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1971 JAGUAR E Type Series 3 2+2

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1971 JAGUAR E Type Series 3 2+2


The Jaguar E-Type must be a contender for the title of the world’s most beautiful car, surely? Enzo Ferrari certainly thought so and he was never one to praise other people’s cars with any regularity. Decidedly phallic in profile, it features inch-perfect lines, some of the best engines in the business, and a cockpit straight out of every schoolboy’s dreams.

First launched in 1961 and still hanging around in 1975, the E-Type was designed to be aerodynamic rather than beautiful, which goes to prove the engineering adage that if it looks right then it probably is.

Offered initially with the gorgeous 3.8-litre straight-six engine that develops a heady 265bhp, the Jaguar was a democratic car for all its potent sexual symbolism and mouth-watering performance; its list price was the equivalent of just over £30,000 in today’s money, which even its detractors – and yes, there are a few of those, believe it or not – have to admit was an absolute bargain.

Its engine capacity grew to 4.2-litres in 1964, at which point the Jag started to go as well as it looked. The changes also included bigger disc brakes and an all-synchromesh gearbox. The so-called 1½ Series cars arrived in 1967 and the main changes were that the headlights now lacked the Perspex covers of the first cars, they had twin Stromberg carbs, and the eared spinners on the wire wheels were now hexagonal.

The Series 2 cars lasted between 1968 and 1971. This iteration grew larger bumpers and relocated rear lights, plus a new, safer interior. The coupe was still available as a two-seater, something that was to change with the introduction of the series 3 cars in ’71; all coupes would thereafter be 2+2, with small rear seats that were really only suitable for children. Introduced to the range in 1966, the 2+2 body added nine inches to the wheelbase, and it was a move that many feel ruined its silhouette.

The Series 3 cars spanned 1971 through to its death in 1975. The 2+2 was now the only coupe on offer, and a 5.3-litre V12 engine sat beneath the bonnet. It was now a very different car to the one that has been launched all those years ago being considerably faster, more comfortable, and reliable. It had metamorphosed over the years into the ultimate grand touring car and remains a firm favourite with classic enthusiasts the world over.


The Vehicle

The previous owner, who is a friend of the vendor’s (and has remained so since selling him the car!) had the Jaguar in his care for almost three decades. In storage from 2003 until it passed to its current owner in 2017, it is remarkably well preserved and one of the very best Jaguar E-Types we have seen in a long time.

First registered on the 5th of July 1972 and showing a credibly low mileage of just over 50,000, it is a genuine UK car that benefits from a Jaguar Heritage Trust certificate that proves its status as a ‘matching numbers’ car.

Primrose Yellow really suits the car, bringing a period authenticity without stepping over into pastiche - and just take a look at that stance; the old engineering adage that if it looks right then it probably is has never been more apt.

Only for sale because the owner finds getting in and out of it a bit tricky as he gets older (ironically, as a long-time Jaguar enthusiast, he finds his XK120 much easier to use…) this is a rare opportunity to get your hands on a unusually original V12 E-Type that is running beautifully and looking even better.

On the Outside

We described the Primrose Yellow bodywork as being magnificent in the preview, and that’s a superlative we stand by. Millimeter-perfect shutlines, panel alignment that could have been guided by laser, and a fabulous finish to the paint itself all conspire to turn this into one of the very nicest looking E-Types we’ve had through our hands.

The owner thinks it might be largely original, too. While it’s almost certainly been refreshed in places, he’s of the opinion that it’s never been resprayed or had any major bodywork carried out on it. There certainly isn’t any rust or corrosion of any note.

The chromework is fabulous too, which will come as a relief because there’s quite a lot of it. The combination of brightwork and Primrose Yellow coachwork is a striking combination, and one that we love. Bright and fresh, it is very of-the-period without being even the slightest bit gaudy.

It’s nice to see an E-Type running steel wheels for a change, too. These are in a decent condition and are finished off with very good chrome hubcaps. However, we can see that the car’s new owner might want to get them refurbished at some point, not because they are bad but because the rest of the car is so good that even these lightly rusted wheels stand out more than they would on an inferior car.

The tyres are matching Pirelli P5s, all of which have good tread; as we will never tyre of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but do give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.

Work to do is limited to getting the boot lid to fit a little better as it sits proud of the bodywork, and perhaps popping some new rubbers on the doors as the old seals are perished.

Oh, and if it were ours we’d be tempted to fit a slightly smaller rear number plate and then relocate it between the rear lights. It’s only a small thing but one that would tidy up the rear end beautifully.

On the Inside

An E-Type’s interior is always a special place, but this one goes above-and-beyond in its delivery; the combination of rows of switchgear and dials, a small, three-spoke steering wheel, and that low, louche driving position mean that every journey will bring a smile to your lips.

That the worst aspect of it is the slightly worn gearknob speaks volumes as to its condition; the black leather seats, for example, are only slightly patinated and remain firm and supportive. They look great, too, and that’s almost as important, isn’t it? Sure, you could recolour the outer edge of the driver’s seat if you wanted too, but we think they look great as they are; after all, it’s an old car, so why pretend otherwise?

The rear seats are in great shape too, as are the sill covers, door cards, and the dashboard. The headlining is new, and the overall impression is of a well-loved Jaguar that is smart enough for you to show at your local classic car show but not so showroom-smart that you’d be afraid to use it. It is, like the very design itself, utterly lovely and total fit for purpose.

The carpets are good and lifting them reveals solid metal underneath, which is reassuring. The boot is in a cracking condition with good trim and a tidy floor to the luggage compartment. Better still, lifting the carpets reveals only good things other than the need for a bit of tidying up to bring it up to the same condition as the rest of the car. This is very much a job for some time in the future rather than something that’s going to nag at you until it’s done.

The dashboard is home to a period Senn Sound radio, which is a lovely touch.

Aside from the need for a new gearknob, we’d be tempted to get a car trimmer to re-stuff the front headrests as they’re looking a bit saggy., but that’s not a bad To Do list, is it?


The previous owner recommissioned the Jaguar prior to selling it, treating it to new consumables and perishables. The vendor has continued the work, fitting a new clutch and hydraulics in addition to having an electronic ignition system fitted, the fuel tank drained and flushed, and all four carburettors cleaned and rebuilt. Now fighting fit, he used the E-Type for a 2,000-mile road rally around France in 2018, a brief it fulfilled with aplomb and complete reliability.

It’s nice to see a car where the underseal has been applied to protect, rather than to disguise and that’s exactly what we find here; long-established underseal that has done its job and kept the floorpan free of rust, rot and structural corrosion. There is the odd small area where it needs touching up and some surface rust wire-brushing off, but that’s very much a nice-to-do job for a warm summer’s evening.

The underside of the bonnet might look grubby but it’s just rustproofing fluid applied when the car was new, so we’d be tempted to leave well alone. However, if you’d rather remove it then half-a-day with a bottle of white spirit and a plentiful supply of old rags should bring it up nicely. There is a small leak from one of the coolant hoses between the radiator and engine to remedy.

The engine itself is a little grubby too (only mentioned as the rest of teh car is so good), but it should respond well to a quick detail. More importantly, the car starts, runs and drives very well indeed; everyone who’s driven it here is raving about just how nice it is to drive.

But don’t take our word for it; why not make an appointment to come and see it for yourself?

History Highlights

The Jaguar’s MOT certificate expires in February 2021. The online MOT history shows nothing of concern whatsoever bar the likely need for three ball joint covers before the next test.

The car comes with a loose-leaf workshop manual, the original owner’s ‘Operating, Maintenance, Service’ handbook, and its original green registration card from Northern Ireland.

It also has a number of expired MOT certificates plus some old invoices and bills to confirm the work that has been done to it.

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork.

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please contact the owner to arrange an appointment.

What We Think

With almost nothing for the new owner to do, this magnificent V12-powered E-Type is sure to draw a lot of interest, not least because it’s one of the most usable examples out there; while not everyone is a fan of the 2+2’s shape, there’s no denying that it would make an awesome car to take the grandchildren out in.

It should be a decent investment, too. While the classic car market has taken a bit of a dip in the past year or so, the market still values quality and this particular E-Type reeks of class.

And a Jaguar E-Type has always been a safe place to put your money and enthusiasts and investors will always default to what they know in conservative times – and everyone knows and loves an E-Type.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that we think this car will sell for between £41,000 and £50,000. Not cheap, but to remind you this is a UK car, 2 owners, and 50k miles in smashing condition. And whoever’s bought a cheap classic car knows that they’re always cheap for a reason…

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and AnyVan for transporting it.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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  • Location: Abingdon
  • Odometer Reading: 50,000
  • Chassis Number: 1S.5129
  • Engine: 5343
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Colour: Primrose Yellow
  • Interior: Black Leather

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