Market Finds: You Could Own The E-Type Diana Ross Bought Herself In 1967

You Could Own The E-Type Diana Ross Bought Herself In 1967

By Andrew Golseth
August 5, 2016

Photography courtesy of Bonhams

Too many celebrities today seem to brandish their “Benjamins” in chrome-wrapped supercars. We get it: you have money and demand attention. (Or maybe they’re deflecting attention away from the rest?) I’ve got no grounds to criticize anyone’s taste, or lack thereof—but rose-colored glasses or not, why does it seem as though celebrities of yesteryear just knew how to drive tastefully?

I’m sure you already know Steve McQueen was a diehard gearhead, Elvis wheeled a BMW 507, and Frank Sinatra stabled a Lamborghini Miura. Like these celebrity motorists, this 1967 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 offered at the upcoming Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction was the purchase of a young up-and-coming singer that became one of the greatest female artists in history.

When the Jaguar E-Type was unveiled at the 1961 Geneva Salon, its stunning proportions and graceful curves left the crowd awestruck. But the love for the Jaguar wasn’t merely a shallow affair for its captivating design, the E-Type was a serious performance bargain. Priced at nearly a third of the cost of competing Ferraris, the new cat was not only cheaper but faster, too.

Thanks to its monocoque chassis construction and four-wheel independent suspension with discs at all hubs, the lightweight Jag could handle the switchbacks. With a 4.2-liter straight six under hood carried over from its XK processors, the slippery Grand Tourer’s four-speed synchromesh gearbox didn’t wind out until 150 mph. Keep in mind, this was a production car… offered in 1961!

It’s no surprise, then, that the E-Type sold like Bud Lite at a baseball game. Its affordability wasn’t shunned by wealthy celebrities either—how could anyone not love the XKE? This Series 1 example was special ordered in a champagne metallic finish over black interior and completed assembly on January 19, 1967. From the Jaguar Coventry manufacturing plant, chassis 1E14600 was shipped stateside to Falvey Imported Cars in Ferndale, Michigan.

On Halloween 1967, the keys to this Opalescent Golden Sand-colored British roadster were handed to none other than Diana Ross—the to-be Queen of Motown, leader of The Supremes, and already the recipient of dozens of awards and accolades. In 1967, Ms. Ross had just broken into the mainstream and, after buying her mother a house, her first gift to herself was this stunning XKE.

Special ordered to her exact liking, the original sticker price for this nicely optioned drop-top was $6,968.15! Aside from the unique shimmering paint, Diana ordered both the cabin and canvas top in black, a color-matched hardtop, window tint, and whitewall tires. The car recently underwent a complete overhaul to renew its factory finish.

The sleek numbers-matching body was repainted in the brilliant special order flake, the original powertrain was rebuilt with an added fifth-gear and upgraded radiator mated to an auxiliary electric fan for improved drivability, and the cabin—complete with the original wood-rim wheel—was reupholstered by the stitchmasters at Suffolk & Turley.

With its exquisite pearl finish, professional restoration, and originally ordered by one of America’s most influential and pivotal artists, this 1967 Jaguar E-Type capture’s the class of 1960s celebrities.

– Delivered new to music icon Diana Ross
– Recently shown at the prominent Salon Privé Concours
– Exquisite restoration in the factory-delivered livery
– Offered with Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate and original sales invoice

~265 horsepower, 4,235 cc DOHC straight-six, four-speed manual synchromesh transmission, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 96 inches.

Vehicle information
Chassis no.: 1E14600
Engine no.: 7E52408-9

Auction house: Bonhams
Estimate: $290,000 – $320,000
Price realized: Auction on August 19


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David Carroll
David Carroll
7 years ago

I’m just delighted to learn the Miss Ross could drive a stick….

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