The earliest E-Type in existence is up for auction

Gooding & Co.

The very first right-hand-drive Jaguar E-Type ever built will soon have a new owner. The Fixed Head Coupe, chassis 860001 was completed on July 10, 1961 and became the demonstrator for the Henlys dealership.

The opalescent dark blue coupe with red leather interior then has a small gap in its history before it was owned by collector David Hamer who proudly put the car on display at numerous shows during the 1970s. In 1977 the E-Type was sold to automotive author and historian Philip Porter who kept it for more than 20 years. The current keeper has had custody since 1998 and had the car fully restored to factory-fresh condition.

Despite its historical significance and value the owner has used 1 VHP extensively, including re-creating Norman Dewis‘ famous drive from Coventry to Geneva in 2011 and 2021.

The car is powered by its original 3.8-liter inline six, fed by three SU HD8 carburettors and has a four-speed manual transmission. Stopping comes courtesy of innovative Dunlop disc brakes, of course.

The first left-hand-drive FHC and the earliest roadsters are believed to have all been lost to time so this example is probably the most important E-Type in existence. No doubt that will be reflected in the price achieved at Gooding & Co.’s London auction, where the car is estimated to sell for £1-£1.4 million. ($1.26-$1.76 m).

As if that’s not enough E-Type excitement, Gooding & Co. is also selling the fourth right-hand-drive Roadster to leave the production line, and the first car actually sold. Used for press events it was the personal car of Jaguar boss and Le Mans race team manager Frank “Lofty” England. It then passed between several British racers including Tommy Sopwith and Michael Parkes.

By 1975 the car was in a sorry state and needed reconditioning. Instead it was left neglected in the workshop of K.S. Mather Engineering in St Helens, U.K. for more than 25 years before being sold on. It was subsequently fully restored by Classic Motor Cars in Shropshire to a concours standard. Gooding & Co.’s experts tip it to sell for £900,000-£1.2 million ($1.13-$1.51 m).

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    Thanks. So the license plate says 1VHP? Is there some significance to this combination? And FHP just means it’s a hardtop, not a convertible?

    We borrowed one of these from the dealer to drive the Prom Queen around the track prior to some big football game in Palo Alto, California in either ’66 or ’67. Sweet.

    The one and only XKE I ever drove was such a nimble cat-like handling experience nothing else really comes close. It’s almost like the frame is nimbly flexing to accommodate the terrain. Handling solutions today are much more rigid. The only other cars that even attempted to remind me of that experience are the lowly Triumph Spitfire and NA 1600cc Miata. The 1800CC NA Miatas went the rigid route like modern cars.

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