STEVE Coogan, the actor behind hapless and tasteless TV character Alan Partridge, is to sell his rare Jaguar E-type classic sports car.
The 1961 E-type was one of the first 92 right-hand drive models to be built (distinguished by their exterior bonnet locks), one of the first 56 used as demonstration cars by dealers and, in July 1961, became the first E-Type to enter Scotland, on its way to Jaguar Edinburgh.
Dealers were not allowed to sell the cars until September 1961, when it was registered to its first owner in North Berwick. It was kept there until 1978, when it was sold to its second owner in Edinburgh.
The third and fourth owners were also from Scotland, where chassis number 62 stayed until 2016, when it was acquired by Coogan with the help of Quentin Willson, one of the presenters of the original iteration of Top Gear.
Any classic car enthusiast knows the pedigree of the E-type, a car defined by its power and sensational looks — even the famously hard-to-please Enzo Ferrari described it as the “most beautiful car ever made”.
According to the listing on Silverstone Auctions, #62 has been fastidiously restored to its original spec. The body, engine, gearbox and cylinder head (among other things) from the original car are still present. “This restoration has been completed to an absolute forensic level of detail,” the listing says.
The car comes in a lovely, mossy “Sherwood Green”, with a suede green interior and a French Grey roof. Under the bonnet is the classic naturally aspirated 3.8-litre straight six engine, and original specs state that it can do 0-60mph in a fairly respectable 6.9 seconds, on its way to a 150mph top speed.
Nick Whale, Silverstone Auctions’ managing director, commented: “This really is a fabulous car of the highest quality. The history that accompanies it is just perfect, the restoration speaks for itself and has been fully documented. Steve has kept this car in pristine condition in his own personal collection.
“This is a very special opportunity to own one of the earliest and rarest of Jaguar E-Types with the external bonnet locks. A real collector’s car.”
Predictably, cars with such beauty and pedigree don’t come cheap. In fact, the expected price tag for the car is about as high as it gets for an E-Type (one untouched by Eagle, at least): it’s expected to go for between £300,000 and £350,000 at the Silverstone Classic Live Online Auction at the end of the month. Silverstone Auctions is welcoming enquiries from seriously interested parties and says it is happy to arrange appointments to view.
Coogan’s collection has also included an Aston Martin DBS V8 that was used to launch the model back in 1969 and a Porsche 911 Carrera 4.
Last August it was reported that Coogan was set to be banned from the roads for six months, having accumulated 12 points on his licence. However, the performer managed to more than halve the duration of the punishment after successfully arguing in court that it would have meant pulling the plug on a new Alan Partridge comedy TV series, which was due to enter production in October.