I spent a few weeks chasing various XKE’s online and in person with not much luck and was about to fly up and have a look at a car in Washington that had been in the process of a rewire when the owner gave up. It looked solid, but was partially disassembled, so the cartage down to California would be more expensive. I decided, before buying the tickets to call the seller of the white ’69 2+2 near my house and see if he had any luck selling – and if not was he willing to reconsider his price – which was really much too high. As it happens he had not sold the car and was willing to talk. I said if he got some gas in it and we could start it up maybe we could reach an agreement. The next morning I dropped by he had put a gallon in the tank and the car started nicely and ran smoothly. The oil pressure was very good even after warm. I had done compression earlier at it was also good.
The car came with reams of paperwork that I had time to look over. This included all kinds of goodies including original Jaguar window sticker from Charles H. Hornburg – the Jaguar Importer/Distributor at that time, the bill of sale, plastic Jaguar strip from windshield (I have never seen one of these before) , years of registration docs and service records. It also included the original owner’s manual, plastic case and period Jaguar ads from the dealer and the newspaper. Clearly the owners had loved this Jag.
I took the time to go over the various things that would need to be done to set the car right and the costs of all the various pieces. I also had the prices that had been realized recently for Series 2 2+2’s. I gave him my price and told him to mull it over. Frankly it was a bit more than I originally wanted to pay, but much less than his original price. I had also seen a fair number of Jags that I did not want to buy at this point and this one was very solid in comparison. He wanted to discuss it with his daughter and we agreed to speak later on. I was pretty tense because when I saw the car again and heard it run I really thought it would be a great car to bring back to life – and it could be kept very original. The hours ticked by…
Finally the seller called and asked for a small amount more than my offer. I thought it over and upped the ante a bit. I was not going to lose this deal over a few hundred dollars. So what did I pay for the car? That would be telling, but I can say it was under the five figures and would provide me a decent budget left over for restoration (so long as I did a lot of the work myself). I went and left a deposit. Later his daughter and I met at the DMV to do the paperwork, all went well and I got ownership and they got a nice sum that would go to charity as it turns out.
As soon as we had transferred ownership I arranged for a tow truck to collect the car and bring it to my home. The company was local and had a lot of experience towing exotic cars including XKE’s. Although I now had a valid registration and insurance and the XKE ran and drove – the tranny and powersteering worked fine etc. – I was dubious about the brakes and tires. My wife and I waited excitedly for the car to show-up. She had gone out with me and helped with the first survey for rust and liked the looks of the car herself. At last a flatbed rolled up with my Jag on the flatbed! Even in its rough shape on top of a flatbed – my wife commented on what a beautiful car it was. Indeed!