This 1962 Jaguar E-Type 3.8-Litre Series 1 roadster is headed back to the track
One of the first Jaguar E-Types to race in North America is ready to return to the track and do what it does best. The 1962 3.8-Litre Series 1 roadster, chassis #876825, will cross the block at RM Sotheby’s 2019 Monterey sale in August—its first appearance at public auction.
During an extensive restoration that began in 2011, the E-Type’s racing engine received a complete rebuild, and the car was returned to its original cream-colored livery. The cockpit boasts two Naugahyde racing seats. It wears #66, as it did when it was a familiar competitor in San Francisco Region SCCA events in 1962–63, when it was raced by Frank Morrill and Merle Brennan.
Overall victories included the 1963 Laguna Seca SCCA Championship production car race, and the Jag placed fourth in the annual RDC 4-Hour Enduro. Although RM Sotheby’s touts the race car’s ability to hold its own “against the likes of Allen Grant’s 289 Cobra, Dick Guldstrand’s Corvette, and Bev Spencer’s Ferrari 250 GTO,” Hagerty valuation editor Andrew Newton says that might be a bit of an overstatement.
“[The Jaguar 3.8-Litre Series 1] was a better sports car for the road than it was a race car,” he says. “But it was competitive and occasionally put in a win, especially in its early days—as this car’s record shows.”
Among Jaguar race cars, E-Type Lightweights are more desirable. A 1963 model campaigned by Briggs Cunningham’s team, which competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Bridgehampton 500, sold for $8 million at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Auction last year. Another ’63 Series 1, winner of the Australian Championship that year, sold for $7.37 million at Bonhams’ Scottsdale event in January 2019.
Newton is hesitant to place a pre-auction estimate on the RM E-Type “because there isn’t really a direct comparable transaction, and race car values are tough to gauge in general. With only regional SCCA history to its credit, it’s far from being a million-dollar car, but it should sell well into six figures.”
A similar 1961 Jaguar E-Type 3.8-Litre Series 1 roadster with an arguably comparable race history sold for €582,400 ($661,868) at RM Sotheby’s 2017 Villa Erba (Italy) Auction, but Newton says “that price seems high.” Regardless, the Jaguar on offer looks to be “a fresh, usable, professionally- and correctly-built vintage racer that should be eligible for some great events.”
In addition to its 3.8-liter racing engine, the Jaguar features a four-speed Moss Gear transmission and a limited-slip differential with a hard-to-find 3.77 ratio. As recently as 2017, the E-Type competed in the Monterey Reunion, where it captured the Jaguar Heritage Trust award for Best Presentation of the Featured Marque at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. A Jaguar Heritage Trust certificate is included in the sale.
No doubt the lithe Jaguar will have no trouble finding a new home. We hope it will soon be spending more time on the track, right where it belongs.