1974 Jaguar XKE Roadster

In the middle of the 1960s, Jaguar engineers were busy trying to keep pace with continually evolving safety and emissions regulations. Increasingly strict standards, particularly in the critical American market, saw the power and purity of the original E-Type gradually compromised. Jaguar knew the E-Type could not continue in its original form forever, and a comprehensive overhaul would be needed to see the car into the next decade. Meanwhile, Jaguar acquired the local engine-building firm Coventry Climax, and in the deal came former Jag man Walter "Wally" Hassan, who convinced his good mate and fellow engineer Harry Mundy to join him. Mundy helped design legendary engines as the BRM V16 and Coventry Climax FW. Hassan’s storied career began at Bentley, later working for E.R.A., then on to Jaguar, where he helped develop the legendary XK inline-six. He worked with Harry Mundy at Climax on the incredibly versatile, world championship-winning FW engines. With Mundy and Hassan on board, Jaguar was in good hands.

The first significant product of Mundy and Hassan's collaboration was a 5.3 liter, all-aluminum, single-overhead-cam V12. The initial intent for this engine was the new XJ flagship saloon that was set to replace the aging S-Type and 420G models. Before it powered the XJ12, however, Jaguar adopted the new engine for use in a heavily revised E-Type. Completely reworked for the 1970s, the new car was now available only in 2+2 or roadster configuration, with both versions sharing the same lengthened, widened tub. The underlying E-Type architecture remained the same, with independent suspension all around, four-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, and torsion bars in front, on a lightweight steel semi-monocoque chassis. Flared fenders accommodate the widened track, which led to an overall flatter, lower appearance. Distinctly different, yet still instantly recognizable as an E-Type, the Series III was a drastic change from the original 3.8 series 1, although the updates gave the car a new lease on life. With the sublime V12 engine up front, the E-Type transformed from a lairy sports car into a user-friendly, comfortable high-speed tourer capable of crushing continental journeys in comfort and style.

Offered here is the finest, most meticulously restored twelve-cylinder XKE in the world. This highly desirable OTS Roadster is one of the last 100 cars produced, originally equipped with 4-speed manual and factory air conditioning. It is the recipient of a sensational, nut-and-bolt restoration to better-than-new standards by the renowned Jaguar and Series III expert Stew Jones Restorations of Winsted, Connecticut. Poring over the details of this car, reveals the obsessive level to which it was restored, including the perfectly plated hardware, meticulously aligned bodywork, painstakingly polished electrical connectors, and accurately reproduced assembly marks. The presentation is all the more astounding when you consider that Stew Jones, the man who guided this epic restoration, is blind. Restored with little regard to cost, the result of this magnificent obsession is the Gold Standard Series III XKE, backed by a string of perfect 100-point scores in JCNA National competition. Results include two Sir William Lyons Trophies, perfect scores in the 2000 North American Championship, 2001 JCNA Challenge Championship, and a perfect score as recently as October of 2023.

Finished in Recency red with a black hood and black leather interior, this XKE has a magnificent presence even before one starts taking in the details. The quality of the paintwork is beyond reproach, and the body is laser-straight with even gaps and superb alignment. The paint and bodywork is courtesy of Stew Jones Restorations’ own Tom Jones, who is also Ralph Lauren’s preferred paint specialist. The plating and brightwork are outstanding, and the car rides on brilliant chrome wire wheels with period-appropriate Pirelli Cinturato P5 radials. Details include correct Lucas headlamps, Triplex decals in the windscreen, and proper US-spec impact bumpers.

The incredible presentation carries on in the cockpit, which features all factory-correct Connolly leather, vinyl, and Wilton wool carpeting. The seats are superb with fresh, taut leather that appears virtually unused. Every detail is tended to, including the correct leather-wrapped steering wheel, period correct Blaupunkt radio, factory under-dash A/C unit, and restored inertial-reel seatbelts. The black vinyl top is correct to the last detail. It is taut and absolutely crease free – having never been folded. From behind the wheel, the meticulous finishing is enough to make one feel as though they've stepped back in time, and are driving a brand new XKE off the showroom floor – it even smells new.

As magnificent as the body and interior are, the star of the show is undoubtedly the 5.3-liter V12. Truly astonishing levels of detail are revealed upon lifting the clamshell bonnet, where not a single fastener, wire, or hose looks out of place or untouched. Yellow zinc-plated plumbing and hardware are hand-polished to a mirror finish, as are the carburetor bodies, rare OEM Cheney and Oetiker hose clamps, and even the case and spade connectors of the firewall mounted relays. Paintwork on the heater box and vacuum tank looks better than your average modern luxury sedan. Likewise, the suspension components, brakes, and stainless steel exhaust system are finished to a jewel-like standard, and the paintwork on the underside of body is as superb as it is on top. No detail is overlooked, including the correct gray-green painted fuel tank, of which just five US-spec cars are similarly equipped, correct plating on the brake hardware, and reproduced assembly markings.

Such fastidious restorations are typically the reserve of the multi-million dollar, world-class concours world, so to see such mastery applied to a V12 XKE is all the more surprising. This car's appeal lies not only in the beauty of its body and paintwork but in the discovery that every last component is as good as the previous. This incredible automobile is undoubtedly one of the finest Jaguar E-Types on the planet, and the ultimate expression of the art and skill of restoration.


Offers welcome and trades considered



Stock number 7719

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