My Car Quest

March 20, 2018

Primrose Yellow E-Type On A Trailer…

Another interesting acquisition story from a reader…

by Anthony Moody –

It was 1969 and in England the price of second hand E-Types had fallen from the initial sales price of around GBP2,000 (then the price of a small house) to less than GBP500. In those prehistoric days, the internet’s closest substitute in England was the ‘Exchange & Mart’, published early each Thursday morning and offering a range of goods and services almost equivalent to what we now expect on Ebay.

So, one Thursday morning an early alarm call saw me at the local Newsagent’s door at 7.00 am, quickly perusing the classified advertisements for something appealing.

Imagine my surprise to find a 1963 E-Type Roadster just thirty miles away, offered for GBP350 given the need for a new clutch. After a quick telephone call with the vendor I knocked on his front door an hour later, the E-Type sitting on the drive resplendent in Primrose Yellow. Quickly surmising the vendor’s situation my instincts told me that cash was needed desperately and a deal was closed at GBP300 in a matter of minutes.

Jaguar E-Type Roadster

This is not the Jaguar that the author “owned” for a short time

Armed with a Bill of Sale and the Car’s Registration Certificate, the British V5, not quite a title but as close as possible, I headed home having arranged to collect the car the following Saturday morning. Having arranged for the clutch to be replaced at my local garage, estimated at GBP35, the mechanic and I set off with his Land Rover and trailer on Saturday morning. Imagine my surprise when half way there to see another Land Rover and trailer travelling in the opposite direction with a Primrose Yellow E-Type on the back!

It took less than a second to guess what had happened, so given that in those pre-mobile phone days there was a nice red public telephone box on almost every corner I called ‘999’ to report a theft. Leaving aside details on all that occurred during the next hour, we arrived at the local Police Station to find that the ‘stolen’ E-Type had already been apprehended and was waiting in their yard. I am sure that most readers can already guess what occurred after I left that Thursday morning, the next prospective buyer having arrived and paid the full asking price.

Both ‘purchasers’ then explained their respective stories to the friendly Policemen, whilst the car’s owner stood sheepishly by.

The Policemen then offered me two alternatives; the first was to pursue the case through the Court, a process that would take several weeks or even months, with the E-Type languishing in their yard in the interim. The second was to forego my legal interest in the car and have the car’s owner give me the GBP350 that he had accepted from the second buyer, i.e., take a profit of GBP50 and go home.

So, not the biggest profit I have ever made on an E-Type but certainly the most entertaining.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.



Jaguar E-Type Roadster

Primrose Yellow E-Type On A Trailer...
Article Name
Primrose Yellow E-Type On A Trailer...
Acquiring and then unacquiring a Jaguar E-Type.


  1. Bob Wachtel says:

    I had a similar story. Many years ago I heard about an early Studebaker Avanti for sale at a gas station & auto repair shop. The owner wanted $500 for it. I didn’t have $500 on me so I drove about 20 miles to my dad’s house and borrowed the money from him and drove right back to buy the car. As I arrived I saw the red Avanti just coming down from the hydraulic lift. It had just been purchased for the $500 by somebody else. I should have left a substantial deposit earlier but at that time I only had about $20 on me. I learned my lesson from this experience. In the future I always brought enough money with me along with a set of license plates and a friend to follow me back with the cars I purchased.

  2. Wayne Watkins says:

    I was selling sports cars in 1973 in Sydney and a guy came into the yard and looked at a red Triumph TR3A we had for sale for $990 . He drove the car and loved it , so I said leave a $20 deposit on it and its yours until you return with the extra $980 . He said that no it wouldn’t and he would catch a train home and get his wife and the money later in the day . I told him that someone else may buy it , if he doesn’t leave a deposit . His reply was I ” If it goes , it goes “: . He left and 30 minutes later another guy comes in and falls in love with the TR and signs up for finance and drives off with the car . A couple of hours later the first guy returns with his large wife and says to me ” Where’s my TR3 and I said ” Its sold and gone ” . He starts ranting and raving telling me that he said he would return with the money . My reply was that I asked him for a deposit and that he said no way , If its gone , then its gone . I said ” Guess what mate your prediction came true ” . With that his wife started hitting him over the head with a rolled up newspaper she had , screaming ” You bloody idiot , why didn’t you leave a deposit ? “

  3. Ean McDowell says:

    Some years ago I was keen to buy a pre-war Riley Kestrel that had not been advertised but was mentioned to me. I met the owner, we discussed the car, agreed on the price, and enjoyed a coffee together. I offered a deposit but the comment was made that it was not necessary so off I went complete with some books and magazines given by the owner. I thought I would do the right thing, so I wrote a letter of thanks and attached a deposit. The letter and deposit came back by return mail with a posted note saying “what’s all this…we didn’t agree on anything?”. I let a few weeks pass, called the owner, went back again, agreed on the same price, and left some time later after another coffee and some more books and magazines. Within days the same thing happened and the seller called to end the transaction. I happened to have a friend with a tilt tray truck so I phoned him, and on the third occasion, with the truck and a large envelope full of cash, we went down on a Saturday afternoon. More coffee…more books, but this time we came back with the car.

  4. Hi Mike
    Every time I repeat this story, I feel like drowning myself in a vat of scotch. Again this is in Sydney.
    In 1984, 21 at the time, I saw an advert in Unique Cars for a red DeTomaso Mangusta, RHD, (rare), for $26k AUD. I met the owner, test drove it, was so chuffed with it, I negotiated $24k for it and gave him $1,500 deposit.
    The owner needed money quick. I told him he’ll have the balance in a week.
    I didn’t have it but I’d just graduated college, as an accountant and just started my new job. I thought I’d score a loan but no lender was willing to give a 21yr old with only a couple months into a job money for a high powered sports car.
    I scored an extra couple of days to settle, so I approached dad, then my uncle. None believed me it was an investment rather than a testocerone thing.
    In the end, the owner couldn’t wait anymore, he’d been approached by someone who’d drove from Perth (4000 klm) in a flat-top truck, & gave him his asking money. I was shocked at first. Then saddened. But in the end, understanding of the why. At least he gave me my deposit back. I know I could have sued for the extra $2k, but it wasn’t worth the grief chasing it, and as I said I understood why.
    But imagine my continual self chastising when I found out that same car sold for $70k eleven months later.
    Now do you understand the reason why I could drown myself in a vat of scotch when I see their current prices.

    • Wayne Watkins says:

      Stelios , that was most definitely my Mangusta , as only 4 RHD models were sold new in Australia and one was destroyed in an accident . I bought it late 70’s from Boyded’s a GM dealer for $8500 and it had black and white plates XX *** , cannot remember the numbers . I spent a few hundred sorting it out and eventually sold it to a guy who lived in Marrickville for $17900 a nice little earn at the time . But if only one had a crystal ball , one would be a zillionaire now . By the way during my ownership it was red , but entered the country white and very early in its life it was owned by Dennis West , a friend of my sister , who I am still in contact with . When I owned it the rose jointed suspension was very worn and needed work and it was missing the space saver spare wheel and tyre , but in a straight line it was a rocket . Very hairy car to drive in tight corners with its weird weight distribution . Many years later I found out that they were fitted with the same transaxles as the Ford GT40 coz I saw a transaxle for sale in Argentina for more than I paid for the complete car !!

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