About to buy an E-type: weird issue with certificate and engine nr

Dear Jag-lovers

Firstly, a short introduction of my self.
Im 32 years, live in Amsterdam and I am moving away from more modern cars and taking my first step into owning a classic. Always loved the shape of an E-type, and the time has come for me to finally take the step.

I would greatly appreciate your advice in the following matter:
Im a bit puzzled regarding the certificate of the e-type I am currently interested in buying.
Its this jag: http://www.xkedata.com/cars/detail/?car=885865

However, the current company that is offering the car has shown me a certificate (certficate number 31281) which has the original details of the car.
The weird part is, that the value it shows as its engine number is: “Originally R4901-9”.
The word originally is included which strikes me as weird.
Secondly, when you check on xkedata, it shows a picture of the identification plate from 2009 or 2008 and there it shows the engine number being R85869.
Link here: http://www.xkedata.com/gallery/zoom/?id=79544
This number does appear correctly on the engine at the top of the engine beneath the valve covers.

Questions I have
1/ how is it possible that the certificate mentions what the " original" engine number is? Did it get replaced by jaguar themselves and therefore they included the word " originally"?
2/ is it common to replace the identifcation plate on the car? Would jaguar themselves do this in case the car would have been fixed under warranty back in the day?
3/ Am I missing anything else or looking in the wrong place for the engine identification?

Im a bit puzzled and any advice would be more than welcomed so I join the lovely fold of e-type owners!

Much appreciated.


The word originally does not appear on my Heritage Certificate which was issued by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust. I have never heard of one like yours before but that’s not to say it wasn’t authentic, just that it’s not come up in my reading previously.

It is common for E-Types to have replacement motors so if your car has a replacement, that’s understandable. Why the data plate in the photos on XKE Data.com has a different Engine ID number from the Heritage certificate may be due to a restorer in the past had the data plate replaced and stamped it to indicate the number of the replacement motor.

This is not an entirely honest practice unless of course the sellers reveal that the engine was replaced at some point after it was manufactured, which it seems they are doing by showing you the Heritage Certificate that doesn’t match the current engine number.

If it is in good working order a replaced engine is not something I would be concerned about - but if you are keen to have an all original numbers matching engine and car, then maybe this isn’t the one for you. Good luck in your search.

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Those with early cars can comment with more knowledge - but the stamping on the data plate you show looks a bit ‘off’ to me both in font and size. Also (again not an S1 expert here) the engine number R8586-9 seems higher than what one would expect. The number on the cert - R4901-9 - seems more like it.

For many (as John notes) not a deal-breaker unless you simply must have a totally numbers matching car. At the very least possibly some bargaining leverage with the seller.

In the U.S. when you request a certificate you give them the numbers you think are correct and they then send you a certificate with the correct numbers.

Just guessing here but possibly someone submitted the numbers as shown on that data plate and the archivist used the ‘Originally’ prefix to acknowledge that the engine number provided was at variance with the build records.


You have already been given good advice by John and Geo. Like Geo, I am very suspicious of the data plate on the car. It is pretty clear that it has been replaced at some point in the past to reflect the numbers of the components currently on the car, rather than those originally fitted. The size and font of the stampings are a clear indication of this. Take a look at the data plate of car 885841 on xkedata, and you will see a data plate that looks more like we would expect. The irregular spacing of the characters is actually a good sign! Whether the data plate on 885865 was created to deceive, or just an attempt to more accurately reflect the car itself is probably lost to history. The fact that the seller provided a Heritage Certificate with the correct original Engine Number indicates that they are not party to such a deception. To some people, this later replacement engine will detract from the value of the car, but to others it will make no difference.


Two things raise a bit of a red flag with me. The first, already covered, is the obviously restamped data plate. That is not, in itself, a bad thing - my XK120 data plate was unreadable so replaced - but restamping inaccurate data smells of false representation. The second flag is the heritage certificate and, as you say, the insertion of the word “originally”. I would think #31281 was issued during the tenure of Anders Clausager as chief archivist, now retired. Anders had a well deserved reputation of not providing missing numbers or anything else that did not appear in the original record. This is an example of the certificate he would have issued:

scan0003 (2)

I cannot imagine the original build record making reference to an engine that was replaced at the factory, though I stand to be corrected.

All that said, if the car is a good example I would put the mismatched engine number way down on the list of things to be concerned about. I also would not shy away from counteroffering a lower price on the lack of matching numbers, but only because it might convince the vendor that it’s important enough to me to walk away from the deal.

Be more concerned about condition.

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Hi guys

Thanks a lot for taking the time and sharing your wisdom!
Guess true wisdom only comes with age :wink:

All joking aside: im a bit worried.
I dont think the seller knew themselves, so I dont think I am being hussled.
But I do think its worrying that someone would swap the identification plate. Why not just leave it as is?
Because now the plate is fake… whereas you would have had the original plate with just a different engine installed which would be much more preferable.

Does a " fake" identification plate pose any problems? Either in value or legally?
I mean it cant be legal to just change these on a car, can it?
As Nick guessed, the certificate was indeed issued by Anders Clausager.
I uploaded the certificate here: https://ibb.co/cKpmZ5

Im a bit in limbo: the car is fairly priced and will include a gearbox overhaul to freshen it up.
I would have much more preferred it had its original data plate with a new engine, than what the current situation is.

Any advice is welome regarding the certificate and why it would show " originally" as part of the value and what a fake identification plate will do if I would like to sell the car in the future. Can I get intro trouble?


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I think I understand your dilemma. I too would be nervous about a car with a fake data plate - or more specifically a car with a data plate containing fake information. Whether it is “illegal” is a question that would require an expert in the law in the appropriate jurisdiction(s). If the Car Number/Chassis Number/VIN were misrepresented it would clearly be a bigger issue. The Engine Number should be less of a concern. Tampering withe numbers stamped on the individual components themselves (e.g. the engine) would seem to be more suspect to me than creating a data plate that matches what is on the car.

As for the JDHT certificate containing the phrase “originally” followed by the original engine number, I think that this MAY not be unique. There is a reference in this past forum thread, to a case where the JDHT certificate indicates that an engine was replaced under warranty;


Normally, when you apply for a JDHT certifcate, you provide the data from your data plate, and evidence of ownership. JDHT will respond with confirmation of the data that matches their records, but not tell you the original data if your data does not match. Presumably the intent here is to prevent fraudulent restamping of non-original components to make the car “numbers matching”. As I understand it, this policy from JDHT was not always so, and I imagine that Anders Clausager exercised some discretion in what information he provided to vehicle owners. Maybe the owner who applied for the certificate for 885865 was able to explain the history of the engine swap to Anders (including the original Engine number), and as a result received the certificate you’ve seen.



Nope, no trouble, it’s just it’s not a “matching numbers” car, which sometimes does affect value, but not necessarily that much,

They (JDHT/JHT) changed policy some time ago, and do not “verify” numbers unless you send them to them and preferably also photos of the numbers as they are stamped too see if they are authentic/original and not made by a PO or a mechanic to magically make the numbers match.

They write the word “originally” in the certificate if you either have not the original engine, or you did not send them any evidence that the original engine is still there. Mistakes do also happen and certificates can be remade, I think at £45 GBP it’s a good deal.


Pekka T. - 1S20183

Hi guys

Thanks for all info and help!
Ive learnt a lot in just 24 hours.

I decided not to proceed with the purchase. It just does not feel right, a car that has had its data/identification plate altered. I cannot imagine that anyone is going to be thrilled with it in the future if I decide to sell.

Also: there are plenty cars out there that dont have this issue. I might have to pay a little more, but then at least I wont have that annoying thought always lingering in the back of my head that the data plate is altered…

Thanks for all the help, ill be back with more questions later down the line if I find a new car (this was car number 3 that I have viewed…)


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I agree. Wrong font. It’s a replacement plate.

Nothing wrong with that, but essentially your car doesn’t have it’s original engine in it now.

It’s Sunday. Tomorrow is another day. Sleep on it. A replacement data plate is not necessarily a big deal, unless you personally think it’s a big deal. You can purchase a blank and stamp in the correct numbers and it will no longer be fake but a replica of the original. Theree’ss nothing wrong or illegal about that. Suggestion: ask the vendors for pictures of the numbers stamped onto the gearbox, picture frame and body number. If they match the certificate that’s cool. If they don’t, or the vendors refuse, walk away.

Hi guys

Thanks again for all the feedback.
Ill sleep on it for a night before deciding.

will keep you all posted and might come back for some more advice.


The “fake ID” plate to me is problematic.

The engine in the car currently is NOT original, per the Heritage Certificate.

Not having the Heritage certificate, one would think the car is matching numbers as the ID plate denotes the non original engine as being original.

Not sure if the seller is trying to play both sides here? Full disclosure to you would have been the more forthright thing to do.

Wondering if someone “previously” had the idea of making sure the car “matching numbers” for some reason, possibly when it was sold to current seller, hence their low key handling of the car’s history and somewhat questionable transparency?

I think you were wise to pass on this, I would also avoid the seller in the future if they are in the trade.

Wise. There are difficulties enough buying something this special from a long distance. Much more normally it relates to condition, because there are many E-types out there that look superficially good but in reality are not very well restored. Your concern seems either to be the non-matching engine or the legality of the car. The former’s a relative preference that has nothing to do with the quality of the car. The latter is something you can establish by requesting a title search, which the vendors should be happy to provide along with a legal affidavit. But condition is still your biggest unknown and without you hopping on a plane to inspect it yourself you won’t know what you bought until it arrives in the Netherlands from … Italy?

If I was to offer one bit of advice it would be to not buy sight-unseen but find a reputable agent who will look at the car for you and give an opinion.

When I sent off for the certificate for my saloon, I filled in the wrong number for the “body number” (I used the number on the Pressed Steel tag), my certificate shows “originally” for the body number.

None of this is unusual, indeed it was replicated for my car. When I bought it a new data plate had been made up to show the current numbers. As the engine was not original that plate matched the new engine number. When I asked for a heritage certificate I gave the details per the plate to be informed by JDHT of the original engine number and the car from which the replacement engine was sourced. This is no mystery, nothing dodgy, just the way things are for cars that are up to 56 years old.

If, however, the car being bought is represented as matching numbers, then one will now know that assertion is factually incorrect. The heritage certificate provides history to the car. I want to know when my car had its engine change, and why. Unfortunately the owner at the time she. I suspect the engine was changed ( one of two car retailers who’ve registered their ownership of the car) so far refuses to divulge.

Hi guys

Few facts:

  • the car is not being represented as a matching numbers car. Although nothing about this issue was mentioned in the advert or when I first visited the car
  • I visited the car already in person, so I have seen the car myself.
  • I took a friend with me who is familiar with etypes.

I am going to call the owner and have a chat, ill keep you all posted.

All the guys are right. The plate font does not anything like the font on my '62 coupe. “Originally” means whoever procured the Heritage Cert did not provide the numbers as exist on the car. My Mk2 has all “originally” entries, even though they all match the car’s own numbers. Negotiating point? Good luck with it. Paul

You can have just a engine block , a body tub to match , a nice new Heritage cert , for 90% of Patent parts , is it a Jaguar or a kit car !!!

Hi guys

So I had a chat with the seller.
Just to be certain; they didnt attempt to hide it was a non-matching car.
I misread, where it stated to be an original SPEC engine, but not the original engine itself in the taxation report they showed.
They also provided the certificate themselves without asking, so no faults there.

The seller also offered to change the data plate with an original if I would want that.
But at this stage, I think its pretty clear.

What I like about the car:

  • on xkedata there is quite a lot of info on the car and history. There is even the email address of the owner who did the restauration in 1985 (the year I was born). His brother-in-law owner the car even before him. The car from those old pictures, looks exactly like the car today so its clear that the car has been kept in good condition.
  • they will overhaul the gearbox for me.
  • 4 new tires and brake pads and discs will be installed ( i only pay for the parts for the brakes).

So wit the clarifications in mind, I decided to go ahead with the car. Mainly because the history of the car is well documented and the car parts are all original, its just that the data plate got me confused. Perhaps I will rectify it in the future myself.

Thanks for all the support,