Roger Sambrook has owned his Jaguar E-type Series 1 for 20 years, and in that time he has been piecing together the history, which is still incomplete.
Here, he tells the story as he understands it, so far ……
I have been wanting to trace the South African history of my car for most of the 20 years or so that I have owned it. I would dearly like to hear from anyone who can add anything to its known history.
I was lucky enough to get hold of chassis no. 8 of the RHD FHC’s in 1996 and know it was brought back to the UK in 1991 by a couple who, it seems, essentially bought the car and brought it to the UK in order to get money out of South Africa as they retired from South Africa. Initially to England and then I believe to Australia. They also brought back a Mk II (chassis number: 72494) which I believe was their run-around car in South Africa.
My car was a ‘Private Export Car’, first registered in Coventry by Jaguar on 2nd October 1961, having come off the line on 18 September and despatched on 4th October. It is not known how long it remained in the UK and whether it was shipped to South Africa or driven there! I have spoken to other owners of 1960’s British cars in South Africa, who have documented proof of their cars having been driven out there (or part driven, part train). The distributor is listed as “Robb Motors” of Cape Town, the Jaguar dealer at that time. I did once get hold of someone through LinkedIn who had worked at Robb Motors when it was still going, but sadly he remembered nothing and disliked old British cars, favouring German cars instead!
My car was registered to a J Schoeman and searches of that name have brought up nothing. I did once contact a South African motoring journalist called Deon Schoeman, but he could not help claiming Mr Schoeman must be from the unknown wealthy side of the family! Cars No. 7 and 9 went to royalty and a racing driver, so either Mr S was at that time influential or extremely lucky. The next E-types to go to South Africa didn’t go until 1963, so he would have been the only E-type driver in South Africa for over a year.
More recently, following a request for information in Octane magazine, (No. 166/167) I was able to make contact with a gentleman who had known the car just before it came back from Durban. He was a business associate of the couple and recalls them travelling to Ladysmith, Colenso area of Natal to buy the car from an Indian gentleman who I believe may have owned the car for a long time, but rarely driven it. Mr and Mrs Wigginton paid the equivalent of £100 for it! Mrs Wigginton cleaned it up and had it looking good again and it sold for £3,500 a little later in the UK. My contact assures me the Mr Wiggintons had no idea a piece of E-type history had passed through his hands!
Roger contacted Xclusively Jaguar over a year ago, and with considerable help of John Elmgreen (an authority on tracing Jaguar histories in the Southern hemisphere) we were put in touch with Peter Fielding in South Africa, whose contacts were able to find new clues to the history of the car, although nothing was conclusive.
Roger would be very grateful for any information, and can be contacted by email at Roger Sambrook