California Desert Find: 1971 Jaguar E-Type

A 1971 Jaguar E-Type is no doubt, an iconic automobile by design and reputation, but it’s the individual subject that is the determining factor regarding valuation and demand. And that’s the challenge for today, to examine this E-type and make an objective assessment. This Jag fixed head coupe is located in Newport Beach, California and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $15,300, reserve not yet met.

Produced between 1961 and 1975, a total of 72K Type-Es, of all stripes were assembled. Of that total, about 10K were 4.2 liter, drop fixed head coupes (FHC) so this example is not exactly a rare specimen. It has, unfortunately, been the object of a poorly applied, glaring yellow paint job. There is evidence of overspray in many places, places where there shouldn’t be, and some of the enthusiastically applied paint looks to have been shot over the top of poorly patched bodywork – and worse. Kudos to the seller for his honesty with the photos. The initial listing images of this car do not feature the front end but that may be due to the missing headlights, grille, and bumper and there is no reference made to the missing parts. Topside, the paint does appear to have been better applied, it would seem that someone got heavy in applying touch-up over lower, damaged body parts.

Power under the bonnet comes about courtesy of a “running” 266 gross HP, 4.2 liter, DOHC, in-line, six-cylinder engine working through a four-speed manual transmission. The seller does not elaborate as to how well this Jaguar runs, or if it drives, but it does at least start – sort of. Here is a rather lengthy video, maybe too lengthy, that illustrates many facets of a car that is described as a “barn find” that has been parked since ’82.

The interior is rough. The instrument panel is dislodged and it appears that electrical tape was been employed in an attempt to resecure it. The extensive gauge accompaniment is complete and the faces are legible though the dust has permeated some of them. The carpet, and both door cards, are missing though the “Biscuit” leather interior still presents pretty well – it’s just in need of a huge cleaning. The missing carpet helps to give a thorough view of the floor pans, surface rust is evident but nothing worse than that. This is an A/C equipped car and appears to have all of the componentry still in place.

The description of this Jaguar E-Type, via the listing, claims “Gorgeous XKE FHC Coupe with Factory A/C project that runs VIDEO So Cal DRY“. I wouldn’t call it gorgeous and it only momentarily starts on starting fluid.  The seller also admonishes, “Please keep in mind that this is a project car. It is not a new car and will not be fresh and perfect like that new soul-sucking Camry your Aunt Betty drives. If that’s what you are after, this is not your era, nor your car“. I would agree, this is a project that is going to need a lot of attention and $$$. The seller states in the video, that there’s a lot of effort involved in finding a barn find and acquiring it. While that’s true, finding it and flipping it, won’t be half the effort needed to turn this sow’s ear back into a silk purse, wouldn’t you agree?


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  1. Laurence

    Just a few words about the power: 265 bhp was the output of the Series I cars, as well as that of the Series II cars NOT shipped to North America. Starting in 1968 the American export E Types got 246 ponies, but that very quickly deteriorated with a rapid increase in power-robbing changes to meet increasingly stringent emissions numbers. By 1971, the 4.2 litre E Type engine, with its twin non-adjustable Zenith-Strombergs, full exhaust gas recirculation, lowered compression (to 7.9:1 from 9), much wider valve settings, ash recovery and so on, had lost about a quarter of its original power output. To disguise it a bit, the gearing was lowered…but your 150 mph E Type could now only barely reach 125. Anyone considering a full restoration of this elegant classic, might want to consider a non-strangled engine–be it an engine swap or rebuilding the original motor to non-strangled specifications…and possibly doing something about the gearing… This car deserves to be restored properly, but it will be costly. It all depends on the skills and knowledge of the new owner, and how deep his or her pockets might be.

    Like 8
    • Stephen Nelson

      Exhaust gas recirculation??? Not on this car.

      Like 1
      • Laurence

        Yes, Stephen Nelson, ALL American Series II export E Types had EGR. For ’68 and ’69 the EGR was only necessary from the rear exhaust manifold and into the intake/inlet manifold. Part way through 1970, to meet lower emission numbers, all of the exhaust’s gas had to be recirculated into a wider black pipe going over the top of the engine, which you can see in the picture. Some Series II cars don’t have any EGR because the system was removed and conventional Series 1 exhaust manifolds have been installed…to give the engine a bit more power.

        Like 2
  2. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Is that a factory color? These are beautiful cars, however, that looks like a lot of rust hiding in places on this one.

    Like 5
  3. gaspumpchas

    Yea Rough diamond those shots of the bottom are troubling. By the looks of the bubbling this looks like a mud queen. You would want to let an expert evaluate. Looks like a lot of suspect bids also. Know what you are buyimg. Good luck and happy motoring.

    Like 3
  4. Matt H. Member

    *Paging Wayne Carini* ​ Survivor or organ donor?

    WWWD (What Would Wayne Do)

    I think we know the sad truth on this former beauty :(

    Like 4
    • Chris

      Organ Donor

      Like 4
  5. DeeBee

    Looks like someone saw “XKE” and immediately saw dollar signs instead of the reality of the situation. Inspect with a fine tooth comb, preferably with a friend (better a mechanic) with extensive knowledge of the machine before taking the dive.
    Good luck!

    Like 1
  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    When the tow rope is painted the same color as the car you have to know all is not right in XKE land.

    Like 10
  7. Gerard Frederick

    A disaster waiting to inflict disastrous damage on anyones wallet.

    Like 3
  8. MGSteve

    Love the tow rope observation!

    Like 4
  9. Jetfire88

    Just clarifying the production figure response.
    Drop Head Coupe is a convertible, this is a Fixed Head Coupe (FHC).

    Like 5
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Thought one thing and wrote another, fixed now.



  10. Kurt

    Yes gads what a color! Isn’t that International Emergency Yellow, or something?

    Like 2
  11. MGSteve

    I’m not trying to defend that arrrrrrrrful color . . . BUT, I wonder . . . There is an official Jaguar color “Primrose Yellow”. Also used on the MGB GT (that’s where I know it from). I’ve taken photos of my car, and am shocked what some photos (no doubt the lighting) due to the color of my “beautiful” paint job. Makes me wanna puke. I kind of doubt it, cuz the paint job looks like #$%^&*, but I suppose it is possibly not as bad in person????

  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Looks like someone extracted a couple of gallons of paint out the back door of the Bluebird Bus Factory.

    Even MAACO and Earl would be embarrassed with this mess.

    Like 2
  13. chrlsful

    “spray over that rust. move it out da door” yellow.
    I came cuz I sought something I’d B happy in the garage, not this 1. Is that a super charger on top? (No, now I C – doc v/c). & ac unit?

  14. charlie Member

    The factory yellow was a pale yellow, it matched the hair of a female friend of mine whose Daddy bought her a convertible. She invited me to go to a rock festival at some place in NY called Woodstock, with her, and I could drive the Jag. Being a responsible 28 year old, I had to work, in retrospect I could have found someone to sub for me that Thursday evening. So, she invited a good friend of both of us, (who she later married), they got “almost” there, did not dare to leave this car beside the road, and shacked up in a motel instead. He told me that he had a wonderful time, even though they never made it to the festival. (I did like the car more than her, so I guess it was all fair.) But taxi yellow is all wrong.

    Like 2
  15. Neil Bachers

    I couldn’t watch the video- the first warning was the pile of rat leavings in the grille on the opening frame. When they got to the car, the crunch of them walking over the piled-up rat leftovers around the car made me shut it down. Hantavirus, anyone? The car looks like a rat sewage toxic waste site.

    Welcome to my nightmare.

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