Jaguar’s revolutionary XKE (E-type) resonates as the poster child for classic collector cars. Symbolizing the 1960s invasion of swinging British culture, the XKE remains solely responsible for converting a black-and-white automotive world to full-blown Technicolor.
There had always been fast cars oozing style and tarmac dominance, but never before had such elegance and speed been affordable. Roughly half the cost of an equivalent Aston Martin, the XKE immediately set new standards for rival manufacturers.
The svelte bodystyle may then have endured various styling changes that continue to ruffle the purist feathers of influential collectors, but any E-type – regardless of incarnation – remains the most iconic classic collector car money can buy. As such, you are going to want one.
Thing is, if you go by the headlines, unless your surname is double barrelled, you will struggle to afford the current market value. Yet delve beyond the sensationalized marketplace analysis and you’ll find a different story.
While the earliest of examples command top dollar, you can still acquire a later production V12 or project vehicle for reasonable sums of money. Each model of XKE is valued at differing levels, so what should you budget for?
Manufacturered from 1961 until 1968, the Series I XKE is considered the most valuable of the lot. Coveted by collectors, asking prices for concours examples will leave most individuals reaching for the smelling salts.
You’ll require at least $20k for a rusted hulk desperate for TLC, and that’s before you start paying for restoration work – which can breach the $200k mark. After a good one? Sell your house and family, for mint condition vehicles regularly surpass the $300k barrier.
High-end Series 1 Roadsters in excellent condition can cost the buyer anywhere up to $250k, but slip down the appreciation ladder and you can easily half that cost. The 2+2 coupé fetches lower prices even in rude health – as this example proves.
A 1967 XKE Coupe with all the trimmings, this fine example of Britain’s best sold for $56,500 only yesterday. And this price seems to remain consistent through the Series 2 and lesser-coveted Series 3.
Although upwards of £50k is no small amount of money, the later XKEs still offer riotous fun on the road. Sadly, you’ll never find a solid example for much less than that, but if you can stomach the wait and slow-burning cost of DIY restoration, a project vehicle can be had for even less.
Putting in time and effort to restore a classic car offers serious rewards if you see it through, but the Jag trumps nearly all others in terms of desirability. So much as having a rusty XKE in your garage will double the value of your house.*
Pick your project vehicle carefully, however. For the Jaguar XKE doesn’t suffer fools or poor maintenance without claiming a limb. If you don’t have the DIY stills required to weld a subframe or install a clutch, we’d advise finding the little bit extra and going for a driver ready example.
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