E-type tops £500k at Villa Erba
But does obscure race history really explain this flat-floor Jaguar’s headline price?
Every now and again auction results confound those who track the market. So we asked Hagerty Insurance’s valuations expert John Mayhead why he thought this restored early Jaguar E-type doubled its pre-sale estimate. ‘Last year I stood with my jaw on the floor at RM Sotheby’s London sale as a Porsche 911 GT2 sold for nearly £1m over estimate; and at this year’s Villa Erba sale, RM did it again,’ he said. ‘The shock car of the auction wasn’t quite on the same scale, but achieving £506,435 for a 1961 flat-floor E-type 3.8 roadster against a pre-sale estimate of £217,000-£260,000 was in some ways more astonishing, because it went against the trend.
‘At least the Porsche made sense – 993s soared in value last year thanks to their bookend status as the last of the air-cooled 911s. On the face of it, the E-type was another matter – the top Hagerty Price Guide value for the model has remained flat at £249,000 for the past 12 months, and most dealers will tell you the feeding frenzy around these early and somewhat impractical E-types has abated since its height a couple of summers ago.
‘So, what accounted for the difference in value? Surely a limited racing history by an obscure driver in Portugal and Angola couldn’t double the value, could it? Well, yes and no. Usually, provenance is everything, but a racing E-type with a history attached to it is now worth a fortune. Finding an early car with a racing past (allowing access to historic racing events) but without the added premium of a famous name or competition pedigree makes for an attractive combination. This is a car with most of its history still to be written, and once it has been prepared and raced at Donington, Le Mans or Goodwood, the purchase price may look very fair indeed.’
‘This is a car with most of its history still to be written. Once it’s been raced its purchase price may look very fair‘
The pre-sale estimate was £217k-£260k, but this 1961 Jaguar E-type made £506,435 at RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba sale