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Rust-Free Project: 1971 Jaguar E-Type Roadster

It’s pretty common for Jaguar E-Type project cars to land on our desks here at Barn Finds, and the vehicles in question have often developed some significant rust issues. That makes this 1971 Roadster a breath of fresh air. There’s no arguing that it would benefit from a total restoration, but it is one of those cases where the buyer will commence to process with a rock-solid foundation. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder rex m for spotting this fantastic classic for us. The Jag is located in Fountain Valley, California, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set a sale price of $42,500 for the Roadster.

This Jaguar has spent the past thirty-three years in storage, but it doesn’t appear to have suffered unduly from the experience. The Regency Red paint is faded and loaded with imperfections, but returning it to a pristine state would be no more difficult or expensive than any other classic car of this vintage. Evidence suggests that the car may have received a repaint at some point, and it may even have undergone a color change. The Black soft-top is sagging in spots, and the back window is heavily clouded, so the buyer will probably choose to replace the top entirely. The panels are surprisingly straight, suggesting that it has not been unduly abused during its lifetime. Some chrome pieces demonstrate possible pitting and imperfections, but it would take an in-person inspection to determine what would respond positively to polish and which items might benefit from a trip to the platers. I’ve saved the best until last in this case because it appears that this E-Type is a rust-free survivor. Nothing is visible in any of the usual spots like the rockers, lower rear quarter panels, or the valance. The underside shots reveal that it appears that the Jag was undercoated at some point, and the floors look remarkably clean and structurally sound.

Unfortunately, the owner supplies no engine shots, but he does provide plenty of encouraging news about the car’s mechanical specifications and health. He discovered the car in storage, and it had occupied that spot since 1988. Once he dragged it into the light of day, he found that the E-Type features the 4,235cc DOHC six-cylinder engine that would have produced 246hp in its prime. Those horses found their way to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. Power and performance dropped slightly for the 1971 model year, but this car should still be capable of covering the 15.1 seconds once it is in sound mechanical health. That doesn’t mean that this classic doesn’t currently run and drive. The owner has worked through a revival process that included flushing and cleaning the fuel system, flushing the hydraulic system, replacing the tires and battery, plus many other minor tasks. He says that the Jag now runs and drives and that the brakes work. Whether it is ready to hit the road is unclear, but it appears that potential buyers will be considering a car that is a known quantity. It won’t be a case of buying a non-running vehicle with question marks over items like engine health.

When we turn our attention to this E-Type’s interior, we are confronted with another aspect of the car that is largely complete but needs a refresh. Most of the upholstered surfaces have seen better days, the carpet is missing, and the overall impression is that the buyer will face a complete retrim. All of the parts are easy to find, but this is likely to hurt the hip pocket quite severely. Depending on the supplier, all of the trim and hardware will cost between $4,000 and $6,000, which could make your eyes water. However, considering the potential value locked away in this classic, that could be money well spent.

The Jaguar E-Type Roadster will always attract attention because they are a gorgeous car. This one shows promise as a restoration because the buyer isn’t faced with the prospect of spending thousands of dollars trying to resolve severe rust problems. Depending on how they tackle the work, it could be a car worth a significant chunk of change once the work is complete. A meticulously detailed restoration should easily see the value head into six-figure territory. With a fresh coat of paint and a refurbished interior, it could still command a value north of $70,000 with little effort. It isn’t a cheap project car, but the potential rewards are waiting for the right person with the correct approach. Could you be that person?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Sale price is a bit hefty considering the amount of work and money it’s going to require to get back to it’s original condition but at least you don’t have to weld the chassis back together. Even if the paint isn’t the original color it sure looks good on this car.

    Like 2
  2. Mikefromthehammer

    How I wish I had the dough to buy this car and then restore it completely. It is my dream car a red E-type convertible. (Not a fan of the closed coupes – the roof has an odd shape to it according to my eyes).

    Like 3
  3. Mike

    I wonder what the covered car is behind the Jag? MGB GT?

    Like 4
  4. Andy

    I always loved the E-type. But suddenly it looks a bit strange.

    Like 0
  5. Lowell Peterson

    Its a definite candidate! Fix up and drive, but restore? No money in that, but worth it as a keeper. I have done many and am retired but close by if someone needs an inspection. Cheers!

    Like 1
  6. Tin Box

    Looking at the floor it appears to be a door swap rather than a colour change. A quick peek behind the dash center panel confirm. Factory AC is a bit of a bonus for anyone in the southern states. For once it actually looks like a decent base to start with.

    Like 1
    • tompdx

      There is a photo of the inside of the trunk/spare tire well in the craigslist ad – this car was definitely silver.

      Like 0
  7. Mark Member

    I agree with Lowell! I have owned a 61, 69 and 74 and they were nice drivers.
    If you restore, you will be thinking about ALL of those bucks you just spent and it will take the job out of ownership.

    Drive it and enjoy!

    Like 1
  8. tompdx

    It’s a money maker if you do the interior and top yourself. I’m guessing $10k to get it prettied up to that degree and it isn’t that difficult. Then “ferry dust” the existing paint job as best you can, and drive and enjoy it a year or two. Then make $20k when you sell it.

    Like 0
  9. mainlymuscle

    “……could you be that person ? ” Most indubitably . I have contacted the seller,waiting to hear back.Anyone who doesn’t think this is a deal , hasn’t been paying attention.This roadster is the perfect starting point for my backdated E type , to match my 69 2 +2 ,with the series 1 bumper and enclosed headlights , as well as series one taillights mounted below the bumper.Even the purists love my car

    Like 3
  10. Frank

    True mileage is unknown? No paperwork? Unless your a Jag mechanic runaway. This could be expensive if the engine needs an overhaul.

    Like 0

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