Why buy this car?

So, I hear you asking, why buy a left hand drive American car? What’s wrong with an Australian delivered car, or better still a car from the UK where they were made in the first place?


Essentially, it’s a combination of availability, quality and cost, and the compromise between having to spend more time and effort in some areas and less in others.

Ideally, I would have liked to find an original unrestored Australia delivered car.  The problem is there just weren’t that many E Types delivered new to Australia which makes the local market small. Add into that the value of the local cars and it makes it hard to find a suitable restoration project in a reasonable period of time. There are probably perfect cars out there, but finding them when you want them is hard.

There are lots of E Types in the UK, and many good ones, but the great enemy of cars in the UK is rust. It rains all the time, the roads are salted in winter and the outcome is that cars simply dissolve before your eyes. There may be such a thing as original, rust free Series 1.5 somewhere in the UK but it’d be a rare beastie.

Given that the major money in a full car restoration is in the body work, you really want to maximise your chances of starting with a sound shell.

That’s where US imports come in. Cars from California and Nevada benefit from the warm dry climate, and are much less prone to rust. Also a lot of the cars exported from the UK went to the US, so there are many more to choose from. While nothing in this life is a certainty, your chances are probably best with a California car.

But isn’t converting a LHD car complicated? It can be, but the answer is that it very much depends on the car you buy.

Trying to convert US manufactured cars to RHD can be very hard. Major body modifications are needed.  Footwells, transmission tunnels and the firewall need to be changed or moved about. RHD steering components, dashboards and other parts can be scarce or non-existent. So you may have to modify or fabricate major components and this means engineers and headaches if you want to road register your car.

Some cars, however, were built with both markets in mind, and Jaguar solved this problem by making the E Type shell so it could be either LHD or RHD. Handed components do exist of course, like the steering rack, but even the handed dashboards are modular so the centre section can still be used.

So in summary the US cars are still plentiful, are usually sound and while they need conversion it’s not too onerous a task. The other great thing about the E Type is that all of the parts are available and frequently at quite reasonable prices. So if the shackle widget is broken you don’t have to find someone to make you one.