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Forgotten Cat: 1970 Jaguar E-Type

This Jag was destined for a new home overseas when slow paperwork stopped the sale. Now, it sits once again waiting for a prospective buyer to start the restoration of one of the world’s most memorable British sports cars. This 1970 E-Type coupe is a true two-seater with a powerful 4.2L straight-six up front. Wouldn’t you like to be the first one to turn the ignition key after returning this neglected cat to its original glory? Find it for sale here on craigslist by Main Street Motors, a classic car dealer in New Jersey, for $14,500.

The ad mentions that this car came from an estate. The car hasn’t been run since 1991, but it’s a desirable configuration. The two-seat models are lighter than the 2+2, and this one comes with a four-speed manual and optional power steering. The U.S. version of these cars were de-tuned compared to its European counterpart, with twin Strombergs as opposed to the triple SUs found overseas. Other changes found in this Series 2 model includes different seats, exposed headlights and a re-designed dash. Many of these changes were mandated for U.S. safety regulations.

The Series 2 did benefit from some performance enhancements, largely tied to cooling. An enlarged mouth at the front helped with engine cooling, as did a larger radiator and twin electric cooling fans. Stopping performance was improved with larger calipers front and rear. To improve driveability, a lower ratio in first gear helped with smoother departures from a dead stop, but the 263 lb. ft. of torque on tap ensured keeping up with traffic was never a problem. Since this car hasn’t run in many years, we’d plan on a carb rebuild and tending to the finicky British electronics.

The seller says that this car is 100% complete despite not running, but it does appear to be fairly straight. All of the car’s wire wheels are accounted for, and the black leather interior is in better nick than expected. However, the tires look dry-rotted and the old-school New Jersey license plate gives some indication to just how long this cat has sat. On the upside, the glass is intact, the chrome appears salvageable, and the Smiths gauges are all accounted for. Whether they’re still functioning is another matter all together.

This is what this car could look like one day. In the 1970s, the Jaguar E-Type stood in rare company as a sports car that didn’t sacrifice creature comforts for performance. With light weight, an independent coil spring rear suspension, and bigger brakes, Series 2 cars offer the engineering genius of the Series 1 model with improved reliability. Only 3,786 Series 2 LHD coupes were made, so despite its dusty demeanor, this car is worth bringing back. Of course, no mention is made of any rust, so fingers crossed that the underside is as straight as the exterior. With a top speed of almost 150 m.p.h., it’s hard not to imagine breaking a few rules in an E-Type – assuming it doesn’t break the bank account. Do you think this old cat is worth the asking price?


  1. Bob

    This is the last of the 4.2. after this one they went to V12.

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  2. J. Pickett

    I’d like to buy it and just get it back on the road. If the underside and greasy bits are ok. Polish and cleaning would keep it original, or nearly so.

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  3. james d

    I restored a 1970 ots a few years ago. the main thing to check is a leak in the rear main seal, which after sitting this long there certainly will be. The real booger on these is rust, especially the inner and outer sills. the top end money on one of these is probably $40k and at a selling price of $14k it’s going to be tough to make that work.

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  4. BOB

    I wonder when it was swapped from right to left hand drive , or whether it is the same car in all pictures

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  5. Richard

    @ Bob: The author says “this is what the car COULD look like one day”, meaning that last pic was of a completely different (and fully restored and cared for) car vs the topic of this post.

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  6. Horse Radish

    I am so sorry. but Jaguars never had the best reputation.
    And although I absolutely love the design, style, looks, you name it on t h i s c a r,
    WHEN did this happen, that these unreliable and unwanted “ugly ducklings” all of a sudden became everybody’s favorite “swans” ????

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  7. tom minch

    I want the 120 coupe next to it. It is the most beautiful car ever made….

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  8. Chris H.

    I’m all for a barn find, but please, please, please wash the damn thing before you post pictures.

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  9. Tom

    Tom Minch, I agree. I want the XK120. Forget the E type

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