A Mostly British Obsession

“The Imaginary Car”

1961 Jaguar XKE

My 1961 XKE roadster is my forever car…in that the car is going to take forever to finish. When I started I was full of vim, and sure I could get it done in a year.


Now, I’m a broken old man who just hopes he’s able to turn a wrench under his own power by the time I can take it up again.

Before acquiring this machine, I owned a beautiful 1966 Fixed Head Coupe, which was “done” and hence I needed to get something infinitely worse, right? See if you can see the flaw in this logic:

  • I only use my car on sunny days; therefore
  • I should have a convertible!

That’s all just dandy, until you realize that XKE convertibles are more than twice as dear as their coupe siblings. So the amount I would net for my coupe would only stretch to a “project” XKE.

Oh, I had high hopes–I would buy a “weekend project,” a car which could be made into a scruffy driver quickly, and which I could drive for years before redoing it. Bzzzzt! I bought the car sight-unseen from the other side of the country, and when it rolled off the truck, I knew I was sunk.

“The Imaginary Car” is what my wife calls it. She’s never seen more than a few parts in any one place.

8 Comments

  1. Allie

    I’ll bake a cake in the shape of this car if it ever appears!!

  2. Simon Feacey

    Roger,
    I cannot imagine your the same person who set up XKE.Data (which I consider a hugely impressive effort & where I registered my own car (1r7077) & the same person who (if I may so so) appears to have frittered his efforts away on a miscellaneous collection cars, most of which you should have been ignored from day one!. Why oh why – why not concentrate on one or two cars & reap the benefit & pleasure of owning & driving them.

  3. Roger

    Hi Simon,

    Yeah, some of the stuff I own/have owned is pretty pedestrian. But my MGB, for example, is, in its own way, just as much fun as the E-Type. And every home owner needs an old truck (don’t they?), and every farm needs an old tractor (doesn’t it?), etc., etc.

    Mostly, the E-Type hasn’t had any attention because we’ve moved so frequently the past few years there has been no place to work on it.

    You do make a decent point, though. I think I may have some sort of disease. ;)

  4. Allie

    This Simon person definitely has a point, if you ask me. ;)

  5. Kevin

    Roger, you ARE the disease! XXXOOO

  6. jon

    i have a 61 xke coupe that i fould pics of at bridgehampton races in 1964,number 20.would like to know what its worth

  7. chuck goolsbee

    My car will wear out before you finish yours. =P

    –chuck

  8. phill darlington

    the disease could also be a passion for autos, im in the same positon , my 69 xke coupe i hope to be driving in a week. I drive a 70 tr6 most days , a 80 RR on nice days , on hold are 70 triumph gt6 ,2 tr3s ,76 mgb ,67 tr4a , and a tr7 of wich ive no idea why i bought it.

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