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Newbie: E-Type maintainable by nonmechanic? Shops in Hudson Valley?


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My wonderful—but not mechanically inclined—husband caught my—also not mechanically inclined—self drooling over a Jaguar E-Type recently, and now has a crazy idea he wants to get one as a gift for me/us. I fondly, but with a hint of PTSD, recall the British cars of my youth: Dad’s MGA project car perpetually in pieces in the garage, and my college roommate’s Spitfire that had to be parked pointed downhill so we could push-start it if needed. In contrast, my husband’s only experience with an automotive toy is my 1997 Mazda Miata, solidly and completely trouble free since we bought it new. He has identified the E-Type he wants to get and is confident we can maintain it as it needs and deserves if we find a good shop. So some questions:

 

1) is it possible for a nonmechanic to happily own and drive one of these cars, given access to a competent shop?

 

And 2) Can anyone recommend such a shop in the vicinity of the mid-Hudson Valley in New York? There’s a Jaguar dealer not far away, but am I correct in assuming the dealership would not necessarily have mechanics with a lot of experience with vintage cars? The excellent independent shop that maintains my Miata specializes in Japanese makes, and the owner tells me that while he’s worked on British cars in the past and is able to do it, he’d advise me to use someone who specializes in them.

 

And 3) we can afford this financially no problem, but obviously since this car does have some real value, I want to make sure any mechanical work done on it doesn’t compromise that. So does it matter for that reason what type of shop we use (assuming it’s a good one)? Are there certifications etc I should be aware of?

 

Thanks for all and any advice!

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Wonderful looking cars, I remember seeing them when they were new at a motor show and thinking they were from another planet.  But they are not the most trouble free cars, certainly not like your Miata.  Many years ago a guy I new bought a used Jaguar XJS ( the model that followed the E Type)  for his partner and a Datsun 120Y for her to drive when the Jaguar was being repaired, true story.  

The key to ownership of any old Jaguar is finding a Jaguar expert to service it and, as has been said, buying the very best example possible. 

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5 hours ago, TwoCoasts said:

My wonderful—but not mechanically inclined—husband caught my—also not mechanically inclined—self drooling over a Jaguar E-Type recently, and now has a crazy idea he wants to get one as a gift for me/us. I fondly, but with a hint of PTSD, recall the British cars of my youth: Dad’s MGA project car perpetually in pieces in the garage, and my college roommate’s Spitfire that had to be parked pointed downhill so we could push-start it if needed. In contrast, my husband’s only experience with an automotive toy is my 1997 Mazda Miata, solidly and completely trouble free since we bought it new. He has identified the E-Type he wants to get and is confident we can maintain it as it needs and deserves if we find a good shop.

 

What engine?  The V12 can have more issues than the simpler 6 cylinder

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaguar_E-Type

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Enzo Ferrari once said the Jaguar E Type was the best looking car ever made.  I agree with what some others have said about having a good mechanic that is familiar with the Jaguar to help you. I have owned several British cars over the years including a couple of Jag’s, they are not overly complex cars but there are some special tools that would be needed for some common repairs. Most parts are available new or used but can be expensive. You might post the question about a shop in your area in the General Discussion section, more viewers there that might be able to help.

Let us know if you get the car and post some pics.

 

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Be very careful and examine the E type very closely. Look at any documentation the seller may have, especially if they claim a recent rebuild of the engine or transmission.  If they do not have a file of receipts…walk away.

 

When you inspect the car before sale, take a magnet and a good Maglite with you. Use the magnet to check how solid the body is, especially the rocker panels. If the magnet doesn’t stick, that means a lot of body filler. Use the Maglite to look in all the nooks and crannies. Lift all carpets and examine the floor pans and trunk floor. Be skeptical of anything the buyer says.

 

Well sorted/restored E types can be costly. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is…walk away.

 

That said, an E type, once properly sorted, is fairly easy to maintain. Make sure you have a correct owner’s manual and/or workshop manual. I drive a 1950 MG and have limited skills but I am able to do a lot of the daily.

 

Check with your local car clubs and they will direct you to a good independent shop in your area. Labor rates are what you would expect for any high end European car, e.g. BMW, Mercedes, Audi. Local Jag dealer not a good service option. Modern Jags are totally different from E types.

 

E types are quite charming. Be realistic when you look at this baby. Probably should look at others for comparison. I shopped for a year before deciding on my MG.

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Further to my earlier post and the above comments, I once visited a restoration shop that specialised in restoring E Types.  The owner showed us the subframes and what is needed the replace seriously rusted structural parts.  He told us that he had never seen one that was not structurally compromised by rust.  When these cars were new painting was confined to external surfaces, internal parts were unpainted.

Any prospective purchase needs to be inspected by an expert with the model.   

 

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First off, if you both love the Etype and cost isn't much of an issue......Get one.  Don't let anyone talk you out of it.  I have had several British cars and also own a 70 E Type.   In no particular order:

 

-There is nothing more expensive than a cheap Etype.

-They are structurally put together differently than what you think of (and maybe have experience with) than a traditional body on frame or monocoque design.  A badly compromised substructure will without a doubt cause you to have a bad experience. 

-When tuned well and running strong, the feel of driving one is fabulous.  Get out in the country on a road that has some personality and let it rip.  

-It realistically has the performance of a ten year old Honda Accord, but it is about the feeling of driving it.

-driving something that sexy is fun, doesn't get old.

-Owning one and keeping it in good running condition will likely make you appreciate your miata like never before.  you will marvel at the feel of driving your miata while at the same time having total confidence in it not letting you down to walk home or call a tow.

-Learn the differences of each series and how they play into cost.

-stay away from the 12cyl unless you really have it checked out by someone who can keep you out of trouble and be there for you when it needs servicing. 

-I will close with saying what everyone who has ever owned one will say.  Buy a great (and expensive) one.  It will be so much cheaper in the long run.  

 

 

 

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