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The Jaguar Series I XKE was first debuted at the Geneva Auto Show on March 15, 1961. While the Fixed Head Coupe was the first to be shown, two 1961 Jaguar XKE Convertible, also known as the Open Two Seater or Roadster, and two FHC models were displayed at the New York Auto Show later that year. At the time, the price was $5,595 for the Convertible, a bargain by any standard. The 3.8L six-cylinder engine would come from the earlier XK150S. Interestingly, the very first XKE models utilized external bonnet latches that required a tool to open and had a flat floor design. Today, these early models are considered more valuable. Later, the floors were dished to provide more legroom and the two hood latches would be moved to inside the car. The only transmission offered during this time was a racing Moss four-speed manual with a non-synchromesh first gear. It is estimated that approximately 1,625 units of the 1961 Jaguar XKE Convertible were built, alongside only 388 units of the 1961 XKE Fixed Head Coupe.
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The most damaging problem to any classic Jaguar XKE is rust. As such, rust free is not a phrase that should be taken lightly. When inspecting a potential 1961 Jaguar XKE Convertible for purchase, always be sure to check under the rear fenders, along the sills, under the spare tire, and under the carpets for rust. Floor damage or rust in the rear doglegs should also be of concern. The Jaguar XKE body is partially unitized, meaning that the body tub provides most of the structural support for the car; each panel functions for both appearance and support. This makes checking for rust and understanding the extent of rust imperative. Brakes are also a very big deal with these cars. The XKE models have four-wheel discs, with the rear ones inboard. Any serious work on the rear brakes can require removing the entire rear sub frame. The power brake mechanism, which has considerably more parts than an American car, is fairly straight forward but will need close inspection. Lastly, the Jaguar XKE can tend to overhead. If you are able to start the engine, watch the temperature. The electric engine fan should automatically start as the engine heats up.
When you’re ready to learn more about the 1961 Jaguar XKE Convertible or would like to explore other Buyer’s Tips with the team at The Beverly Hills Car Club, they invite you to contact them at their California classic car dealership. Based in Los Angeles, they have a reputation for fair and honest car deals and would be delighted to introduce you to the classic Jaguar XKE models they currently have available. Connect today to get started!
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