`Barn-finds` are always exciting, but, more often than not – and upon closer inspection – they are invariably tinged with degrees of disappointment. Poor storage conditions and decades of neglect have rendered many, once-fine and rare, cars non-viable to restore. In the majority of cases, where restoration is viable, the noble result has been at the expense of sacrificing most, in not all of the car`s `as found` originality. They become just another car.
Imagine, then, the excitement of finding an E-Type Jaguar entombed in a warm, well-ventilated, very long garage attached to the owner`s house and where it had remained untouched, without moving a wheel, for 42 years. The stuff of dreams? Not in this case.
Such is the story of this quite remarkable 1967 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 ½ Coupe….and a tribute to its long-term owner.
It was on November 17th. 1967 when the then 43 year old Dr. Peter Le Coulture took delivery of his brand new E-Type finished in Opalescent Golden Sand with Black interior trim. By 1972 however, becoming increasingly concerned by the rising cost of fuel, he drove his immaculate and fully maintained E-Type, with only 36,000 miles on the clock, into his garage. And there it remained until his death in 2013.
Although a very private man with few friends, neither Peter Le Coulture nor his E-Type were forgotten. One man in particular, Ian Wright, had been captivated by Dr. Le Coulture`s E-Type since 1970 when, as a twelve year old, he and his father, who shared a common interest in Cannon Trials cars, made regular visits to his home in Beckenham.
It was upon Dr. Le Coulture`s death in 2013 when the present owner was asked by the gentleman`s sole beneficiary to help clear the mountain of accumulated mechanical paraphernalia from the garage in order, then, to be able to extract the various cars. That done, on May 15th 2014 and with Probate granted, his offer for the E-Type was accepted and he became the car`s second owner.
Although the Opalescent Golden Sand paint has oxidised, leaving a `velvet` sheen over the car`s sleek lines and (shall we call it) slight `foxing` to the bonnet louvres, the car has NEVER received any abuse or mistreatment during its (only) five years on the road. The interior, although displaying `entry/exit` scuffing to the driver`s seat back, is simply perfect and original in every way indicating very careful ownership (and probably numerous accumulated short journeys judging by the driver`s seat). Its leather has remained supple; its carpeting throughout is original. None of the interior panels have been carelessly removed. The headlining has not buckled. Every door seal is original, every clip is in place.
The odometer read 33,000 miles, whereas the Service Record book indicated a speedometer change at 3,000 miles: thus 36,000 miles all-in. That`s a pretty healthy usage of 7,000 miles per year!
When the car was recommissioned after its 42 year hibernation it became apparent that not only had the clutch seized, but so too had the engine itself. Very fortunately the engineers tasked with rectifying these issues were empathetic to the rarity of this car; whilst the engine was rebuilt there was no external `dressing` applied, thereby retaining its appearance commensurate with its age and historyNever restored; never pulled apart. All the panels are original, perfect, undamaged and unsullied.
All the bumper rubbers, front and rear, are still neatly in place, curled around and beneath the sharp ends of the bumper blades; the front bumper rubbers even have their little, unobtrusive, D-shaped clips holding them in place. The headlamp aperture embellishers still fit beautifully against the bonnet sandwiching the plastic trims between them, just as they left the factory. All the door and window seals are original. The heated rear window still bears the TRIPLEX transfer advising the onlooker of this desirable extra……..and the front screen still retains its original white on black `Growler` Jaguar sticker in the bottom right hand corner.
The doors shut with the most satisfying, light, `clunk` and – amazingly – they stay shut!! And when they are shut and with the bonnet closed you witness the most perfect panel gaps…….dispelling the myth (and the salesman`s spiel of to-day!) that “E-Type gaps were dreadful even when they were new”!…….not so!
The car also sits on its original Chrome wire wheels with their `curly hubs` – NOT the shallow-dished repro ones that we can only buy today, but originals with their distinctive and noticeably sharper dishing. AND the hub spinners are original to the car too. What`s more is that they bear little, if any, evidence of mallet-bashing….and, with only five years` use, why should they?
The car, to-day, sits on Blockley 185 tyres and, whilst clearly the original Dunlops would have looked very correct, it is a great testimony to the Blockley brand that it sits so comfortably with this particular car (to say nothing of the excellent dynamics that the Blockley radials provide).
Nestling in the spare wheel well is the car`s original Jack, and contained within its original Hardura envelope. Next to it sits the car`s original, unused, toolkit – and more than that: the Grease Pump is still surrounded by its paper protection and rubber band…AND: the Tyre Pressure Gauge is still sheathed in its original cellophane wrapper. How rare is that, I ask?
And finally we have the delight of seeing the car`s original, undamaged, brown plastic `envelope` with its clear plastic front. Within this we find all the original paperwork:
The car is, of course, completely useable and driving just as one would expect.
`Time-Warp` is wholly appropriate in this context. It deserves to be thoroughly appreciated and recognised for what it truly is and placed within a carefully curated collection……… for occasional use only, such is its importance. A quite, quite, remarkable E-Type and, quite probably the most original E-Type in existence.