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Throwback Thursday: David’s Big Ol’ Barn Cat

Over the years, we’ve featured some really incredible stories and finds. With so many new readers joining us, we thought it might be fun to repost some of our favorite past finds. This week, we are taking another look at reader David M’s Big Barn Cat! I spoke with David today about the car and he’s made some progress on it, but he has several projects that are ahead of this one that he is finishing up, one of them being a Morgan Plus 8. Shortly after getting the Jaguar home, he pulled the engine and sent it out for a full rebuild. He also had a number of upgrades done to the engine, including installing 10:1 pistons, performance cams, ported heads, upgraded valve guides, and switched from the rope seal to lip seal on the crank. With the upgrades he’s done, he believes the engine should produce about 325 horsepower! It’s ready to go back in, but the rest of the car still needs to be restored. With four other E-Types in his shop, he clearly knows these cars well and has the necessary skills to get this Big Cat back on the road one day. Be sure to read the original story below!

FROM 5/10/2015 – We have come to realize finding a great barn find takes a lot of patience, hard work, and a fair amount of luck. Even the most diligent car hunters might never come across a good find. Some of the best discoveries we have seen came about as a result of luck and circumstance. For David M, his barn find came to him when he least expected it, as a matter of fact, he wasn’t even looking for another project. While he was out working on one of his cars this past summer, he received a phone call from his local NAPA parts store about an old Jaguar in a barn, but he had his doubts.

Even though he had his doubts, he decided to get the information about the car and give the owner a call. When he got to the barn, sure enough, there was a Jaguar parked inside. It turned out to be a 1963 Jaguar E-type Convertible! The original owner only drove this Jag for 7 years and then it went into their barn and was forgotten.

After inspecting it, David asked the owner if they were interested in selling the old barn cat. The owner told him it was time to get rid of it and let it go to a new home. David knew restoring this car was going to be costly and time-consuming, so he knew he needed to get it for a reasonable price. Thankfully the owner understood the condition it was in and how costly this project was going to be.

After striking a deal that they both could live with, David called a tow truck to come to get his new project. The tires had gone flat from sitting for all those years, but amazingly they held air. Slowly, the tow truck pulled the car from the barn and it saw daylight for the first time in over 4 decades. David isn’t the type to waste time, so as soon as it was on the flatbed it was off to the shop to start the restoration process.

David’s new project is going to be a massive undertaking, but it sounds like he is the man to tackle it. We wish we would get a call like that from our local NAPA store, but we doubt that will ever happen. While luck can be your best friend in this game, hard work still pays off. So, if you haven’t found that perfect barn find yet, don’t give up scouring those back roads. One day you will find the car of your dreams, just be patient. Chances are that you will find it when you least expect it! A special thanks goes out to David for sending this in. He actually mailed it to us! Yes, through the Postal Service! We hope he will keep us posted on his progress. If you have a great story like his, be sure to send it in!

I want to thank David again for taking time out of his day to give me an update on the car’s progress. He is going to send us photos of some of his projects and I look forward to seeing how this one is progressing! If there are any old finds that you’d love for us to feature in a future Throwback Thursday, please let us know in the comments and if you have an interesting barn find story, we would love to see it. You can send your finds to us via mail@barnfinds.com!


  1. sunbeamdon

    Cool cat! Keep us updated – best of luck!

    Like 6
  2. Dolphin Member

    If I’m seeing the rockers and floors properly, this could be one of the best early E-types to see the light of day after decades of sitting neglected. I’m thinking that David has a real prize here, and with the prices for early E-types continuing to climb, a restoration can be justified with little or no risk of being underwater.

    If David does do the restoration I sure hope we get to see it in progress here on BF. Best of luck with this special car!

    Like 7
  3. Mark E

    If that pic of the front is accurate, you are a braver man than I, Gunga Din… ^_^

    Like 4
  4. joeinthousandoaks

    Where some people see rust, others see opportunity.

    Like 4
  5. OhU8one2

    And just F.Y.I Jaguar has just announced they are offering brand new front bonnets for all years of E-Types through their Classic Part’s Division. I think they are available aftermarket also. But awesome find! Even Enzo Ferrari loved the design. Can’t think of anything better than a drive at sunset,tempurature outside perfect,listening to that inline 6 singing a stellar exhaust note as you shift through the gear’s. All the while your sweetie sitting next to you,and can’t keep her eye’s off of you. Ah the iconic American dream.

    Like 7
  6. rusty

    Dont know how current this find is…to me the photos look like old analogue photos that have been digitally scanned hence might explain the terrible looking bonnet which in fact is probably ok. [although the second shot could pass as current ] Is this a bit like the cobra in a barn stories…interesting but dated back 20 or 30 years so really of less relevance to finding cars in a barn today?

    my guess this is an old story????????? or he has a pretty crap camera??? although it says Davids new project…is it really a new project …hee hee or surely David you need a new camera. Or are you trying out those new digital effects on your camera…lets see lets use “antique shots”

    Like 3
  7. jake

    bonnets and all body panels are available and have been for a number of years, nothing new there….great find and I doubt if anybody at the NAPA store I work at would have let this get away!!!

    Like 1
  8. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    A bonnet runs well over $10K and will need fitting and trimming as they are made long at the firewall end.
    A newly made tub if need be is about $7K. The biggest pain will be the fitting of the old parts once they’ve been refurbished to the new tub.
    The picture frames or outriggers, which mount on the firewall and they hang the front suspension on them and mount the engine. These are the first things that take a hit in an accident. Available new, worth replacing early rather than find they’ve been tweaked after the car’s been assembled.
    Yes I’ve seen these cars go up to over $100K but they were absolutely perfect Concours examples, which tend to be far more consistent than Jaguar ever managed. These are still easy cars to get upside down on if not careful. Some days Ferrari’s are cheaper with better return.

    Like 2
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      A bonnet for $10K and a tub for only $7K? About 8 years ago, Monocoque Industries in Maryland would do your own tub for $18K. I don’t know what Chuck would charge today (although I’m about to call him). I don’t know if there’s a difference between S1, S1.5 and S2 in price. He’d also swap a completed tub for yours and I assume some cash.

      Like 1
  9. Dolphin Member

    Yes there’s risk of getting upside down with early E-types, but the trend is definitely way up for values, especially in the last 2 years. The cars do need to be perfect, but with the values going the way they are it does make it worth considering a total restoration on this car. And E-Type convertibles will be worth more than the coupes, which also goes in favor of this car. This ’63 won’t bring what a comparable ’61 will bring, though.

    Here are two samples of perfect cars from auctions earlier this year, and a summary from a lot of auctions from 2006 to 2015:

    1961 convertible $440,000 RM January 2015

    1963 FHC 123,000 GBP (=US$190,000) RM February, 2015

    Summary of 59 1961 E-type auction sales 2006 – 2015:

    I think it’s the usual story—a GTO is now worth $38 to $50 million, a 275 GTB or GTB/4 is worth from $2 to $12 million depending on prior ownership and history, and even an ordinary 330 GTC is now close to a $1 million if excellent with known history.

    That makes E-types seem cheap, and in the high-end collector car world they are cheap.

    The big risk that I see is not so much that someone would be underwater with this car. It’s that the financial world will implode again like it did in 1989-90, 2000-02, and 2008-09. That will make the high rollers draw back and the market for any expensive car will contract. People who bought or restored using borrowed money will often need to sell, and they will take a loss. People with money will hold off until prices drop lower.

    People are now talking about the stock market looking like it might be near a top. And you can’t short high-end collector cars like you can stocks.

    Like 1
  10. Curt Lemay

    This could be really great.

    Like 1
  11. PaulinMa

    This is the pretty much the worst etype I have seen. Left outside in Mass under a tarp for 40 years https://youtu.be/MKI-zEpZDGk

    Like 2
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      Oh, I’m sorry, you haven’t seen my 71 OTS. I’m in constant shame every time I look at it. It’s my dream to restore it to its former glory. It was wrecked in 1971 by the original owner with 14K miles on it. I got it around 1980 for a song and started to renovate it. Long story short, life interfered and in the 90s it began sitting outside under a tarp. The tub is badly rusted (floor boards gone, etc.). It’s now in my workshop along with the 65 Healey,, 89 Alfa, 95 Miata…every E-type can and should be restored…if you wanna get to heaven :-)

      Like 1
  12. RJ

    this is cake walk compared to some ,and all e-type people know there is no such thing as an E parts car i’d lov to have it next to my 67 e ,i have oem replace stuff too. might be offing mine soon ? BUT BEFORE I HANG IT UP I’D LIKE TO BUILD ONE MORE AN USE THE 40+ YEARS OF AN E-TYPE SPECIALIST EXPERIENCE TO USE GO FOR IT DAVE YA CAN NT LOSE

    Like 1
  13. Bill

    I don’t know who took these pictures but they need a better cell phone these are the worst I have seen in a while

    Like 1

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