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 3.8 Jaguar E-Type 
 Fixed Head Coupe 
 Right Hand Drive 
 22 November 1961 
 1961 Cream
 2004 Red
 Rest: Nice 
 Original Mortlake
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Jaguar E-Type photo

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Record Creation: Entered on 11 February 2004.

Database Updates: Show dataplate edits


Heritage Notes

Registered: DOW 123

Photos of 860047

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2004-02-11 13:10:54 | Lofty writes:

Sellers comment:
1961, Cream, Red leather, Aust. Delivery, superb restoration over 10 years to as original as possible. A stunning ‘brand new’ E-Type restored back to as it left the factory. Outstanding. Australian Delivered. Chassis # 860047. AUS$110,000

Article in Jaguar Magazine (Australia), Edition 97 (Issue 2, 2001) pages 30-33.

John Wilson used to trash E-types to death on the tracks in the UK – since discovering #47 he has spent 10 years restoring this car to perfection.

November 1961
On the 22nd November 1961, RHD E-Type FHC number 860047 was officially born at Browns Lane factory. On the 5th of the following month, resplendent in Cream cellulose enamel and Red leather trim, she was despatched to the docks to be shipped to far off Australia.

There was no champagne or well-wishers to mark her birth, but it was probably greeted with a sigh of relief by the Jaguar production team, as #47 had been preceded by just 46 siblings built at a factory in turmoil as they attempted to cope with a market that had exploded following the prototype's sensational launch at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The Coupe was the gorgeous shape ,that William Lyons himself had helped create with Malcolm Sayer and Bob Blake in the Competition Shop, and this perhaps was the reason the model was chosen to unveil the E- Type legend in Europe and America - no decision of that importance was eyer taken without the boss's approval.

Ever-cautious, Lyons had believed that E- Type production would amount to a mere 1000, so notwithstanding their advanced monocoque and space frame design, they were not only constructed from many small pressings by traditional coach building techniques, but press tools for the early cars' panels were made from concrete filled dies which soon crumbled! Lyons' philosophy always seemed to be to float a new model before the public and gauge the potential with real orders before he committed investment capital. Labour was cheaper than tooling.

In June of the following year, after just 176 RHD Coupes had been produced, the body shell, from, roof to floor and from windscreen to tail, was substantially reshaped and re- engineered for proper production and this was the end of the distinctive 'flat-floor' Coupes, one of the rarest of Jaguars. It is also the reason why they are difficult to restore, not only because of the research necessary to return their lost, original detail, but because they have different curves to all subsequent models. So, things like many perfectly well made reproduction panels or rear light castings that are fine for later cars, just don't fit.

#47 arrived in Fremantle via the shipping company of James Ware Pty Ltd, en-route to M.S. Brooking, the Perth Jaguar agent where she was entered as stock book number 213. This was the second Coupe to emigrate 'Down Under' and is now our oldest existing factory delivered car. Sadly, the first, #860012, disappeared years ago, last sighted in an advanced rusted state in Brisbane.

Brookings shrewdly teased the public's interest in the supercar by allowing a well-known journalist to record a sneak preview. On the 11th January, the famous motoring writer Harold Dvoretskyj wrote in the Perth Daily News: 'Who's The Mystery Owner? ... On arrival the car was immediately placed under wraps and the agents say they will not show the car until the Motor Show ... apart from its safety and docility... any woman driver could handle it ... there are few racing cars ... that could match it for acceleration or top speed.' The 'Mystery Owner' was Dr Clifford Robert Eugene Downer from Adelaide, who we know by 1972, when he was 73, had owned , 16 Jaguars beginning with an SS1 bodied locally by T.J Richards in 1931, an SSl Airline in '35 and an SS Jaguar 100, plus. many other mouth watering models - where are they now?

Three years after Dr Downer took possession, he transferred his affections and his number plates: '123' to a new 4.2 E- Type and #47, no longer a star, slipped from view for the only time in her life. I like to think of her sulking with rage at being replaced by a younger, more civilised and less racey model! In the Adelaide Advertiser of March 24, 1972, the Doctor was quoted as saying: "Other people play golf or keep silkworms. Motoring has been my life's hobby."

We don't know where #47 was in those few years from '65 to later in the 60's, the only clue being that she was fitted with a contemporary' Brisbane band radio. I suspect there was also a huge accident during this period and when next seen, she was no longer Cream, but finished in a Burgundy Red.

LATE 60's
You can’t keep a real star off the stage for long and #47 soon resurfaced, to be owned by Peter Orr, a chemist from Sydney's suburban Strathfield. Orr had the car regularly serviced by one of Australia’s most knowledgeable Jaguar experts and restorers, Steve Sulis, who now runs Redistrip paint stripping business. Steve repaired the front after a minor accident, and replaced the slow 'Moss' gearbox with a 4.2 all- synchro 'box, and as this has now been fitted for most of her life, it is one deviation we have allowed to remain. It also makes her much nicer to drive.

Peter Orr sold #47 to Tony Holland - who was squiring Sulis's sister at the time - and it suffered a further frontal accident in 1979. At this time Sulius was in business with another Jaguar icon, Ian Cummins at Classic Autocraft in Sydney where they were famous for their work on many cars including Ian's magnificent D- Type (XKD510). Steve and Ian bought the bent E, and then sold it as a 'restorer's delight' with a new bonnet and sub frames, to Ian Spry, a lifelong friend of Cummins in Griffith.

In what must have been a herculean task in 1981, Ian Spry rebuilt the car using whatever was available locally. He rediscovered the Cream paint (which was much closer to an off-white in surviving patches) beneath a layer 'of thick Burgundy', A country panel beater cut out rust and patched holes, and the body was resprayed in a bright Polar White, The worn-out Red upholstery was retrimmed as best amateurs could, An alternator and modem brake servo were fitted, and in 1985 a proud Ian Spry and #47 were spotted at the Jaguar Rally in Tasmania.

1987 saw the car registered N,S,W, 'XKE047' when Ian Spry sold it to Ian Cummins' cousin, Graham (Butch) Cummins in Bendigo Victoria, where Butch registered it 'DNF388'.

In 1989 the Cummins family purchased #47 for the second time, and later in the year sold it to me, #860047 brought back many happy memories of the racing Jaguar that I drove for a couple of seassons in the UK. Naturally, as a road car, she was heavier, less powerful, softer and had comparatively skinny tyres, but sitting behind that big humped bonnet as it swayed into a fast comer was an addictive trip down my private memory lane. For two years I used it as my daily hack, and it was admired wherever it went - not perfect, but a tribute to Ian Spry's ingenuity.

However, when I parked it alongside its twin, Victor Waterhouse's Roadster which had been magnificently resurrected by Classic Autocraft, I had only to look at my car's bodywork ripples, and a myriad of incorrect details such as vinyl trimmed seats, to know that it deserved a total rebuild in deference to its historical importance. I had to admit that #47 had become a faded beauty.

In 1991 I decided that she was to be rebirthed to the same state as when she had left Coventry all those years before, so I stripped her out and sent her off to Ohannes Akkiryan at 0&$ Sportscar Restoration.

The first thing to do was to know what we had to do, so Ohannes welded a frame of square tubing to keep the body in original alignment, cut out the outer sills to allow alkaline solution to penetrate deep into the box sections, and sent the body to Redistrip for a week in the bath having all paint and filler stripped away.

When the body shell returned, I understood why the then Jaguar Drivers' Club President Chris Haigh had said to me: "Are you really dipping it? You might find things you don't want to know about."

Without masses of covering filler, every exterior panel below the windows showed the wrong shape, and the car had suffered at least one huge accident that had literally shifted the gearbox tunnel towards the driver and the floors, front bulkhead and inside sill were all rippled, the tail lights were at different heights; so the body was twisted - and the monocoque half an inch shorter on one side. The aluminium clutch housing had been crudely welded back together and the engine mounts twisted like pretzels.

It must have been some crash.

The body, sans frames was turned upside down and the floors and inner panels removed. This revealed the unused mountings for outside bonnet locks. These locks were only fitted to the first five Coupes, but their mountings remained briefly as a reminder.

Inspecting other components I discovered that behind each dash panel was pencilled 'No 1265 Red' - the body identification number and the interior trim colour that had identified them at the factory to be fitted to #47. Also surviving was the original non-diaphram clutch and 'oil- burner' pistons, neither of which lasted long in production. As the date of manufacture is scratched on many component of earlier Jaguars, I was also able to date the really big accident to probably the late 'sixties and mainly on the left hand side. My magnificent car now looked like a decayed tooth. But spirits soared when I saw the panels which Ohannes and his other 'genius, 'Thomas-the-Spaniard', were crafting.

My brief was to remake #47 using every possible original piece. .I did not want a replica made from new parts, so panels and parts were removed and remade unless totally beyond salvation. For instance, one door was restored using the top half of the original, the bottom part of another early example we had acquired and new internal pieces, all welded together by Ohannes with barely visible welding, as neat as a tailor's stitching.

This was when I realised how lucky I was that #47 had her first rebuild in the country where parts were hard to get. Because instead of being replaced by repros, or by whatever fitted from the nearest garage, they were mainly preserved. However, over the years, bits and pieces inevitably disappear, and "We combed the world to get many obscure detail parts like original fuel and hydraulic line clips and all those other small things that get thrown away by mechanics. I was lucky to stumble across Richard Smith, of R.M.J. Smith, who understands the subtle differences between the varying E- Type models, and has been able to find me the most obscure original parts and also honest enough to point out problems with new parts before he ships them.

I believe that a classic car is a treasure held in trust, and just as the value of an 18th century Georgian table is in the fact that its legs belong to its top and its patina hasn't been sanded away, the value in a classic car is that it actually is the car that it purports to be. This is why things like the original aluminium dashboard have been refitted with original scratches, the wing nuts are original - not even re-chromed with their ears thinned by decades of copper hammers. The plastic hydraulic bottles are the 1961 units discoloured after forty years. Even the exhaust manifolds have had cracks invisibly welded and been re-enamelled rather than take the easy route of replacing.

With a staggering level of craftsmanship, the body was painstakingly brought back to its youthful beauty by the 0&S team. The spot welds were drilled out and the box sections carefully taken apart. Each panel was restored, or totally remade, before being carefully reassembled into a work of art - even the new spot welds were placed in the original positions. Anti-rust paint was sprayed in areas where Jaguar never bothered; although it's amazing that after 30 years most of the previously unprotected interior steel had the barest surface rust. Finally, it was painted in factory Cream by 0&S painter Eddie Ohanessian over a superb 1ead-filled file-finish. Meanwhile the mechanicals were rebuilt and the importance of having a good relationship with your restorer was underlined when the engine had to be completely built twice, due to something outside Ohannes's control. What could have been a difficult confrontation never eventuated, as he had this done at his own cost without argument. Since then, all mechanical work has been supervised out by Patrick Guinan at O&S, who has shown the kind of obsessive need to get it right that I have really appreciated.

Eventually, it was time to start work on the interior, and I ordered carpets and door rolls from Suffolk and Turley because Ernie Suffolk and his staff were original Jaguar factory trimmers. They also supplied the Hardura, Moquette, head lining and vinyl. I wanted to have everything as close to the factory as possible, but I didn't dare buy completed panels as no one could guarantee a perfect, fit because Jaguars were trimmed individually on the production line.

However, the carpets fitted immaculately, and then Michael from W.R. Gentle did his usual superb job in trimming the rest.

Authenticity for the major assemblies was guaranteed because when Ian Spry had retrimmed back in '81, he had covered the original cardboard backing panels and they provided authentic patterns. Thanks Ian!

Making sure that the interior was correct to the original is an example of the scholarship that is necessary to do the job properly. Every early E- Type that I know has been retrimmed at some time in its life, and you can bet that the local trimmers paid no heed to authenticity, so you just can't find an original example. Even #885004, the hallowed example in California's Behring Museum, has been 'modernised'. Example: there are two little glove boxes behind the seats of 3.8 E- Type Coupes and they are always worn out, their interiors often replaced with roof lining material. But what was the original surface? Experts like the late-Roger Woodley didn't know, neither did Philip Porter and Professor Craddock's restoration opus is mute on the subject. Eventually, we found a contact who not only confirmed they were flocked, but had repros. Joy!

Then the repros arrived: (A) they were too big (Murphy’s Law: 'very early' cars had smaller boxes than merely 'early' cars. On top ;of that, as the very early Cars were hand-made specials, they were even at slightly different position to each other!) and (B) the new ones only came in Grey when a Cream car like #47's would have been Fawn. Michael took a deep breath and custom made an authentic pair using the battered originals as patterns. He then battled to get them Fawn flocked by an industry that couldn't care less with a 'no-one does Fawn any more' attitude.

Don’t ask him to do it again, there isn't enough money in the world!

Next problem: how were the flat floor Coupes trimmed behind the seats? Again no-one knew, even Suffolk and Turley sent the wrong materials. Ringing the UK to let them know, one of those minor miracles occurred; the man who happened to answer the phone because much of the staff was away on Christmas break, was at Browns Lane at the time and still remembers the technique. Another victory.

Meanwhile, dozens of other operations were underway. Early E's have a very thin dash top and they've all been trashed. Import a repro and you'll find that it's a later, thicker one. I approached Dashboard Restorations of Punchbowl with my butchered example and a handful of original photos. They blanched, but took on the challenge and did a wonderful job of making it new again. Not cheap, but priceless.

I sketched details of every E- Type I could find, and Ian Cummins let me crawl over any that came into his shop. He also pointed me to Roger Payne where we did a deal swapping an XK140 steering wheel for an original 3.8 example which Carwood in Victoria restored.

With the original chassis plate in the safe, Roger also supplied the most accurate replacement. Terry McGrath produced a wiring harness, and research on the car's early life including newspaper reports, arid Brooking's PR shots.

Rear Admiral Geoffrey Bayliss and .his wife Marjorie welcomed me into their Canberra home to photograph their Coupe: #860067. Richard Smith proved a gold mine of originality, Steve Melling at Martin Robey was excellent in his service, as were Hutsons, S.N.G. Barratt, XK Engineering, G. W. Bartlett, Northhampton Autorads, Holden and Barry Hatton in the UK, and XK Unlimited, Terrys and Grand Turisimo Jaguar in the US.

Dunlop wheels with twin tapered spokes aren't manufactured, any more, but Gary Phillips of Wire Wheel Works found me a correct, silver painted set (sorry, fashion police, but like #47, most early E's came with Silver painted wheels, not chrome). Patrick rebuilt components like direction indicator switches that could easily have been purchased new and no-one would have known the difference - but we would …

Then in December 2000 #47 was registered again with 'DOW123'. 'DOW' in honour of Dr Downer, and 123 for his original plates. And in case you want to know what a newt 1961 E-Type drives like, the answer is: more stunning than you could ever imagine.

The fact that it is 40 years old simply defies belief.

Finally; who said: 'The devil's in the details'? We're still working on some details with 0&S. But there are 85,000 parts in an E-Type, and we have remade, reconditioned or reworked about 84,990 of them to turn a part of Jaguar's history from a duckling back into a swan.

2015-03-26 02:07:53 | Adrian walker writes:

Lofty ,,
wonderful article on E-TYPE #47 ..
I myself have one of the same .. Convertible in BRG series 1 ..
Originally sold new in California, imported to Australia, restored by Classic Autocraft Steve Sulis-Ian Cummins .
I can send you something I wrote about the history of this car for the Jaguar Drivers Club of Australia magazine with a few pics if you are interested. I have have owned and driven many Jaguars but this one is without doubt my favourite.
Adrian Walker Sydney Australia

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