For some long time I have owned a couple of E-Types, they are the permanent fixtures of my garage.
As a schoolboy I worked each and every weekend and summer to pay my own way, one job was working in a garage as the forecourt attendant and I spent my time watching cars come and go. Most cars in the 70’s were frankly awful but a few exceptions grabbed my attention, one such was a V12 E-type in old English white. I thought to myself that one day I would have a car like that. Many years passed. School, university, and engineering career with a succession of crappy personal cars followed by ever nicer firm’s cars. Something was missing, it was May 2006, I was about to be 50 and my car was an ‘executive’ ride, nice but frankly soulless. I decided I needed a silly car that would reignite my love of driving and decided a big classic V8 would fit the bill.
Having scoured the classic car ads I found that I lived quite close to Bristol Classic and Sports Cars run by Paul Gilmour and his band of specialist restoration mechanics, welders, trimmers and painters. I went to specifically to look at and drive an Aston Martin V8 which was fine but obviously needed some engine work as it was making white smoke signals (£££!) and the sofa-like seating was so high I didn’t fit under the sunshine roof. Disappointed at the Aston (Paul was not trying a hard sell on it and was clear about its issues) I mooched around the workshop looking at an array of E-types. Something in my brain zipped me back to that boy sitting at a grease-stained till looking out at a bloke filling his Old English White E-Type. Here was my chance to honour that boy’s daydream. Only one manual E-Type was for sale, it was owned by a silent partner in the workshop and was a Series 3 V12 2+2. The car was and is Ascot Fawn, a colour loved by ladies and laughed at by almost all men. I admit it is an odd colour but it is my Beige Bastard and a lovely drive. I bought it immediately after the test drive and was signing the cheque, chatting to the guys in the garage when I saw a tarpaulin in the corner hinting at the seductive lines of a Series 1 FHC… oh dear!
The original series 1 E-Types are the most sublime car ever produced (in my humble opinion and, apparently, a vast majority of people asked). I could feel the magnetism.
I asked, idly, what it was doing in the corner. Paul said that it was a restoration project awaiting a client/customer before commencement. After a look at the empty, but complete and all-metal/no-rust body shell I started to think, or did I stop thinking? Anyway a short while later I had convinced myself that the restoration of the Series 1 would be ‘pay as you go’ so not painful on cashflow and that I could sell the V12 back to the Garage to cover a large part of the costs of restoration (yes I was that simple minded).
Having gone to possibly buy an Aston Martin V8, I left owning two E-Types and didn’t even begin to think that was strange.
Anyway the restoration started and money flowed, so that whilst I was enjoying the V12 the Series 1 was well advanced into its restoration. The bodywork was now all good metal, the mechanicals all fully refurbished and fitted and other finishing work underway.
In late October of 2006 I was established as regular visitor to the BCSC workshop, to see my car, and was looking forward to the E-Type, probably, being a Christmas present to me.
It was not to be… KABOOM! the car was destroyed.
Anyway, after that I kept the dream alive and left my insurance money with BCSC, a different S1 FHC was found and the long process of restoration started all over again. This time it took a very long time to get the workshop reinstated, the correct car found, stripped, re-panelled etc. etc. Eventually on 25th June 2008 my fully refurbished car was given its MoT and it has been mine ever since.