Early Jaguar E-type values bottomed?

Early Jaguar E-type values bottomed?

Now could be the time to buy that outside-bonnet-lock car you’ve always wanted


Quentin Willson’s hot tips

Keen readers will know that I’m an early E-type obsessive. I’ve rebuilt two – a ’61 FHC and an outside-bonnet-lock roadster, so I know how much they cost to buy and restore, not to mention the time and costs of finding and reinstating all the defining pre-production parts and metalwork details. Only around 500 outside bonnet-lock- cars were made before the factory switched to the internal bonnet release in August ’61 and these OBLs are referred to as the Holy Grail of E-types. They’re the rarest and most coveted E-types of all. If you’re lucky, a tired project car is £80k, a professional complete rebuild £150k to £200k and reckon on another £25k for rare parts. I’ve paid £2500 for a set of date-stamped but knackered carbs and £1500 for the correct Shelley jack. Restore an OBL properly and you’ll be looking down the barrel of £250k to £300k.

But in May Silverstone sold roadster chassis number 38 – one of the historic 50-odd right-hand drive dealer demonstrators photographed in the rain outside Browns Lane in July 1961 – for £208,125. In the same sale was chassis 198 – a US-delivery OBL roadster, freshly restored – which didn’t sell with an estimate of £190k to £220k. Also in May, Historics sold 119, a nicely restored lhd roadster, for £159,040, while back in Feb 2020, RM Sotheby’s sold a mint lhd roadster in Paris, chassis number 295, for £138,000.

‘Prices are close to half the cost previous owners have shelled out to buy or restore these cars’

These current prices are close to half the cost previous owners will have shelled out to buy or restore these OBLs. And back in 2017 and 2018 the OBL market was on fire. Left-hand drive FHC number 18 made £584,000, lhd roadster 143 £309,000 and lhd roadster 152 sold for £334,500. The value embodied in the now deflated 2022 prices looks stupendous. And with only 92 rhd and 386 lhd OBLs built with maybe only 100 still surviving, they’re always going to be collector-grade assets. I can’t predict what will happen to the E-type market long term but stellar icons like OBLs at half the price they were five years ago feels like an opportunity.

  • VALUE 2019 £210k
  • VALUE NOW £187.5k
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