No Reserve: V8-Powered 1963 Jaguar E-Type

Here’s the brother to the E-Type we just featured. This is a Series 1 though and it could be the crown jewel of the late owner’s collection. It may be a little rough around the edges, but it’s insanely beautiful and, with V8 power, a handful to drive. Keep reading for more details. It’s located in our shop near Boise, Idaho and is listed here on eBay with a $1 starting bid and no reserve!

In place of the original inline-six there’s an American V8! After talking to the owner’s friend, we learned that the car came to him with the conversion already done. The engine was old and tired by the time he got it though so he pulled it out and completely rebuilt everything. He also installed a new cooling system and two four-barrel carburetors on top!

After pumping the old fuel out and installing a new battery we fired this beast back up! We were able to drive the car around the lot, but the brakes and throttle linkage are going to need some attention before any serious journeys can be made. We also heard the the cooling system may need some work. She puts out some serious power though and sounds great doing it!

The body is going to need some work too. The silver paint looks beautiful in person and in photos, but closer inspection reveals some bad prep work. We didn’t find any serious damage or rot, but the paint is definitely going to be redone eventually. The glass is all in good condition and the trim is all there.

There are more custom touches inside. The seats have been reupholstered and there’s a four-speed Hurst shifter poking up out of the transmission tunnel. The wood rimmed steering wheel is a rough, but adds  character. There’s a custom stereo and some auxiliary ports in the glove box. The gas pedal has a tendency to stick when pushed to the floor though so some work will need to be done there.

This XKE is a beautiful car. There’s no doubt about it. Some may scoff at the V8 conversion and custom interior, but I believe that this could be a reliable and extremely fun driver without too much effort. On the other hand, it would be worth a lot more money with a stock drivetrain back in place. Which route would you take?

Click here for even more photos!

Previous posts about this car:
Part 1 – SNEAK PEEK: Amazing Backyard Find!
Part 2 – The Backyard Jags Are Ready To Go!

UPDATE: A few people asked about the floors, so I got underneath with a screwdriver and poked around. The flaky stuff handing down is definitely undercoating and not Bondo as some commenters have suggested below. There is some corrosion, but no holes that I could find. I also inspected the front frame rails and they do appear to be modified. The work is well done though and I couldn’t find any signs of rust, so if the next owner wants to leave the V8 in there, they should be fine. Switching back to an inline six would require new rails. As far as the body goes, there is obviously some filler with all the custom work done. The seams on the top of the hood have been filled and I found a few areas with some above the rear fenders and lower rockers. These surely had some straight from the factory? The magnet stuck all the way around the parameter of the front grill opening. This car is far from perfect, but seems like much better place to start for a custom or restoration than many of the projects we have seen lately. Also, there was a question about the body number. The VIN on the title matches up to the tag on the firewall. We will upload a photo of that too.

Fast Finds


  1. Bob_S

    Hi Jesse,
    Were any of the engine frame rails cut/welded or modified? Jaguar specifically stated that the engine frame rails were not to be repaired. They also rot from the inside out. If that is a GM V8, then engine frame rails are most likely modified for the engine to fit. The only American V8 engine that I know that will fit without modifying the engine frame rails is a Ford 289/302.

    • Jesse Staff

      They don’t look cut or modified to me. It’s a tight fit in there though. There’s a custom bracket between the motor mounts that looks professionally done. We will try take more photos this week.

      • Jesse Staff

        Plus, if someone has the resources to restore this back to factory spec, they will most likely bolt on a while new sub frame anyway. They are available and better than new.

  2. Rick

    Could be cool, could be a money pit too. That dashboard is a disgrace. Lots of extra wires strung without regard under there, too. Still… it has potential so long as the frame was solid.

    • Bruce Best

      A new wiring loom is just a credit card away via UPS and is not that expensive. I would most certainly do that anyway as this year the English were still using natural rubber insulation on their wires. That DOES NOT LAST and should be replaced as soon a purchased. I have seen more than one go up in flames from a dash or under hood electrical fire.

      • Ross W. Lovell

        Greetings All,

        Not sure that the natural rubber isn’t an improvement over the cloth covered, paraffin dipped Barnes of 1965!

  3. jake

    Yeah be real wise idea to seriously check out the frame rails as was mentioned before as they will rot from inside out and can also have small cracks that are not easy to spot. Just wondering how much bondo is in the bonnet as someone has smoothed it out to run without the bumpers!!!

    Like 1
  4. ccrvtt

    I had always heard that the 283 conversion was lighter, more powerful, & more reliable. I also thought it was sacrilege to remove the dohc 6, but as long as someone else had done the transplant…

    And finally, it’s an E-type. Who doesn’t want one?

    • Dave Wright

      Your note made me curious… seemed to me that a 283 could be heavier than a small block with a larger bore. I looked for a reference but could not find one. In a rifle, a barrel with a larger bore and the same outside dimension is lighter. You could probably make a bigger difference using lightweight accessories and off course, aluminum heads would make a big difference but it is an interesting question. My buddy (Hello Bruce) is installing a aluminum small block in his engineless Ferrari out of a late model Cadillac/GTO that should save a lot of weight and it has a ton of power.

  5. Bob_S

    Upon a closer look at the frame rails they do look to be highly modified. The throttle linkage is attached to the modified frame rail tube. The for/aft tube should be below the diagonal tube.
    Look at this picture

    And compare it to this picture. The driver side front is on the left, and front of the car would be up.×680.jpg

    • Jesse Staff

      I’m not seeing it Bob, but I’ll take more photos this week for all those interested. Thanks.

  6. Bob_S

    Hi Jake,
    The bonnet (hood) also is missing the chrome strips between the finders and center section. The chrome strip brakes up the curvature of the fender to center section. That area of the bonnet is actually somewhat flat. So there has to be a fair amount of filler there too. The mouth of the bonnet also appears to be wrong shape, more filler. A new bonnet is about $10K, then another $5 to $7K for a new set of frame rails – 2 frame rails, picture frame and bonnet support. It all adds up quickly.

    • tirefriar

      Some great info there, Bob. Once the grille openings are smacked on these, its really a bitch to get them radiused correctly. Most body techs used filler to repair these, hence we get what we see – distortion.

    • jake

      The prices of bonnets has gone up considerably since I’ve left the parts business!!!! Guess 3 years changes a lot, but yeah probably lot of bondo as doubt the person that put a SBC or whatever in to a SI E type wouldn’t have gone much for originality. Underside pictures looks as if may be a bag of worms for whoever really tried to redo this car. Looks to me as if a complete rotisserie resto be in order if you were really gonna do this car justice and now we are talking major money and time. I’d stay away unless I had deep pockets and the guys in Kalamazoo made sure I do not have the funds! I see that they don’t even list bonnets on their web site anymore, such a shame as Terry’s Jaguar Parts was once a great business!!! Good luck to who ever gets this and lots of work and $$$ ahead!!!

    • Jesse Staff

      Hey Bob, are you actually interested in the car or are you just trying to scare everyone off? Please don’t make assumptions without seeing more photos of the frame and underside. We aren’t trying to fool anyone.

      • Norm

        This could be a real kool car if someone were to take it completely apart and start from scratch and build a well engineered ,solid and reliable Brit/Yank road burner . Mix in some original trim and wider wheels with sticky tires and hold on ! No one disses Carroll Shelby for turning Sunbeam Alpines and A.C Aces into Tigers and Cobras ( Or Morgan for dropping aluminum Buick V-8 ‘s in their Plus 8 for that matter ! ) .

        Like 1
  7. Blyndgesser

    The seller doesn’t care enough to tell us what sort of V8 it is. It looks like an SBC to me, but even that embraces a wide range of possibilities.

    • Jesse Staff

      Josh and I are handling the sale for the family Blyndgesser. It’s a 350 and I included the block number in the photo gallery. Looks like it’s a ’77. We didn’t receive any documention so we are just doing our best to present everything as it is. Thanks.

      • Blyndgesser

        Thanks for the clarification.

  8. Francisco

    This is an interesting find and probably a good deal for a Jag lover, no matter what they plan to do with it. Some of the so-called purists who subscribe to Barn Finds are picky to the point of being really boring. Chill, guys, and give Jesse some credit for using creative imagination.

    • jake

      Just trying to point out to really check out the frame rails before doing a full hard stomping run with the car!!! Actually with just the right bit of sorting out, this would be a great way to get into an E type S1-without the major hi dollar entry fee usually associated with a car like this!!! And that said would probably be a kick to drive. But just gotta realize –it is not a Camaro or any old chevy everybody has worked on before!!! Lot’s of things to look at and consider!! But hats off to Jesse and his brother to deal with selling it for the family, hope the best for them!!!

  9. JDJonesDR

    Somehow I think this is going to go for more than some of us may realize. For somebody with a few bucks to spend that isn’t concerned about a concurs finish this thing could be a lot of fun.

  10. Bob_S

    Hi Jesse,
    Sorry i came off negative but, there are a lot of people who know nothing about what they are looking at / biding on. I just want them to no that there are items that need to be looked at. If you know what you are doing this could be a good deal. But be prepared to spend some money to make it right.

    • dgrass

      Hey Bob, thanks for the information. Those floor pans and rockers slathered in bondo scare the bejeesus out of me.

      @Jesse, no offense meant.

  11. Van

    The mismached tires look stupid. Anybody know how much difference that makes on a car with non racing tires.

  12. Dan

    I love it. Wish I could get it and stick decals on it like a drag racer, as that stance and wheels make it look like it is ready for the quarter mile! Maybe some wheelie bars!

  13. Dean

    I like it..certainly an attention late, dollar short

  14. Richard

    It wouldn’t be the first time someone put american muscle under the hood and made a car better. I understand classic, but this is a hotrod! Enjoy it as is! Looks like a lot of fun!

  15. BMW4RunninTundra

    Why do so many, have to be so negative?! I have noted this on more occasions than I care to remember. Anybody, that’s on this site, knows cars. While we count on each other to pick up and point out things that are in their “specialty” of auto knowledge, why do some have to be SO negative about it?! I have been reading, getting an education from this site for years! As soon as I could show my appreciation, I joined (as in PAID membership) I did so. I must say though, with all the negativity in the world, I really have no desire to come to one of my favorite sites just to get a heavy dose of even more!!!!! These guys bust their a$$’s to give us a fantastic site. How about showing some respect to them and to us readers?? Respect doesn’t mean NOT voicing your opinion or giving us the education of your wisdom, it just means doing it in a non negative manner!
    As for the Jag, I like them, but I prefer them stock. No matter, I’ll never afford one so I will just do what I do with most vehicle I like, enjoy them vicariously!
    Jesse/Josh – exceptional Staff members – THANK YOU!

  16. Otto Matic

    Fairly certain I took a ride in this car about 15years ago in Tempe AZ. Might be a good idea to call Glen at the MG Shop, and see if this is the same silver coupe they did a conversion on.

  17. Doug Towsley

    I find it interesting as well the overt negativity about this listing as well as many others over the years. But this is a site listing by staff and still being attacked when it was made REALLY clear the circumstances. What the hey???

    Haters gonna hate I guess.

    I also find it interesting the negative connotations associated with the Bondo-Body filler commentary. I think there is a bit of ASSUME going on which generally means ASS out of U & ME. You might say,,, I WONDER what was used to fill the body lines? But until you run a magnet over it or a FPI you dont know. For all you tossers know it was sculpted by Von Dutches Brother with hand formed unobtainium and lead. Or road signs from Route 66.

    (Thats not far fetched,, I have a friend who restores Bentlys, Rolls and Jags and not at all uncommon to see old road signs formed into body panels.) I saw a Ferrari Race car as well at PIR and the owner showed me the roadsign body panels on his car as well. Still in Italian and readable.

    Personally I think its a super cool car, and projects like this are exciting, Thanks for the entertainment. Wish I could afford it. Its already at $18,000 and climbing like a rocket.

    • dgrass

      @Doug, I appreciate the time and efforts put into the site and its content. But can’t we just call filler out for what it is without political correctness being drug into the mix?

      • Doug Towsley

        Dgrass Its very possible it IS full of Cheap KMart Bondo, its also possible its filled with Clay from the Umatilla Indian reservation and molding to fool white folk into handing over beer money. (This has happened,,Really,,)

        But I am confused how any keyboard commando is so certain the car IS filled with body filler. Have anyone of you seen the car in person? Thats my point here. I saw posting after posting here besmirching this fine steads laurels without any tangible evidence. So, I will admit I may have missed a tell tale photo with 1/2 empty bondo bucket, spreaders and hardener but until then lighten up you guys.

        Regardless either way, the site owners did a good job here and very fairly represented the car. Let save the vitriol for the listings with lack of info, no details and crappy pictures. Or those delusional descriptions full of hyperbole.

        ( I am laughing at the Political correctness tag thrown in here. I am SO not PC)

      • dgrass

        My apologies all around, I respectfully ask that my comments in this thread be deleted due to illness.

        Thank you, and again I apologize for the toxicity. This is a wonderful sight, with great people.

  18. Willie

    Hey….. There’s room for a lot more meat under them back quarters. I’d probably break it on the test drive. To many bullet proof s10 conversions I guess.

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      That bonnet strip is because the pressings of the top of the bonnet and the fenders were of different radius where they mate, even new.

      I own Jags.

      Love this even with the V8! This would allow me to enjoy the car with extra, less expensive horsepower and not be pilloried for being the originator. Even better, would be considered a hero for converting it back!


  19. jake

    Caveat Emptor………………….sayonara folks

  20. Bmac Bmac Member

    I love this & timing is great, just trying to decide what to do with my early 2000’s xj supercharged with salvage title. Pull the chevy stuff insert newer jag stuff. Thanks Barn Finds. If the bidding is reasonable I have my winter project.

  21. John

    I like this a lot. It’s an excellent chance to build and drive an E-Type without having to have a roll-back and a mechanic on retainer. Why worry about the bondo stuff? If it’s got a few bad spots, so what? Wait till winter and cut them out and fix them correctly. This chassis could entertain me for years. I could never get bored with an E-Type in my garage?

  22. Charles

    The wiring does not scare me, as that is an easy fix. The gobbed-up floor pans are worrisome, as is the possibility that the frame rails might prone to failure. If the body panels are full of bondo any good body man should be able to cut out bad areas, weld in new, and reduce the bondo to a skim coat only, which should be good enough for a Hotrod XKE! The car has that look that although it isn’t perfect, it looks like a whole lot of fun. The concept of a small block GM V-8 and four speed manual trans makes this cool on so many levels! I’d like to see the car disassembled, reworked, strengthened, and modern LS based power plant installed!

    • Bmac Bmac Member

      Charles, agree done two older xj’s had to redo the wiring in both, really not that difficult, this one would be pretty straight forward. It’s on my watch list, heck with the bondo!

  23. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    While I think some went over the line in comments, the Bondo remarks………

    I do E-wheeling and panel shaping. The odds are that it is Bondo. Good leadwork, pretty rare nowadays, just going by the odds, plus if done properly, it’s not a bodge.

    It also could be someone that watched too many car shows and attempted to correct the radius issue……..and then utilized the filler, that would be a bodge.

  24. Jesse Staff

    I just went out to the shop and poked around underneath with a screw driver and can confirm that the flaky stuff you see in the photos of the floors is just undercoating. There’s no Bondo down there. There’s some corrosion, but the floors are not soft and there are no holes that I could find. As far as the body goes, there is some filler, but not as much as some of you think. I ran a magnet around the mouth of the grill and it stuck all the way around. There is filler along the top seams of the bonnet and a few other areas on the body. That was to be expected considering the custom work done. Also, I checked the frame rails and it looks like Bob is right. They have been modified, but it looks like a high quality job. Someone knew what they were doing. They don’t appear rusty either. This area of Idaho is pretty arid so rust usually isn’t a big concern. So, the frame rails will need replaced if you want to go back to an inline six. If you have the resources to source a new drivetrain though I wouldn’t think the frame rails would be that big of an issue. I checked prices online and they are available and about 20% cheaper than Bob quoted. That may not be the route the next owner wants to go though. It would be a lot of fun to just leave the V8 in there. You could just focus on the cosmetics and getting everything fine tuned. It would obviously get more attention this way than it ever would stock.

    • Bmac Bmac Member

      Thanks Jesse, now I want it even more. My wifes going to take away my computer! Oh well, how mad can she get.

  25. jake

    Jesse, hope you do well with the sale and I have not meant any comments to be negative, just that with my years of selling Jaguar E type parts to both shops and individuals I am always wary of any vehicle that has not been inspected by a professional that has experience on these cars! The very things that cannot been seen on the rockers of any E type are always a concern as that provides structural rigidity to the body shell as there is no frame per say on an E type-just the front frame rails which hold the engine and front suspension. That said hope you great success on the sale! The only 2 manufacturing companies that I would suggest buying front frame rails from are both in England (although companies here in the states handle both) are Martin Rody or e type Fab. Either of those companies make excellent replacement frame rails and have experience with racing E types utilizing either brand! Again best of luck and cheers!

    • Jesse Staff

      Thanks for the tips Jake. This is obviously not a perfect car, but it’s still better than the majority of the projects we have featured over the years. It will be interesting to see what the next owner ends up doing with it.

      • Angel Member

        Haulin A$$ with CLA$$!

  26. Bob_S

    Hi Jesse,
    I believe that its picture # 51 of the engine shows that the engine frame rail has been modified. The header tube is right where the original frame tube should be. If you enlarge the picture and see the tube below the brake light switch (the new brake light switch are known to fail). That is what is left of the original for/aft tube.

    Picture # 48 shows that the for/aft engine frame tube rail has been modified/moved outboard maybe 3 inches.

    Just thought people should know.

    P.S. Yes I have owned E-types since 1989.

    • Jesse Staff

      Yep, I mentioned above that you were correct about the modified frame rails. I’m guessing the next owner will either leave the V8 in place or will have the resources to source a drive train and replace the frame rails. Thanks for your input though.

  27. Bob_S

    Hi Jesse,
    Sorry, I didn’t see your post. The only V8 that fits series I & II e-types without modifying the frame rails is the ford 289/302. What I don’t understand is why most people also put in an auto trans which requires more cutting up of the car.

    • Jesse Staff

      Not sure, but this one has a 4-speed.

  28. Jeff Staff

    The more I think about this car, the more I realize it is a win/win. Drive it as-is and enjoy while making a few improvements without spending a lot, or own a Series 1 for very little compared to values for a factory-correct car – with room left in the budget for a proper restoration.

    I don’t get the negativity on this one. It’s not often the hobbyist gets a solid deal all around AND the potential to make some money on it.

  29. tirefriar

    The bondo comments were brought about by the poorly radiused bonnet opening. Maybe following your logic we shouldn’t assume extensive use of bondo, but you will be a bigger ass when you assume its lead only to find filler under the paint. Why did we assume it was bondo and not the proper lead fill repair process? may be it was the sloppy way the engine was installed with heavy rail modification, which undermines the structural integrity of the car. Maybe it was the condition of the dash… You want to avoid assumptions and guesses, be more specific in your description, especially about the areas that can raise red flags. Some of the readers here may not even know what lead fill is or how its done. Its also very interesting that some of the so called “positive comments” had nothing to with discussing positive aspects of this particular car but rather bashing other discussion participants for expressing their opinions. Well, Doug, et. al., if you go back through the comments some of the most informative ones were from Bob S. They may have not been positive but they picked up on the factual issues.

    @ BF
    Your posting rules state no profanity, politics or personal attacks. It says nothing about “positive comments only”. If you don’t want to read negative comments, post in the classified section or give us heads up “no negative comments please”. If you post on open discussion forum and expect honest feed don’t feel hurt if some of the comments are not to your likings.

  30. Doug Towsley

    Tirefriar, It might or might NOT have Bondo in it. I dont pretend to know for sure (Despite 30 years of custom paint and body work experience) the point is nobody here commenting knows either except the guys who listed it did check and aint as much as most of you assumed and stated with conviction it was full of it.
    Seems we know what some people are actually full of, because lo’ & behold,,, Jesse went over the car and aint as bad as portrayed.

    My point then, and point still is is that without a First person inspection dont assume and be constructive in criticism. Its okay to call things out like poorly worded listings, or bad pictures, or any number of different issues but these guys put together a very fairly presented ad and a lot of people got lippy about it.

    I can and will call that out. I also will call out crappy ads. So, go back and work on reading comprehension. I have no problem admitting when I make a mistake and guilt of that often,. The question is can any of you do the same?

    • tirefriar

      Doug, you are a man of solid advice. Now all you need to do is follow it yourself, especially the reading comprehension part. Go back and read what I wrote – it was not critical of this car particular car but of issues with these in general. So answer me this: what guilt or wrong do I have to accept? The comments are opinions, yours are valid just as valid as those that came before and after. Mine was based on a poorly radiuses hood opening, a very common and very costly item to repair in these cars. Just like particular detail on the nose panel of the Series 1 Alfa Romeo Spider.

      This car was not “very fairly presented” form the beginning. The issue with rails was not addressed until attention was drawn to the matter. Same with the hood. That pertinent information was addressed only AFTER the questions raised by knowledgeable readers. All the so called assumptions could have been avoided if there was a proper description posted in the first place. You can safely get off your high horse now, without having to be negative toward others here.

  31. Jesse Staff

    Come now guys. This has been a good conversion so let’s not sour it. No one offended me by expressing concerns. Criticism is always appreciated as long as it is constructive. We have done our best to present the car with the information we have. The seller is deceased and there’s no documention. I’ve never claimed to be a Jaguar expert, but we have spent many hours taking photos, answering inquiries, and attempting to clarify every single confusion that has presented itself. We may not have been able to anticipate every single question before it was asked, but I believe that this car has been very “fairly presented”.

    • Bmac Bmac Member

      It doesn’t matter, it’s mine now. My buddy Bob and I will do this cat right, 2003 xjr drivetrain will replace the boring chevy so it will be a full blooded jag again! Can’t wait to get her home. Thanks barn finds for a fun site

      • Jesse Staff

        Sounds like an awesome plan!!!

  32. U.K.OK

    As far as the auction process I don’t see any details or how to bid. I see no bids or dates and time of the the auction. etc.etc. The membership page states benefits that do not include access to the auctions… no mention of them.can anyone advise. I read 18K already so I’m out but for the future… thx

    • U.K.OK

      I’m such an eejit. eBay’s the auction site. Can’t believe this has more $ appeal than the 2+2 cos Malcolm Sayer is rolling over looking at the surgery to his beautiful mouth on this’un.

  33. RichardM

    What’s the spice rack-lookin’ thing hangin by the valve cover?

    • jake

      Someone’s idea of how to mount the clutch and brake fluid reserviors!!! The original had brackets there which have been removed to allow the redesign of the frame rail so the v-8 could be shoehorned in!

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