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Deal Breaker: 1970 Jaguar XK-E Barn Find

1970 Jaguar E Type Survivor

Update – The listing for this Jaguar has been removed from Hemmings, so we would assume it sold. We hope that everything checks out on this car for the new owner’s sake.

The Jaguar E-Type has to be on our top list of dream barn finds. With their swoopy lines and big inline six there are not too many cars that compare. It is getting hard to find unrestored examples that are in decent shape though. Well, reader Jim S just sent in this 1970 Jaguar XK-E which he found while digging through Hemmings. The seller is asking $17,995, but it may just be worth every penny…

1970 Jaguar E Type Survivor Interior

We would miss the toggle switches, headlights, and seats from the Series 1, but this Series 2 is really making us forget those small details. This car still has the wonderful 4.2 inline six which was introduced in 1965 attached to a four speed manual transmission. When these cars where new they competed with the likes of Aston Martin and Ferrari, yet cost a fraction of the price.

1970 Jaguar E Type Survivor Seats

This is the shot that shocked us. This car supposedly sat for 26 years, yet look at those seats. They look like no one has even sat in them. The seller also states that the car is a rust-free California example with a clear title. The only thing here that has us scratching our heads is that they also mention that the mechanical condition is unknown.

1970 Jaguar E Type Survivor Rear

The condition of the drivetrain is the deal breaker here. If the engine turns over freely, it may be able to made to run without too much work. Replace all the fluids, clean out the old fuel, and replace some hoses. If there are any major issues though, this car would go from being a good buy to a money pit. These cats were complicated machines and engine or transmission repairs could get expensive.

1970 Jaguar E Type Survivor Front

We wish the seller had provided a little more information here. Like why was it parked 26 years ago? Have they tried to start it? Why is it in a warehouse with a bunch of wrecked cars? Lots of questions here. Also, it looks like the seller may be a dealer. Still, if you are in the Sun Valley, California area it might be worth contacting the seller to take a look. This is either a marketing gimmick, or it is one of the most original surviving Series 2 E-Types around.


  1. Jeff V.

    I’m in love!

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  2. Jeff V.

    Insurance chop shop? might be right about checking drive-train could be awaiting a transplant from a wrecked donor.

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  3. Corey

    Sun Valley is the home of the chop shop. I’d be leery of this one.

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  4. gareth

    Looks like 1 possibly 2 dents in the bodywork and also some interior missing? If you’ve got the time esp taking a gamble on the engine. Could be worth it also depends on what paperwork/history is there not there….

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  5. jumpinjimmy

    I bought a series II jag last year and it was one the biggest automobile disappointments of my life. My car was a really well preserved model with low miles and it had a strong running 4.2 liter six. No real issues apparent when I bought it. But what you don’t realize is that these things don’t run well for long. Mine broke down on me almost every time I took it out and I got to where I was afraid to drive it. Never anything dramatic….alternator, bad wiring issues here and there, but always something. Really, it’s down to just poor design and build. Also, if you’re over 5′ 10″, don’t even consider one of these, or you’re in for the most uncomfortable ride imaginable. I finally sold it 2 weeks ago…all smiles and waves as the new owner drove off. He phoned 10 minutes later, broken down and engine overheated. Talk about deja vue…..luckily, it was only the belt to the water pump that broke, so no big deal, but ominous, just the same. I’ll never buy another jag.

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  6. Pat

    Jimmy,Please don’t spoil my dream with reality….

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  7. Corey

    I’m with Pat here. I always wanted one of these with a 350 conversion. All the looks and none of the Lucas Electrics and Leyland engine building.

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  8. E.J.

    Jimmy,Thanks for keeping it real! I had a couple friends in high school who had them and they were a kick to drive but then they were nearly new. As much as I’d love to own one of those, I think i’d regret it in the long run.

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  9. Bas

    An old Jaguar that looks good and might drive for $18.000. OR an Aston Martin that has the same charm as a chin full of acne, that will definitely NOT run, for 10 x the amount????????My Citroen DS 19 in 1967 never broke down, my friends E-Type in the same year had to be rescued, twice a week. My DS was used, it was a 1963,his E-type was new and still not that cheap ( this was in Holland) but less money that exotic Italian vehicles. It was a toss up between a Lancia Flaminia super legera or the E-type.The Jaguar was for me and still is ,one of the most disappointing vehicles in my reliability calender. Now 44 years later in Vancouver Canada, I am still driving a Citroen DS 19 this is a 1971 she is still going strong.Vive La France.A last message to the new owner of the E-type, you can always look at it and enjoy those lines.Merry Christmas to everybody,how lucky we ALL are to have this website.Bas.

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  10. Pat

    BTW, a local guy has a very well used E-type and has had it for 35 + years. He rebuilt it after it caught fire and installed a Ford inline 6. Guess he solved the durability issue.

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  11. Bas

    Hi Pat,Here in Vancouver,we actually had a company that was called:”Jaguars That Run”. They took beautiful rust free cars, put a Chevy, Lexus or Ford engine in it and they ran forever and are still running. They had to stop using that name for their company,but nevertheless those guys were fantastic and did more for Jaguar than anybody else.Bas.

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  12. Brad

    I own four Jags – an 01 Vanden Plas, an 03 XJ8, which both run like tops, a 76 Chevy converted XJ12C (yes, the Coupe!), and an 85 XJS HE.Guess which one is currently NOT running. :D

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  13. Doug M. Member

    OK, someone’s gotta jump in and defend the Jag! …I owned a 63 XKE coupe quite a few years ago, it had been sitting, not driven much. I cleaned it up, put a fresh paint job on it, and drove it for several years. I did most of my own maintenance, and don’t recall ever having a breakdown. I only sold it when my wife was pregnant and could not get in and out of it without help. I would do it again! (the Jag, not the baby!) Loved it!

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  14. Jeff V.

    I own a mint 96′ Jag XJR (inline 6-4L supercharged) 322 hp stock. I have owned Mercedes , BMW , Cadillac, Infinity, Lexus to compare. Nothing comes close to the “feel” you get when driving this classy, sexy, reliable & fast. All-in-all pure styling rocketship. FORD really cleaned up Jag’s reputation & the car, the mid 90’s Jag is the epitome. The 4L V-8 Jag switched to in 98′ was a big mistake (many problems i.e. plastic chain tensioners). I’ve heard the newer Jag 4.2L V8 (04′-11′) is much better but the styling was gone until this year in the XJ series, the new 5.0L V8 is great. I haven’t felt this excited about driving my car since HS (67′ Mustang fastback 390GT), at 53 it takes a lot to excite this car nut. And the ladies love my older XJR more than anything, more bang for the buck I guess ;) Merry Christmas everyone.

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  15. Jeff V.

    Link on the new Jag XJ serieshttp://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/Jaguar_XJ/

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  16. Chris

    Family friend started with a XK120MC bought used and needed work, especially on the electrics. He had it sorted out and reliable about a year later. Did all his own work. He loved the car, but it just required a lot of constant maintenance. Sold it and bought a 1963 XK E Series coupe. No improvement in reliability in 9 years. Another year with lots of time getting the problems solved. He finally got tired of all the required fiddley, fussy work and bought a Porsche 911S. College kid bought the XKE from him and it went for resale 6 months later needing a lot of work. The clutch replacement was what forced the sale. At one time you could buy solid XKE’s with blown clutchs for $2K+ if you wanted to do all the work yourself. When the car came on the market I asked the friend whether I should buy it. No way, too far gone in 6 months was the answer. It was driven in salt by the student which wrecked it.

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  17. Eric Breslow

    Sorry to be the counterpoint here but…. I have a 69 Jag XKE FHC thats been in the family since 1975. I drive the Jag at least once a month and maintain it well. It has 59k miles, factory a/c and power steering. I showed it at the Quail last August. The car has NEVER let me down. Ive never gotten stranded. Ive never not totally enjoyed driving the car. It’s fast for a classic, smooth and fun to drive. Sure if their not properly sorted they are complicated cars but when dialed in they are simply stunning. In the LA heat on a 90 degree day I can cruise with the AC on and the temp doesnt go over the M in norMal!Ericbreslowcollection.com

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  18. Chris

    Eric, I agree that an XKE properly maintained can and will be a reliable,delightful car to own. However all cars, and especially cars with complex systems or known weak spots, need regular attention to those areas to remain reliable. Jags have a reputation as having more “challenges” than most, but maintained properly the cars are reliable and a true delight. Just don’t get behind in the maintenance or drive them in the salt.

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  19. Bart

    In my opinion, this car is worth about $30K, assuming that it really is rust-free, or at least 99% rust free. i purchaed a 1969 Jag E type OTS in 2008 on Ebay..unrestored, original condition. It has been as dendable as any of my several cars owned over the decades, expect for Honda/Toyota makes. The jag I purchased had sat for 12 years in a garage…with a little carb work, some brake work and steering component fixes, it has run like a top! There is nothing that drives/sounds/excites like an E-type…it like taking a cute puppy for a walk, when taking her out for a sunday drive…everyone loves the nastalgia, art and engineering…fun, fun, fun…!

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  20. Madman

    I’m with Eric on this, assuming the E-type owner does two things: swap out the original troublesome parts (NOT the whole engine, that’s not necessary) and keep it maintained. William Lyons was known for going cheap on some parts that were tucked away, and that let him keep the price down but long-term operation suffered. Swap out some electrics, including the harness if you can, plus other known trouble spots and then enjoy driving. I’ve been driving my ’66 coupe for a few years since bringing it back to life and it’s never left me stranded (vs. the several times my much newer German car had to be put on the flatbed). And it is GREAT to drive, and the best conversation starter next to maybe a Golden Retriever puppy.

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  21. andy barber

    I bought a ’69 american import in 2004 (admittedly at a giveaway price) and did the minimum of work ( brake overhaul, welding, engine frame replacement, wiring loom, clutch (engine out job) heater refurb, but I have been driving her for 5 years now and it’s never let me down. they are simple cars, but they have to be used. if they stand around things seize up!

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  22. Eric Breslow

    I think thats the key to any car… If THEY STAND they seize up. Cars have to be exercised. You can’t let a car sit for six months or 20 years and expect to jump in and have no problems. Back to the E-type: I replaced the usual suspects. Put newer cooling fans with more blades. We did the restricter plate bypass in the late carbs. And my E is fast, fun and sounds great. By the way I disagree that these are simple cars. Have you ever really looked at linkages and such on an E. Complicated works of art!

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  23. Madman

    They were indeed more complex than most. My pal (who works on lots of E-types and other cars) says they were about 2x the complexity of their contemporaries such as Triumphs and Porsches — and hence there are a lot of ways to “fix” them incorrectly. He’s had to undo more than a bit of work by other people along the way. That may be another reason later E-type owners have had complaints.

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  24. andy barber

    ok. maybe not so simple. What I meant was that E’s are not beyond the realms of competent home mechanics. It’s all nuts and bolts, and most bits can be taken off and refurbished. (I wouldn’t like to take on a V12 engine rebuild though). My next job is to fit a 2:88 diff, as the American one is ridiculously geared. I’ve had the rear cage out before, and it’s all nuts and bolts!

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  25. bill


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  26. Madman

    I wouldn’t generalize it that way — I’d say that it’s important to find someone who has been properly trained and is willing to spend the time to do the job right. My engine work was done by a guy (British) who was trained by Jaguar engineers, while my mechanic (USA) had other training, works with British cars every day, and knows all their foibles and how to fix them. So get recommendations from people you trust before having someone unknown work on your classic.And to Andy, I’d say “Godspeed” to home mechanics — there are plenty of ways to learn how to do it right (books, people, hands-on). I would be careful taking a large assembly — or the whole car — apart without plenty of photos as to how it went together. There are many similar parts that shouldn’t be mixed up (such as bolts for the steering rack). It’s tempting to feel as though you’re making progress by pulling it all apart quickly, or even bagging and tagging the items by function. After you send the parts off to the platers in a batch, they’ll all come back in a bucket by plating type, not function. Then you’ll have to sort them out again, ideally with photo references (or superior brain power).

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  27. Chris

    Madman has a good point. I’m keeping an old Volvo running and I’m fortunate that IPD supplies not only the parts, but also a “how to” CD that includes some of the tricks on how to do it right. Hopefully CD’s of this type are also available from the Jaguar clubs or part sources. Special tools, although sometime expensive, are soemtime essential. A digital file as you go is a great idea.

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  28. Rich

    I bought a new 1969 XKE 2+2 when I got home from RVN. Kept it until about ’85. Jags do take a lot of tinkering. Didn’t have too much trouble with the electrics except for the 4TR box that would mysteriously do it’s thing. Kept a spare in the console. Engine never let me down, but the plastic tee between the carbs was a fire hazard. I was into every system the car had within about 40K. Be sure to run silicone brake fluid as the calipers will seize unless they are bled about every 6 months. It got to be a hate/love relationship so I let it go to a buddy who loved it. Maintenance hog and needs attention about once or twice a week.

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