This Early Jaguar E-Type Has Moved To Moscow
Photography by Andrey Smazhilo
Among Petrolisti, it doesn’t matter where you come from, or which car you drive. It is the passion that unites and brings classic car enthusiasts to the same place, one of which for me is the Moscow Classic Grand Prix. I have already been to two of its stages this year, but that story has to wait a little bit. Today’s story is about how I met the most beautiful car ever made.
A couple of months ago, I had a talk with two guys at a shop called Red Sector Project. Currently, they import rare and hard to find parts to Russia for those who need them delivered as soon as possible. They also have a very interesting car in the process of restoration that I will tell you about as soon…as it will be finished in a month or two.
Talking over a pizza at the shop, its owners, Georgiy and Artem, told me they had an Jaguar E-Type Coupé for sale sitting in some garage. I already knew that the car was gorgeous, but taking it out for a photoshoot didn’t seem like a next-day option. Imagine how surprised I was when I saw it parked in the paddock at the second stage of Moscow Classic Grand Prix! After a chitchat, the photoshoot turned out to be just a couple of minutes and a short drive away.
Getting in the car was funny because I am 6’2″, and the doorsill is quite high while the roofline is pretty low. However, I managed to squeeze myself inside after bumping my head and knees several times. The classic ‘bomber’ seats turned out to be comfortable and soft despite having a very basic form. Its white leather interior was screaming that the car came from some warmer region, and the aluminum trim on the center console in addition to the bucket seats and triple windshield wipers gives it out an early production model.
It turned out that this lipstick red Series I Coupé equipped with a 3.8-liter inline-six was built in 1962 for California, where its first owner bought it and drove it up until he sold it to a man from Italy in 1990. 24 years later, Georgiy saw the car during one of his trips to Italy, it reminded him of a blue die-cast E-Type model that he still has, and he decided to take it back home to Russia with him. All I can say now is that it was definitely a right decision! The gearbox does not have synchromesh, so double clutching is a necessary skill when driving this car. The steering wheel is enormous, and the brakes seem slightly outdated despite being disk on all four wheels. Nevertheless, at acceleration, the car is extremely smooth, and as Georgiy said, the suspension might seem a little bit too soft, but the faster it goes, the steadier it gets, so driving it on a highway felt like a short and easy drive to the shop down the street.
There is not enough words to describe how much I liked the E-Type Coupé, the way it behaves on the road, and the way it feels inside. I wish that someday I would get a chance to take one for a very long and lasting road trip. As Il Commendatore famously said, it is among the most beautiful cars ever made—exactly why you need to drive it at least once in your life.