We love barn finds, but even the perfect barn find could take a lot of work to properly revive. Take this 1964 Jaguar E-Type, an example from the middle of the Series 1 production run with the smaller 3.8-liter XK inline-six that was parked in 1979. It looks pretty good in the barn photos—dusty, dirty, but relatively dry and complete—but nothing sits in the U.K. for four decades without needing some attention.
The restorer, E-Type UK, dug into the project and discovered things were a little more involved than it was assumed at first. The Opalescent Silver Blue paint was stripped off to get a closer look at the body, and like many old cars there was both lousy old bodywork and some rust in places that weren’t initially apparent. The restorer spent a lot of time cutting away rotted bodywork, welding in new metal, and smoothing things out with filler before a repaint in the original color. The new owner made a few changes in how the car was finished, however. The original blue leather was swapped for red, and the grille opening was given a red border in a nod to the E-Type Lightweight.
The 3.8 was retained but upgraded with cams and a lightened crank, and a five-speed gearbox was fitted. Other upgrades include an aluminum radiator—a very smart idea for any classic car—and upgraded rear suspension with better brakes.
While the restorer is certainly capable to put this sort of work in, what this Jaguar restoration shows is that even barn finds that initially look like they could be returned to the road with a cleaning and some new gas will likely need much more extensive work than you might anticipate. This E-Type was essentially stripped to its bones and rebuilt, not something that is cheap or quick. But thanks to a new owner with deep pockets and a team of highly competent restorers, this E-Type will live after so much time on ice.