This 1969 Jaguar E-Type Was The Car He Shouldn’t Have Sold, But His Son Bought It Back 30+ Years Later
Photography by Patrice Minol
When it’s time to talk about passion, gentlemanly behavior, and general “Britishness,” the E-Type is an artifact that anyone would be proud to call part of their heritage. It is an endlessly sexy automobile, and with some models coming with inboard disc brakes in the rear and V12 engines in the front, they had the engineering clout to back up the beauty. The elegant haunches and overall curvaceous bodywork still act as a high watermark for sports car styling.
It is a beloved car for very good reason, and those reading Petrolicious should be no stranger to the first Jaguar XKE. The story of this particular example is quite unique though; we all remember the cars that defined our childhood—whether they were in the garage or owned by a neighbor or tacked up in poster form in our bedrooms— and this white Jag filled that role for Adam Purrier.
His father owned the E-Type in the 1970s and enjoyed it thoroughly, but unfortunately due to financial reasons attached to driving such a thing on a regular basis, the Jag was put away in a barn in a sort of limbo state while thinking Mr. Purrier thought of a feasible way to keep the car. During this time, his young son Adam was spending a significant portion of his free time in the barn where the big cat was socked away, looking at the car’s bodywork and occasionally getting inside to play-drive with the steering wheel and gear stick… Unfortunately the car had to be sold the following year after it was put away, but it was no easy decision, with Adam’s father recounting the feeling as if losing a piece of his heritage.
Meanwhile, 35 years later, and Adam Purrier has grown up and started a business, purely motivated by his childhood spent around classic cars and the passion for them that arose from it. He decided to create Trade Classics, a website where people can enjoy the classic car buying process rather than fretting over it. I think if you’ve read the title you will easily guess the next part of this family’s Jag saga…
An otherwise unexciting day back in 2015 saw Adam on eBay, just scrolling down the listings of classic cars for sale at the moment, keeping in the back of his mind a sentimental idea to buy the right E-Type if one were to present itself.
A few pages down, he came across an advert for a white one, very similar to the one from his childhood. Not long after, Adam’s on his way to see it in person, driving a few hours through the countryside to call on an old E-Type—quintessential British living! Once he arrived, the owner of the car opened up the garage to reveal something very familiar. Adam immediately remembered the number plate he had seen for so many years in the background of pictures in the family photo album: this was his dad’s Jag, right in front of him more than three decades since the last time he’d seen it in the metal.
After selling it, the family had lost track of the old E-Type in the mid 1980s, and yet here it was. Buying it was a no-brainer, and since he’d kept it a surprise until after the decision was made you can imagine his dad’s reaction to Adam showing up and saying “I found your old car!”
When I talked with Adam about the experience, he showed such a strong enthusiasm for his machine that you could tell this was something more than just a sentimental item—in fact, Adam drives the car regularly, enjoying the E-Type on a weekly basis.
I met up with Adam and the Purrier family Jag wanted at the Bicester Heritage compound for a few photos, the old RAF hangar complementing the classic British content in frame.
As we wait for the light to shift, Adam tells me that he’s always love classic cars, and has been lucky enough to have grown up in a Jaguar enthusiast family that surely helped foster his interests in automobiles. When he was younger he had a Mini, and as a teenager he was enthralled with how mechanical things worked, never shying away from owning and driving otherwise less-reliable things compared to the modern alternatives. Perhaps now his regularly driving in the E-Type makes a bit more practical sense—if you enjoy the work, who’s to say what’s a repair and what’s a fun project?
Adam’s surrounded himself with other marques too in his daily life, selling classic cars everyday through the Trade Classics business he began back in 2011. Originally an outlet for his automotive passion to be shared with close friends, the platform for he and his like-minded buddies to share their stories and opinions has become something bigger.
In 2017, Adam decided to re-think the way his company would buy and sell vintage cars, as his experiences on both ends of that trade had been less than perfect over the years. It should be an enjoyable, shared experience he thought, so he and his friends built on their platform to allow more people to tell their stories, and most importantly, to enable them to connect with one another and trade their cars in a safe, transparent environment. Perhaps one day they’ll be the conduit for another story like the Purrier’s E-Type.