Abandoned for two decades, a 1962 E-Type is now set to become a “serious project” for its new owner

It has spent the last 20 years sitting in a damp and drafty barn in the West Midlands, yet this “ultimate barn-find” E-Type could be about to sell for more than a brand new Jaguar XF.

The model in question is a 1962 Series 1 Fixed Head Coupé (FHC), an early example of the E-Type, that has been given an estimate of £38,000 to £44,000.

It last changed hands in 1997, when it was picked up by an enthusiast who had hoped to place the car in a barn pending a few modifications. But as is so often the case with restoration projects, the car then languished for 20 years.

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The auctioneers say the E-Type is mostly complete, despite lacking a few glass panels and the radiator, making it a worthy restoration project. Many “barn-find” cars retain curious original features, and this example still has a rare braking system used on the early E-Types that has typically been replaced in later models.

One of the most sought-after British sports cars of the last century, E-Types have seen a rapid increase in value, as well as widespread growth in affection amongst the general public.

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“It’s always going to be one of the top benchmark cars,” says Lionel Abbott of Silverstone Auctions.

“The cache around the E-Type has grown in recent years, and so has the investment side. Some people who find their money isn’t doing much in a bank are starting to look to cars like the E-Type.

“They’re undervalued compared to something like an Aston Martin DB5. You get better performance, it’s a better handling car, and still only 20 per cent of the value.”

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For many people the idea of buying a car in this condition may seem peculiar, but barn finds are a popular feature at today’s major car auctions. In 2014, 59 classic cars found rusting away within a collection of French farm buildings sold for $28m.

“For a lot of people it’s an opportunity to own a car that is a blank canvas,” Lionel tells me.

“The auction mentality is such that barn finds are treated like a significant discovery of a piece of art. If it happened to be a Rembrandt that was discovered, you have a duty to rescue it and put it back into the public domain.”

The E-Type will go up for auction in its current condition on April 1st during the Classic Car and Restoration Show in Birmingham.

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