A total restoration was required, but then again it is 40 years old.
If you're going to buy one of these machines, rust is your enemy. It can be eradicated, but expect to spend time/money to do so. And there is no such thing as "just a little rust." If you can see it, there's 10x that hidden away.
If you're buying a restored car, for the the love of everything sacred have it checked out by a respected specialist who has zero interest in the sale.
Do not listen to the shade tree mechanics and the 19-year-old "managers" at the local parts shack... the mechanical pieces of the car are well made and long lasting--and easy to get. If they do need remedial attention, they may be a bit more expensive to work on than the engine in your Chevy, but the mill is the heart and soul of this car. The howl of the engine at full boil will eliminate any need for Viagra.
Even the infamous electrics are reasonably reliable IF NO ONE HAS MESSED WITH THEM. It's true -- really!
The Series 1 E-Type is a stunning automobile, which still looks fresh and modern today, though some of the details give it away as being much older than it appears at first glance.
One of the joys of the E-Type is that a majority of the Series 1 cars were built before safety legislation was enacted, which means that much of the detail on the car is art rather than function -- just look at those lovely bumpers and slim windshield pillars. The interior is the most dated part of the car, but it is still a luxurious and reasonably comfortable place to be... though taller drivers will have issues with the top up, and may end up looking over the windshield rather than through it.
Mechanically, it's a gem. The six cylinder engine is smooth and powerful and makes a great sound. The gearboxes on the early cars are strong enough for commercial duty, but are definitely an acquired taste. Later cars with the 4.2 engine benefited from a better, if less characterful, gearbox.
The suspension was very sophisticated for its day, and the basic design was used well into the 90's. It's a smooth riding car, nothing like being in any other old British sports car.
Time has taken its toll on the performance figures, which were nothing short of amazing in 1961, and which still allow for spirited driving today. However, 0-60 in six plus seconds is what a lot of family sedans are capable of now.
If you're going to buy an E-Type, take your time, budget enough money, and think about why you want one. If your goal is to out-drag nitrous-powered ricers at stoplights, another car might be a better choice. But for plenty of smooth, sexy power in a gorgeous (did I mention one of these beasts is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art?)
How many cars have you owned where you can have as much pleasure sipping a cool drink and simply staring at your car in the driveway as you can driving it -- and driving an E-Type is a magical experience.
Approach this car expecting it to be a 2004 Honda and you'll be disappointed. Ownership is a commitment, but one that will repay you in spades.
A thorough restoration will cost $30-$100,000 depending on how much you do yourself. It is cheaper, and easier, to buy someone else's finished restoration for a fraction of that. Just make sure they did a good job.
Purchasing an E-Type is not something to rush into. Get to know as much as you can about the cars before you even look, take a friend who knows what to look for, and if you can find them in your town, take a look at properly restored or original examples so you know what you should be looking for.
This is my second E-Type, and once you've fallen for them, you cannot give them up for any length of time.
A surprising number survive. You can see a number of them at at xkedata.com.