Two Jaguar E-types that were built on the same day, 24th August, in 1961 on the production line at Browns Lane in Coventry have been reunited at Classic Motor Cars (CMC) of Bridgnorth in Shropshire, United Kingdom, to celebrate their 55th birthdays.
One E-Type was the first production inside bonnet lock right hand drive fixed head coupe; the other was the first production inside bonnet lock right hand drive roadster.
But these very early E-Types have lived different lives: the coupe is in pristine condition after having been restored by CMC; the roadster, a bit worn-down, has been off the road for 20 years, forgotten in a barn in Ireland until CMC found it and purchased it, and now requires a full restoration.
Peter Neumark, Chairman of CMC, said: “This world is full of coincidences; that both the first inside bonnet lock RHD coupe and roadster to end up in the same restoration facility is one thing, but then to discover they were both produced on the same day – August 24th 1961 – is remarkable!”
CMC brought the two cars back together on Wednesday 24th August and even provided a birthday cake to celebrate the reunion.
Jaguar produced just four highly sought after external bonnet lock coupes in RHD form before switching to an internal lock arrangement.
Stuart Cardwell, owner of the E-Type Coupe Chassis No. 860005, brought it to CMC several years ago and embarked on a rolling restoration: mechanical first, he took it away to enjoy it and brought it back for a bare metal body restoration, then repaint and finally back for a full retrim.
Subsequently, the car was entered to the prestigious Salon Prive event and concours at Blenheim Palace in September 2015, where it was awarded runner-up in its class.
Stuart Cardwell said: “This is the first time the two cars have been next to one another after they parted company 55 years ago. In the case of my car, it has been all over the world. It was dispatched to Jaguar Cars New York in September 1961, sold to a Japanese collector in Tokyo in 1996 and repatriated back to the UK when I purchased it in 2012.”
He added: “CMC restored my car, which is now considered to be exactly as it would have left the factory in 1961 – no doubt they will do a stunning job bringing Chassis No. 92 back to life.”
The roadsters, on the other hand, went into production much sooner than the coupes hence some 91 outside bonnet lock cars were produced in RHD form and some 350 in LHD.
Neumark said: “We shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the decision to switch to internal bonnet locks cars was applied across the board and implemented on the same day in 1961.”
E-Typer Roadster Chassis No. 850092 was dispatched to a Jaguar dealership in Dublin and has spent all its life in the Republic of Ireland. It was brought to the attention of CMC’s Peter Neumark by a good friend in Co Navan, who was convinced it was Chassis No. 2.
Neumark was highly skeptical as the records stated it was destroyed in period after spending a hard year or two as a development car. Finally, the friend got good access to the car and discovered it was Chassis No. 92.
Neumark said: “The car had been off the road for over 20 years but with an impeccable history of five owners and with just over 24,000 miles on the clock, I was hooked and so was the car. An interesting negotiation with the canny Irish farmer was concluded with a handshake and a glass of Whiskey!”
He added: “It was only when the Heritage Certificate arrived from Jaguar that the same production date as the coupe was discovered. So we decided to invite Stuart with his car for a celebratory photo call with his car and the roadster.”
E-Type Roadster Chassis No. 92 requires a full restoration but has never been apart and has very little rot. It is for sale as a restoration project with CMC.