In the ten years since the Jaguar E-Type first appeared at the 1961 Geneva Auto Salon, very little about its basic formula had changed. A myriad of subtle improvements and alterations were made to satisfy regulations, but in essence it was still the same – big six up front, independent suspension all around and sleek, feline styling. But because of those new safety and emissions laws in the critical US market, the once svelte and sexy E-Type was beginning to lose a bit of its edge. So for mid-1971, a decade after the E-type shocked the motoring press and public alike, Jaguar unveiled the radically different Series III E-Type.
This new car represented a change of course for the E-Type image, no longer an edgy and hairy-chested sports car, the new E-Type sported a more refined character that was more suited to cross-continent touring than backroad carving. That’s not to say the new car was any less capable, thanks to a turbine-like V12 engine up front and independent suspension at all four corners. The Jaguar DNA was still very much apparent, with a long, sloping bonnet and curvaceous hips it still looked every bit like an E-Type, but it was larger both inside and out, making it more practical and usable on a regular basis. The “federal” bumpers and lights were better integrated into the styling as well. Performance was still on par with the torquey six-cylinder cars, thanks to a seamless, silky-smooth power delivery and long gearing from the four-speed manual gearbox.
With just two owners from new, this magnificent E-Type OTS roadster is a spectacular example of this rapidly appreciating cat from Coventry. Documents show the first owner held the car for just one year, passing it on to the second owner in 1974 who proceeded to keep it for nearly 40 years, lavishing great care on it during that entire time and covering a mere 53,000 miles. It was fastidiously maintained while in his possession and the restoration was performed over a number of years on an as-needed basis. The result is a car that is well sorted and absolutely beautiful from top to bottom while still maintaining that solid feel of a car that’s never truly been totally apart. After the previous owner passed away, it was transferred from his estate where it received a careful but comprehensive mechanical recommissioning and it now performs at its peak, with less than 1000 miles since completion.
The crisp red paint is beautifully finished to a high standard and it wears a lovely optional hard top in matching red, along with chrome wire wheels, blackwall tires and a chrome trunk rack. Other desirable options include factory air-conditioning and a four-speed manual gearbox – the ideal spec for a SIII E-Type. Black leather and carpeting contrasts the red paint, both in excellent condition. Overall, the cosmetics and detailing are top-quality – a fact reflected in its appearance at the prestigious Meadowbrook Concours d’Elegance, an event held much to the same regard as Pebble Beach or Amelia Island. This is one of those rare cars that both looks and performs absolutely brilliantly.
Under the long bonnet lies the 5.3 liter V12, detailed to show quality standards. The boot is properly trimmed in tan Hardura and a spare tire, jack, top boot and tool roll are included. Numbers match all around and it is extremely well documented with a stack of records dating back to the 1970’s. The V12 “E” is finally being appreciated for its own unique character, and for an enthusiast seeking a show quality E-Type with performance to match, one would be hard pressed to find a better example than this.
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