Welsh Enterprises Founder’s 1961 Jaguar E-Type

This issue’s cover car is a rare and early version of one of the most desirable cars of the 1960s; it’s a 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1.

This car is one of the earliest Jaguar E-Types, which are distinguished from later E-Types by their flat floors, external hood latches, and 3.8-liter motors. On the later cars, these distinctive features were replaced with dished floors, hood latches that were inside the hood, and 4.2-liter motors.

This E-Type is owned by William “Catman Bill” Welsh Sr., founder of Welsh Enterprises, Inc., an independent supplier of Jaguar parts. The car was number 129 off the production line and still has the original paint and interior.

“He has owned the car since 1968,” says Dave Welsh, son of Bill and general manager of Welsh Enterprises since 1997. “It was all original and he left it that way. Everything on it is original except for the convertible top, which was changed at one point in its life. The paint was in such good shape that we were able to buff it to where it is almost like what it would have looked like when it came out of the factory. It has never had any paintwork or bodywork.

“We have the car on display at the store,” he added. “Plenty of people have come from around the world to take pictures of it for reference. It’s a real original car that people use for reference, so it is on display where people can see it.

Welsh Building

“My dad has always had his collection,” Dave Welsh says. “It used to be much larger, but I would say he now has about 10 to 15 real original cars we have here. This one in particular is a very unusual car because it is number 129 off the assembly line and, like I said, it has original paint, original leather, the engine has never been removed, and everything is as it was when it came out of the factory. That is the real unique point about this car.”

William “Catman Bill” Welsh Sr. has always had a fascination for Jaguar automobiles since he was a teenager and saw one parked along the street in Steubenville, Ohio. In the early 1960s Bill and his father purchased a Jaguar to restore together. At the time, Jaguar parts (along with parts for any foreign car) were difficult to find. Bill would sift through the pages of publications to look for the parts that he needed. Bill would also place small ads looking for particular parts. When Bill had extra parts, he would also advertise them in order to continue to fund his restoration project. Eventually, Bill became known as the Jaguar parts man and dealers would offer him their redundant stock so they could free up space in their dealership. After 14 years of working in the steel mill, in 1976, Bill and Juanita decided that there was an opportunity to make a living by selling Jaguar parts and Bill left the mill and started pursuing the Jaguar parts business full time. Shortly after that, in the early 1990s, Welsh Enterprises became a licensed salvage dealer and now operates the largest Jaguar-only salvage yard in the country.

Today, Welsh Enterprises is an independent supplier of new, used, and rebuilt parts for all Jaguar models from 1949 to the present day. Its facilities in Steubenville, Ohio, include a 100,000 sq. ft. warehouse, a Jaguar-only salvage yard, and a showroom where they sell Jaguar automobiles.

“Something that we do that is very unusual is, we have used XK and E-Type parts along with new,” says Dave Welsh. “A lot of Jaguar owners really prefer a good original part, if it is in good condition, over the reproduction. As you know, even though there is a reproduction, they would rather have an original part they can clean up, fix, and put on their car. Having both new and used parts is something that makes us really unusual. Most people in the industry do just new or just used.”

For more information about Welsh Enterprises, call (800) 875-5247 or visit www.welshent.com.

About Andrew Meyers

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