A week­end in Wales reaf­firm’s Phil’s E-type love, before our lead fea­ture re­minds him of the op­por­tu­ni­ties he did miss

Classic Cars (UK) - - Welcome - Oc­to­ber 2017 Is­sue 531 Phil Bell, edi­tor

Jaguar-lov­ing din­ner guests at the Bre­con Cas­tle Ho­tel fell silent as Jonathan Heynes be­gan to recall pre­cious mem­o­ries from the late Fifties when his fa­ther Bill cre­ated the first E-type pro­to­type, E1A, 60 years ear­lier. We were all look­ing for­ward to recre­at­ing its sem­i­nal 1958 test run the fol­low­ing day (see News, p27) – and watch­ing him un­furl a blue­print for a D-type coupé, engi­neer­ing test re­ports and a se­ries of early de­sign sketches as he coloured in piv­otal mo­ments in E-type his­tory had us trans­fixed. One of the four road­sters showed ev­i­dence of a coupé rooéine crudely sketched onto the stylist’s rather more re­fined ren­der­ing. ‘Fa­ther used to bring home scrap pa­per from work for me to draw on,’ ad­mit­ted Heynes sheep­ishly.

Charm­ing though the coupé ef­forts of Heynes Jr were, I pre­fer the pro­duc­tion ver­sion by Bob Blake and re­fined by Mal­colm Sayer. To my eye, it’s even bet­ter-look­ing than the road­ster and I was de­lighted when the plan­ets of Bell bank ac­count and mar­ket value passed closely enough in 2009 for me to buy a de­cent ex­am­ple. I could see prices were be­ing swelled by grow­ing interest ahead of the E-type’s 50th an­niver­sary and sensed that my op­por­tu­nity might be tran­sient. And it’s clear now that if I hadn’t moved quickly, I might never have owned one.

De­spite how far the Se­ries 1 E-type has moved, it still has some way to go, ac­cord­ing to the mar­ket ex­perts that we con­sulted for their 30 best buy­ing tips of 2017. Our six wise men – in­clud­ing auc­tion­eers, deal­ers, an in­surance con­sul­tant and a clas­sic car fi­nance spe­cial­ist – had no trou­ble rec­om­mend­ing cars to scoop up now before the op­por­tu­nity passes.

I wish I’d con­sulted them 13 years ago and spent wisely on, per­haps, an As­ton V8 Van­tage, Alvis Speed 25, Porsche 911 2.4S and a barn full of other cars on the Bell wish list, in­stead of squan­der­ing my money on a house.

Phil fol­lowed the tyre­tracks laid down in 1958 by Mar­garet Jen­nings in the first Jaguar E-type

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