Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

Offered from a Private Collection

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Lot 255

1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8-Litre Roadster

  • Chassis no. 875152
  • Engine no. R 1251-9
  • Gearbox no. EB 353 JS
  • Body no. R 1228

Sold for $412,500


265 hp, 3,781 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with semi-trailing wishbones, torsion bars, telescopic shock absorbers, an anti-roll bar, independent rear suspension with lower transverse tubular links, radius rods, universally jointed half-shafts, twin coil springs, and telescopic shock absorbers; and four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes. Wheelbase: 96 in.

  • Offered from a private collection
  • The most desirable early specification: flat floor, welded louvers, and outside bonnet latches
  • Exceptional restoration by British marque specialists
  • Finished in the original colors from a superb original example
  • Well documented, including Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate
  • Includes original removable hardtop and original tool roll
  • One of the finest early E-Types available in recent years


The new E-Type of 1961 was preceded by the competition D-Type of the mid-1950s and its short-lived production version, the XKSS of 1957, as well as the experimental competition car entered by Briggs Cunningham at Le Mans in 1960. Like the D-Type, the new car used monocoque construction: the front of the chassis featured a space-frame with steel tubes supporting the engine, the front suspension, and the hinged hood and fender assembly, which lifted to provide virtually unlimited engine access. It also featured the proven twin-cam inline six-cylinder engine of the former XK 150 S, four-wheel independent suspension, and disc brakes at each corner. A speed of 150 mph was promised too, all for a price of about $6,000—and for one of the best-looking cars on the planet!

The example offered here was built in June 1961 and delivered through the New York dealer to Hollis A. Smith of Midland, Texas. It remained in his ownership until May 1966, when it was acquired by Vance K. Irwin through Knotts Sports Car Centre of Longview, Texas. The E-Type would remain in Mr. Irvin’s family until 2010, passing to his son, Rick, in 1998, and spending the majority of that time in dry, secure storage in the Lone Star State.

Following its acquisition from the Irwins by a European owner, Colin Pearcy, the E-Type was restored by CMC Jaguar, one of the most experienced Jaguar restorers in the world, in conjunction with E-Type UK and respected master trimmer, Mick Turley. The car was returned to its original specifications, as per its Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate, including the original color scheme of Carmen Black over black with a black top. Upon completion, the car was driven for a 1,000-mile “shake-down” tour of Europe, after which any nagging ills were promptly corrected so that it would both show and drive superbly.

A letter from CMC Jaguar’s N.R. Goldthorp to Mr. Pearcy, a copy of which is on file, notes that “of all the E-Types that we have restored, your car was probably the most original and correct. As it had been in a dry state in the USA, it had not suffered the ravages of corrosion.” A minor accident had damaged the trunk floor and number plate panel, necessitating the replacement of those panels; in addition, both outer sills were replaced. The balance of the bodywork is original Jaguar metal from 1961. “As I have indicated,” Mr. Goldthorp continued, “[this car] is probably the most original early E-Type body in the world or at the very least is the most original that we have seen in the past 20 years.”

Now offered from its excellent maintenance and superb care in a fine American collection, this is certainly one of the finest early E-Types to have been brought to market in recent years. Finished to a remarkable standard, including the original removable hardtop, it is not an over-restored piece of jewelry, but rather has been brought to the highest level of “how the factory did it,” right down to its original ignition keys and tool roll. It is a superb example deserving of the finest home.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more