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An E-Type in the garden: rotting '63 Jaguar heads for auction

  • jag-beatles-876.jpg

     (Coys)

  • jag-beatles-cabin-876.jpg

     (Coys)

There's something about formerly gorgeous cars in dilapidated states from which the eye cannot turn away. The devastatingly cruel fate of this Jaguar E-Type is an illustration. Next week, it likely begins a new life. Still voluptuous after decades rotting in a garden, this 1963 Series 1 fixed head coupe will be offered for sale at the Coys auction Tuesday in London.

The car has 44,870 miles on the odometer and has passed through several owners, including one with a tangential connection to the Beatles and another man who used the Jag to pull his MG to Brands Hatch. He would race them both, according to Coys' listing, wringing the most out of the E-Type's 265-horsepower inline six.

Ivor Arbiter was owner No. 1. His link to history is that he designed the Beatles drop-T logo in the early '60s and was reportedly paid five British pounds for it. He bought the E-Type new in 1963, used it, and then sold it to in 1965. The E-Type passed through a couple of owners until motorsports enthusiast Frank Riches bought it in '67. He tracked the Jag at some of Britain's iconic circuits and drove it until he fried the clutch. Coys cites a story from Riches' brother recounting when the E-Type hit 150 miles per hour on a public road, its listed top speed. It was in storage until the 1980s, and then Riches relocated it to his garden, where it has sat for years.

Considering its long dormancy, the Jag appears to be in reasonable shape. It's never been restored, obviously, and Riches still has many of the original parts he replaced, including the center console and radiator bar. Coys notes that the seats have a "lovely patina" and are worth saving, too. The buyer also gets a brown logbook, the sales invoice to Riches, two service books (it is a '63 Jag) and a spare parts catalogue. A Coys auctioneer told ITV.com that the car could net about $140,000.

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