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