Ads on Test: 1963 Jaguar E-type Series 1

That price is a big number, but you’d struggle to replicate this E-type roadster for the money, says Paul Hardiman

Price £225,000

This roadster – or Open Two Seater in Jaguar speak – is like a brand-new car, having just come out of a two-year, upgrade-rich restoration by E-type specialist Lanes Cars. It’s so fresh the silencers still bear their paper stickers.

It was originally a left-hand-drive export car, last documented in California in 2007, though there’s no word on when it came back to the UK.

Just about all of the bodyshell is new including complete floorpan, boot floor, sills and rear bulkhead. Much of the outer panelwork is original except for the lower rear quarters, door skins and outer A-posts. All the detail metalwork is viewable in more than 400 pictures on Lanes’ website. The panel fits and gaps are perfect, though the paint isn’t quite, with one or two tiny blemishes here and there, and a small chip under the right headlight.

Chrome is all good, including the wheels, which are now 51/2 x 15s, half an inch wider than standard, shod in 2016-dated 205/60 Uniroyal Rainexperts. Behind them are four-piston calipers on the front, plus unspecified suspension upgrades.

Inside, the leather is new and looks practically unused, and the aluminium dash and centre console trim is unmarked. The period-looking radio has modern, bluetooth-equipped internals.

The original 3.8 straight-six engine, which according to had a replacement cylinder head some time in the past, has been rebuilt with a lighter flywheel and finished with Jenvey throttle-body injection, whose spherical-jointed linkage is a joy to behold and whose brain sits on the bulkhead. There’s an aluminium radiator and header tank, with electric cooling fan, and the exhaust manifolds are now nickel or chrome plated, slightly discoloured with heat. It’s now making an estimated 300bhp, and drives through a five-speed ZF gearbox.

Starting easily on the button it drives very tautly, with the feel through the steering of a much more modern car, especially in the way it deals with Kensington’s mini-roundabouts and speed bumps. The ride is very well controlled, and you’re hardly aware of the fatter-than-standard rubber.

The injected motor is super-responsive, with less flywheel effect than the standard 3.8, where you have to wait for the revs to build. The gearchange is slick and it’s usefully tall-geared in top, at around 35mph per 1000rpm, so motorway cruising will be relaxed, with the mid-range grunt to pull it. The brakes are instant and powerful, with good feel. Warm oil pressure is 25psi at tickover – though it reads to the same at 2500rpm so perhaps the gauge is faulty – and temp is just under 90°C. The motor has one quirk, running for a second or two after you switch off.

Though it looks a lot of money – £225k is top money for a 3.8 roadster – a car of this quality couldn’t be built again for the price, and therefore represents a less-than-the-sum-of-its-parts valuation. Fabulous looking and great to drive, too. This is one of four cars for sale tested in the latest issue, part of 16 pages of buying tips and advice, including Quentin Willson’s Hot Tips, Ads on Test and Buying Guide in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Engine 3781cc inline six cylinder, dohc Power est 300 (originally 265)bhp @ x5500rpm Torque 260lb ft @ 4000rpm 0-60mph 6.5sec Top Speed 150mph Fuel Consumption 18mpg Length 4375mm Width 1657mm