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George Best's 1971 Jaguar snapped up for £43,000

By Cate McCurry

Published 15/10/2015

H&H auctioneer James Wheeler polishes up the Jaguar once owned by George Best
H&H auctioneer James Wheeler polishes up the Jaguar once owned by George Best

The jaw-dropping dark blue Jaguar that was the pride and joy of Manchester United legend George Best has sold for £43,000.

The 1971 E-Type V12 Coupé, valued at between £40,000 and £60,000, belonged to the Northern Ireland footballing hero at the height of his fame and he treasured it for more than three years.

The vehicle was sold by H&H Classics at its Duxford auction yesterday.

Best, who was known for his love of fast cars, certainly worked his way through a fair number of them including several Jaguars, at least three of which were E-Types - a Series 1 Roadster, Series 1.5 Coupé and the Series 3 Coupé, which was the one up for offer.

Described as "used and enjoyed by footballing legend George Best", the super-car took just minutes to sell from its starting price at £40,000, and was snapped up by an unknown buyer in the room. The expensive car looked to sell for under that as bidders hesitated before signalling their interest. A warning was sent out that the car was about to sell before it went to £42,500 and finally sold for £500 more. The auctioneer could be heard telling the room: "Don't wait until the last minute to bid."

Originally designed to race, it was capable of hitting 150mph. When new, the V12 engine produced 314 horsepower and could go from 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds.

Finished in its original colour of dark blue and trimmed in blue velour, the Series 3 currently displays an unwarranted 67,000 miles and was described by the vendor as having an "excellent" V12 engine, and "good" coupé bodywork, paintwork, interior trim and automatic transmission.

Jaguar made fewer than 8,000 of the Series II model of the E-Type that George owned and nicknamed it the "ultimate cat". The Jag even earned real street cred when Enzo Ferrari described it as "the most beautiful car ever made".

Damian Jones, H&H sales manager, said before the vehicle was sold: "Once in a while a car comes along that makes me think of reaching for my chequebook.

"This is one of those cars. It is a legend and was owned by a legend. It does not get much better than that."

Brigitte Bardot, Tony Curtis and Steve McQueen were other celebrated E-Type owners.

Best became one of the first celebrity footballers, but ultimately fell victim to his alcoholism in 2005 aged 59.

He scored 137 times for United in 361 appearances.

He helped his team to victory in the European Cup and was crowned European Footballer of the Year in 1968, but to some he was more famous for his off-field behaviour. He was once quoted as saying: "I spent 90% of my money on women, drink and fast cars. The rest I wasted."

He finally sped away from Old Trafford in the 1971 sports car following his famed bust-up with manager Tommy Docherty in 1973 and was never to play for the Red Devils again.

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