Ready To Restore: 1970 Jaguar E-Type Coupe

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How many big cats are still lurking in garages, unrestored? Every time I think we might be running out, another one slinks into view. Here on eBay is a 1970 Jaguar XKE 4.2 coupe for restoration, bid to $5250, reserve not met. This car is offered by a restoration shop in Lockhart, Texas that specializes in Jaguar E-types, and it is also advertised here on Hemmings for $30,000 or best offer. This is a series II, from a production run that began in 1968 and ended in 1971. By now, US regulators were diligently subtracting the fun and style from cars – reducing power, wrecking bumpers, and in the case of this car, eliminating the elegant headlamp covers and toggle switches. (If this were a wire wheel car, no eared knockoff! Boring hexagons and an unwieldy wrench for you!)

Despite verbiage in both ads that suggests making a phone call to set up a test drive, I can tell ya right now that’s not possible: no motor! Of course, that’s just going to provoke calls for an “LS swap!” – who will be the first to bring that up in the comments below? The loss of the motor will be a permanent disappointment to the “matching numbers” crowd; fortunately, this isn’t an outside bonnet-lock, flat floor, welded louver car, or someone might be arrested for this sin. We can see a couple of patch panels in here; another photo shows what looks like a new bit of floor, and the seller mentions rust in the trunk as well. Still, the rest of the car is said to be California-rust-free.

The interior has seen better days. Here’s the instrument panel with those awful rocker switches, protecting driver and passenger from snagging a switch with a sleeve, and oh woe! accidentally turning on the headlamps. The cargo area – where you store your golf clubs, hunting dogs, luggage for the weekend retreat, and tools for the inevitable breakage – no wait! none of that! ok maybe the luggage – is pretty tattered.

The underside isn’t perfectly straight in all respects, but you’re going to need a full restoration so what the heck. Next up: what’s the value proposition? I like the coupes, but plenty of folks won’t even turn around unless it’s a roadster. Let’s say you love the coupe. A full restoration to show quality will be every bit of $200k if you don’t lift a finger on this yourself, and you still have a non-matching numbers car. Or, you could DYI and spend only several tens of thousands on parts. Or, you could buy an acceptable example for about $60k, give or take. What’ll it be?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Love the XKE coupes but not this one for that price. Your numbers look right on the money Michelle.

    Like 4
  2. A.G.

    If I had the money the price wouldn’t matter then or today. The idea “this would make an ideal project for the home restorer” is laughable. A potential buyer is offered the chance to discuss the seller’s restoration options. Someone is already upside down.

    Like 6
  3. Slomoogee

    The restoration shop that has this coupe has already done the calculations for you on this one.

    Like 11
  4. Greg A

    There are many flavors of the XKE and this one is at the least desirable end of the scale. Interesting that a restoration shop is getting rid of this one. They know it’s not economical to fix it, hence “or best offer”.

    Like 5

    hey ,i have all the parts missing REASONABLE but 30k !no i don’t think we have a sale in TEXAS .i’ll put this puppy on the watch list ,my coupe is $137.500 and series one ,will be a long time before sr11’s come close if it were a series one every bit of 30k

    Like 1
  6. Michael Anderson

    In considering your options to justify the purchase to your significant other you missed one factor for the self driven process. All the fun! NOT. Having done a lot of the work one projects myself, I would be concerned I would not live to see it completed. But it is tempting.

    Like 2
    • david hess

      Cars don’t have motors, cars have engines. A vacuum cleaner has a motor.

      Like 1
  7. RichardinMaine

    A Primrose Yellow Series 2 roadster in very good condition just went for $62 K on BAT last week, and should have bought 20 thousand more. The market is cooling.
    That being said, this version, this condition, and that price, rates a NOPE from this Jaguar enthusiast.

    Like 4
  8. RIX260

    I agree with Slomoogee. The restoration shop with the knowledge, expertise and equipment to restore this project is taking a pass. He is already upside down and looking for the next fool. Not even with a matching numbers engine is this project worth $30K.

    Like 4
    • tompdx

      If it had the engine … it would be close!

      Like 0

    series twos go up and down like yo yo’s , yes the market is not good, did more than slip .but the series 1 early bringing the bigger bucks .65 to 67 real good $$$$$, those are not going down .can get decent sr11;s in the 30’s 40’s its called hunting .

    Like 2
  10. Glemon

    I am usually that guy that says an enthusiastic with more time than money can do wonders if the have patience and perseverance, but …This car though, late series II, rust, no motor, $30k. But you really don’t have to reach much farther to get one of these you can enjoy much sooner and with much less investment in money and or sweat equity.

    Like 0
    • Michael Anderson

      Jaguars like many cars exist to be driven, for want of a better concept their souls are nourished by being driven. To borrow a line from another: A Jag is a terrible thing to waste.

      Like 0
  11. Greg in Texas

    If it can’t be original drivetrain, and a donor straight Jag 6 engine isn’t loose someplace, BMW straight 6 drivetrain might be interesting. A custom valve cover of some kind might dress it nicely. With fuel injection and CDI ignition keeping it clean and a reliable driver.

    Like 0

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