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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Across the Block: Jaguar E-Type Evolution Roadster


 Source: Bonhams

Over the shifting sands of automotive history, time tends to stand still for the beloved Jaguar E-Type. There have surely been faster and rarer cars, but when it comes to the complete package, few autos can dethrone the E-Type.


The example you see here is certainly one of the most unique. Called the ‘Evolution’ Roadster, it was specially built to the parameters of British racing driver John Coombs. Coombs had a successful run in lower formula racing during the ‘50s, before giving up competitive driving to shift focus to running his Jaguar dealership.


But that didn’t stop Coombs from preparing and entering racecars for some of the biggest names of the day, including Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren. Coombs’ famously race-prepped Jaguar Mark 1 and Mark 2 saloons (nicknamed ‘Evolution’ models) as well as E-Types to considerable success, the latter of which inspired this 1962 3.8-liter E-Type model.


Coombs purchased the vehicle in 2007 and began an extensive restoration process. Its drive configuration was moved from right-hand drive to left, as was originally manufactured by the factory.

More pronounced flares were massaged into the rear wheel arches, a new aluminum hood added, rear bumper restyled, and the suspension height lowered an inch. Inside, the car incorporated power-assisted steering and leatherwork by Moto Trim.

The engine saw a tune-up as well. 10:1 compression flat-top pistons were added, along with high-lift D-Type camshafts, a gas-flowed cylinder head, stainless steel exhaust, and a lightweight flywheel.

 The brakes have been upgraded to four-piston calipers with vented discs. Power runs through an aluminum-cased five-speed gearbox.


Sadly, Coombs passed away in his Monaco home on August 3, 2013 at age 91, before taking delivery of his bespoke E-Type. This ‘Evolution’ Roadster is set to go up for auction on June 27 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale, the very last of the acclaimed ‘Coombs Jaguars’.