WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The good news is that the majority of E-types will have been restored at some stage, so check the paperwork to find out the extent of any work that’s been carried out. Look for uneven panel gaps that give away signs of a bodged job. Look too for signs of overspray and for hastily used filler – it’s handy to take a magnet with you to check.
Even recently restored cars can rust if they’ve been neglected. Grot spots to watch out for include the bases of the B-pillars, around the sills, along the rear wheelarches where moisture can seep into the doubleskinned panels and on the rear valance. If you’re looking at a cheap runner with a couple of bodywork issues or one of the many project 2+2s we’d recommend taking a specialist to look at it with you – those repair costs can quickly mount up.
E-TYPES RUST TOO
The 2+2’s popularity in the US market means plenty of cars have been repatriated. They often represent big savings and it’s easy to convert them to right-handdrive, but beware former US cars masquerading as UK cars. Look at the chassis number – if it begins with a 2 or a 7 then chances are it was originally a left-hand-drive model.
BORN IN THE USA
The XK straight sixes are fairly robust units but look for cracks on the block and listen out for lingering tappet noises, which indicate the tappet guides need replacing. The V12s are also fairly durable, but can suffer from overheating problems, so leave it on idle for a few minutes and watch for any worrying fluctuations in temperature. If an aftermarket electric fan has been fitted on these models that’s a good sign.
HOW DOES IT RUN?
Even E-types with superb bodywork can fall victim to grime and salt if they’re not well cared for, so get yours up on a ramp and look for signs of corrosion, particularly around the rear radius arms and the front chassis frame. Check the brakes are working correctly too, as the master brake cylinder has a tendency to stick.
CHECK IT UNDERNEATH
The good new is the vast majority of the E-type’s trim and instruments can be sourced easily from specialists, so it’s not the end of the world if yours isn’t quite perfect. Look at the leather trim on both the front and rear seats for signs of scuffs or rips, feel underneath the carpets for indications of damp creeping in, and watch for signs of sagging in the headlining.