Historic 1961 Jaguar E-type readied for RM Sotheby’s auction in London

Online Only sale will feature 10th coupe built, which was used in factory development testing and published road-test reports

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The Jaguar E-Type coupe has been restored to its original fettle | Rm Sotheby's photos

One of the earliest and most-significant Jaguar E-type coupes will be offered by RM Sotheby’s during its 14th annual London auction, this year held as an Online Only sale due to pandemic restrictions.

The 1961 Jaguar E-type Series 1 3.8-liter fixed head coupe, the 10th example built and retained by the factory as a press and development car, will be auctioned October 31 on RM Sotheby’s Online Only platform.  

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The auction is held in conjunction with one of England’s most-celebrated antique-car events, the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, sponsored by RM Sotheby’s, which takes place October 31 and November 1. Called the “Emancipation Run,” the event commemorates the 1896 lifting of onerous restrictions for motor cars.  Only vehicles produced before 1905 are permitted to participate.

The Jaguar, registration number 6162 RW, was one of three early E-types kept by the automaker for publicity and testing.  As such, it was seen in numerous new-car road-tests by important publications, including the UK’s leading automotive magazine at the time, Motoring News, and Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

The car also underwent a number of upgrades and improvements by Jaguar during that time, and was prepared to competition spec to raise its top speed. 

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“In the hands of legendary test driver Norman Dewis, the car was used for extensive high-speed testing and suspension evaluation and benefited from a number of modifications to enhance its refinement,” according to a news release from the auction company.

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In November 1963, the Jaguar was sold into private ownership and in recent years has been totally restored to “world-class condition,” the release says.

“In 2008, the E-type’s owner and consignor entrusted to a marque specialist to undertake a comprehensive four-year restoration,” according to RM Sotheby’s. “No expense was spared in returning the historically significant E-type to factory condition, with emphasis placed on preserving the car’s unique modifications.”

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The Jaguar coupe is finished in its original shade of Opalescent Dark Green and retains its upgraded engine. The pre-auction estimated value is £395,000 to £495,000 ($503,000 to $630,000).

“The Jaguar E-type is an icon of automotive design and tightly woven into the fabric of British automotive history,” said Tonnie Van der Velden, car specialist for RM Sotheby’s. “Quite simply, this historically significant example is amongst one of the very best E-Types in existence and has undoubtedly played a part in building the legacy that the model commands by enthusiasts and collectors all over the world.

“With 2021 marking the 60th anniversary of the E-type, this exquisite car would be well received at any concours event.”

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For more information about the London auction, visit the RM Sotheby’s website.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Strange that a beat up Porsche 356 that needs paint and interior to restore it to original condition gets a bid of over $325,000 on BAT and it’s reserve is not met but this beautifully restored to concours condition E Type is only expected to get between $500,000 and $600,000.

  2. I find it interesting that this very early E-Type has the later hood latch setup, but I guess it was kept by Jaguar and was upgraded by them. While mine is a later dark blue S1 Coupe and is in rust-free original condition other than a sympathetically done new paint, it won’t be worth a patch on this one, even if she has factory air conditioning!

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