By the late 1960’s, Jaguar’s venerable E-Type was nearly a decade old and starting to feel a bit past its prime to sports car buyers. Safety and emissions regulations affected the styling and performance, and newer, more modern cars were hitting the market. Jaguar needed a significant refresh to inject some new life into the E-Type. It also needed a car that would meet those new safety and emissions standards all while keeping up with the performance gains of its rivals. The new XKE (as it was designated in the US) was longer, lower, wider and roomier than the E-Type Series 2 it replaced. In essence, the basic layoutremained the same, with a semi-monocoque body tub, bolt-on front subframes, front and rear independent suspension and disc brakes on all four corners. But now the fenders were flared to clear larger wheels and some of the previous E-Type’s supple curves were flattened out and modernized. Body styles were reduced to two choices – a 2+2 coupe and the beautiful open two seat roadster. But the biggest news was that the twin-cam inline six XK engine was gone, and in its place was a new, all-alloy, single overhead cam V12 displacing 5.3 liters and delivering 242 horsepower. While the V12 wasn’t more powerful than the outgoing six, its most notable characteristic was incredible smoothness and seamless delivery of its 295 ft-lbs of torque. The new V12 engine transformed the E-type from a hairy-chested sports car to a silky, luxurious, high-speed GT. The new car also sported a larger, redesigned cockpit, light-touch power steering and an all-around softer nature. While it was certainly an easier car to drive and more of a long-distance tourer, the twelve-cylinder XKE was still capable of seeing the good side of 145 MPH. The public responded positively and over 15,000 XKE’s were sold between 1971 and 1974 before the XJS took over the helm as Jaguar’s flagship sporting car.
This 1973 E-type presents in very good overall condition, in the original and attractive color scheme of sable brown with biscuit interior. It ticks all the right boxes when it comes to desirability -OTS roadster configuration, factory air conditioning, knock-off wire wheels and a factory four-speed manual transmission. Showing approximately 83,000 miles, this is a solid, well maintained and thoroughly usable car that has received a sympathetic restoration. As part of a recent refresh, it has been treated to a respray in the original sable brown which has been done to a very good standard of quality, presenting very nicely with good gloss and panel fit. The exterior trim is all in good order and is been refitted properly. As part of the overhaul, the convertible top was replaced with a high quality replacement. Biscuit leather seats and carpeting are a fine complement to the sable brown exterior. All of the upholstery is in very good condition with no major flaws to speak of. Factory air conditioning helps to make it enjoyable place to spend a weekend of motoring. Mechanically, this XKE is very well sorted and ready for regular use. It has clearly been refreshed with driving in mind, so the V12 runs strong. When that turbine-like V12 is mated to the 4-speed manual ‘box of this car, it makes for excellent performance.
Twelve cylinder XKE’s have been experiencing a surge in collectability as values rise across the range of all Jaguar E’s. While this may not be a full concours-quality car, it is certainly one that is highly attractive, excellent quality and will surely deliver many miles of enjoyment to its next owner.
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