At the end of a production run of cars, there are inevitably bits and pieces left behind which aren't assembled and have to be taken off the production line in the boxes they came in. When production on the Jaguar E-Type ended at Browns Lane in 1974, just such a thing happened, and a Jag fanatic picked up those truckloads of leftovers and kept them — for 31 years. When he got tired of being their steward he sold them to an enterprising fellow who thought of another Jag fanatic who might be able to make something of these parts. Turns out the kit was complete enough to finish one final 1974 Jaguar E-Type V12.
With truckloads of parts and a buyer in mind, then-owner Mike Wilkinson went to go see Ray Parrott, enthusiast and restorer extraordinaire. Together they took an exhaustive inventory of the parts included in the leftovers and discovered that about 95% of the components needed to actually build an original car were there. Ray of course could not pass.
Parrott set to work assembling the car in his Essex home, using his detailed knowledge of the car and his fully assembled Series 3 for reference along with shop and original assembly manuals. The idea of actually putting brand new, still in the packaging parts of a thirty year old car together for the first time is astonishing. Things like the mild-steel exhaust system were still perfect, the dashboard came pre-assembled just as it would have in the factory, even the Dunlop tires were original and in perfect, new condition. Bolt holes matched exactly, there was no grime to clean out, no rust to remove, nothing to strip and paint and prime. More or less, a car guys wet dream. Ray meticulously undertook the work over the course of eight months and when he fired it up and took it for a first drive, it was as if it were rolling off the assembly line for the first time — because it was.
The car has been tested by the Ministry of Transportation and is awaiting its VIN and chassis numbers along with legal registration, which he has been assured will be awarded. So from a pile of parts forgotten and stored Ray Parrot is now the proud owner of E-type number 72,530. [Octane]