Running Project: 1970 Jaguar E-Type Roadster

It seems that Jaguar E-Type Roadster project vehicles fall into two broad categories. Some are extraordinarily cheap but require major restoration, which will climb high into the five-digit territory. Others will cost their buyer more initially, but they represent a more straightforward restoration project that will consume less capital. This 1970 E-Type seems to fall into the second category. It runs and drives, and its cosmetic needs look to be relatively minor. If you’re like me, you find the E-Type Roadster to be one of the most attractive vehicles ever to roll off a production line anywhere. If you want to admit this one into your life, you will find it located in New Milford, Connecticut, and listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set a sale price of $59,500 for this classic. Once again, I need to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for spotting an iconic and desirable British sports car for us.

The Jaguar E-Type Roadster is renowned for two things. The first is its beautiful swooping lines, while the second is its ability to develop rust at the drop of a hat. Therefore, let’s address the question of rust as a priority. For potential buyers, the news appears to be positive. The owner supplies an underside shot of this Roadster, and it seems to be spotless and structurally sound. Externally, prone areas like the rockers and lower rear valance look clean, meaning that the buyer won’t be confronted with massive bills addressing rust problems. Its Old English White paint is original, and most of it holds a good shine. The buyer will face the task of repainting the hood and trunk lid, but I don’t think there is any other significant work required. The panels look straight, with no visible dents or bruises. The exterior trim and chrome are acceptable for a survivor-grade car, while the beautiful wire wheels appear perfect. With flawless glass, it seems that it will take little work to have this E-Type presenting at its best again.

If you were to offer me a choice between our feature car and a pristine V12-equipped Roadster, I would take this one every time. The V12 provides performance improvements, but those with the six under the hood are a better-balanced proposition as a driver’s vehicle. The 4.2-liter DOHC six-cylinder engine under the hood of this classic should be producing 266hp. Those British thoroughbreds find their way to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. That combination should allow this Roadster to cover the ¼ mile in 15.1 seconds before winding its way to 144 mph. For potential buyers, there is more good news with this classic. The owner says that it runs and drives, meaning that potential buyers could enjoy this classic immediately. Alternatively, they could tackle the cosmetic issues during the colder winter months and have this beauty ready for some wind-in-the-hair touring once the weather turns warm again.

When we turn our attention to this Roadster’s interior, the initial impression is that it shows some wear. However, the wear isn’t that bad and seems confined to the seats. With no rips or tears visible, I would be taking this Jag to a leather specialist as my first port of call. A person with some significant experience may be able to apply dyes and conditioners that would return the seats to their former glory. I would investigate this option first because an interior retrim will leave no change out of $4,000 and could go as high as $6,000. The rest of the interior trim looks to be in good condition, as does the carpet. What we can see of the dash looks promising, and there have been no obvious aftermarket additions beyond what appears to be a Nardi-style steering wheel. I would leave that wheel in place if I were tackling this restoration on a budget. It is possible to find reproduction wheels, but since they sell for over $800, it may be a case of leaving well enough alone.

At $59,500, this 1970 Jaguar E-Type Roadster is not what you would class as a cheap project car. However, its needs appear relatively minor and should be reasonably straightforward to address. If the buyer tackles its exterior flaws and a leather specialist can revive the interior without the need for a retrim, it should remain financially viable. With that work completed, I can see no reason why this car couldn’t command a value of more than $70,000 in today’s market. Have you ever longed to own a Jaguar E-Type Roadster? If so, would you consider giving this one a closer look?


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  1. joenywf64

    I would imagine the turning radius of these Jags is quite large when trying to make a u-turn.
    Must be recent new tires – with the downsizing trend to only 3 tread grooves going around the tire – what’s next?
    Even my 4 for $99 pep boys tires had 4 grooves – back in the day.

  2. SMS

    The wheelbase on the e type is shorter than my Camry so don’t be fooled thinking these are huge cars.

    Am with you Adam on choosing one that needs less work. It is not that these are difficult to work on. They do rust and many of them suffered from lack of use and poor maintance. Can get all the parts for them and other than rebuilding the motor haven’t found parts to be higher than most other cars.

    Also agree on the six. Have a 3.8 in my S type and love the sound.

    Like 3
  3. charlie Member

    Engines failed because the 21 quart sump discouraged people from paying for regular oil changes – the big oil compensating for the little cooling system radiator. I know because I bought an XK 150 S, used. Woman who owned it complained she could not afford the every 3000 mile oil changes. And, it was starting to rust. Bought and sold for $350, drove it an average of one week of 4, the other 3 waiting for a part, for 3 years. Had it towed several times. Never took it far from home. But OH what a ride when it ran!

  4. Lowell Peterson

    Restored several! NOT “easy to work on”, parts easy to get. Most Jags not carefully maintained is understood. Fabulous to drive. SoCal interior including top from E-Jag expert $14k recently paid. Looks perfect! High maintenance ? Yup! And well worth it! IMHO! CHEERS! P.S.: If you can’t afford an oil change take an Uber!

    Like 1
  5. Laurence

    Afam: looks like you didn’t read my comment for you in the last E Type to come up (the dark green one), concerning power outputs. Unlike that last E Type of the same year, this one has had its EGR removed, which does bring back a few ponies, but it still has the lower 1970 compression and wide valve clearances. Nice E Type, but it has come up before…not all that long ago…perhaps from another writer?…

    My ’69 E Type roadster doesn’t have a speck of rust, as over the last 53 years it has been garage-kept and never driven in snow. If cared for as a hobby and a treat for nice weather days, it won’t develop rust. If treated in a utilitarian manner, that’s another story.

    • Laurence

      Errata: I meant “Adam” above. Sorry for the typo!

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