry point price for E-Type ownership, but its bulging roof line, enlarged to accept the two rear seats, is not to everyone’s taste.
At AV Classics, we regularly value E-types and test drive potential purchases for both existing and new customers. Why not get in touch and benefit from our years of experience with E-Type restoration – we’d be delighted to guide you towards the right E-type and the right restoration programme.