1973 JAGUAR E TYPE S3 FHC V12View vehicle description
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, 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 some 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.
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First registered on the 9th of March 1973 and showing only four previous keepers on the V5 registration document, this lovely old E-Type has been in storage since 1990. Recently recommissioned, it would make an ideal introduction to the world of the rolling restoration.
As honest as a whispered promise from Santa, what you see is what you get; it looks a million dollars, starts beautifully and drives and stops, albeit with a patinated look to the interior.
But that’s okay, because you’re bidding on what appears to be a rock-solid example that would respond well to an ongoing programme of refurbishment in the sure and certain knowledge that the canny enthusiast could add value at every stage.
As Stephan Wilkinson put it in his wonderful book The Gold-Plated Porsche, you simply can’t put a price on the joy of restoring a car yourself. Cars like this are the stuff of dreams, and when you’ve finished it you’ll have something to pass on to your kids knowing that they’ll be thinking of you every single time they drive it …
On the Outside
The Signal Red paintwork is thought to date back to the late eighties when the car was last restored. The work was obviously done to a good standard because the car still looks good and, more importantly, the paint has done its job in protecting the underlying metal from the dreaded tinworm; even the sills and wheelarches, every single one a notorious rust trap, are free of rot and corrosion. Sure, age has resulted in the odd crack and bubble in the paintwork here and there, but there’s nothing that would worry us unduly.
So, while the paint could do with freshening up, it’s most definitely a job for the long-term rather something that needs doing immediately in order to arrest the relentless march of extensive corrosion.
The panel gaps are good too, as are the badges and chromework. It really is very tidy for a car that has been sitting in a barn for the last 30 years, albeit one that has lived the greater part of its life under carefully controlled conditions.
It also still sits four-square and has an incredibly appealing stance; a good E-Type has real presence and this one is no exception – and who doesn’t love a quad exhaust pipe and a big, fat bonnet bulge?
The chromed steel wheels, complete with chrome centre caps, are in good shape but will need refurbishing in the future as they’re starting to peel. The tyres, while they have a decent amount of tread on them, are almost certainly date-expired too so may need replacing sooner rather than later.
On the Inside
The 2+2 Biscuit interior is in a decent enough condition, especially for a 30-year-old barn find. It’s true that the leather seats are heavily patinated, but the seat frame appears in good shape, and they aren’t otherwise damaged, so could be refurbished with new foam, and possibly new covers, fairly easily.
And yes, the leather-rimmed steering wheel is worn, the headlining is grubby, and the paint is flaking away in some minor places but it’s honest and showing its age with refreshing honesty.
Mind you, that said, we’d happily drive it like this until time and funds allow for it to be refurbished because there’s something lovely about pulling up in a well-worn but much-loved E-Type, isn’t there?
And there really is no need to be ashamed of its condition because the closer you look the better it gets. The dashboard, for example, isn’t cracked as so many are. The spokes on the steering wheel aren’t rusty, and the chromed handbrake and gear lever are still shiny. It’s all there, and in surprisingly good shape.
Which means that there’s an awful lot to like; it’s just that it’ll take some elbow grease to get it into the sort of condition that most of us would like to see it in.
The recent mechanical fettling included a new stainless steel exhaust system, a new radiator, header tank, and coolant hoses, and the front brakes sorting out with new calipers, hoses and pads. The Jaguar was also fitted with an electronic ignition system and a rebuilt distributor. The owner then spent another £1,500 at his local Jaguar specialist to get the car checked over and serviced.
A modest recommissioning, but one that was nonetheless comprehensive enough for it to make it driveable. However, the seller would caution that it needs a little more doing to it before it could be used for long journeys with confidence, as it has only covered about two miles in the last thirty years!
We’ve driven it round the block and can confirm that it starts and runs well, and while the brakes might need a hefty push to stop the car, they do work. So, having tested it, we agree that the owner’s caution is a sensible acknowledgment from an honest seller that any car that has been in storage for the best part of three decades is always going to need a bit of work before it is fighting fit again.
The engine bay - easily accessible as the entire front end of the car folds forward and away - could do with a clean and detail, but it, along with the underside, are as strong as the rest of the vehicle, which is always the worry when buying an old E-Type. WE note a small amount of corrosion on the battery tray, but are happy to report that that appears the exception, not the rule.
Remember, the heavy lifting in classic car restoration is always getting rid of the rust, and if you don’t have to do that then the rest should be easy spannering. What you see here is an honest Jaguar E-Type that only needs some TLC to bring it back to its former glory rather than a ground-up, nut-and-bolt, no-holds-barred restoration.
The E-Type doesn’t have a current MOT certificate, and while it is exempt by virtue of its age, we would strongly encourage the new owner to have the car re-MOT’d at the earliest. The cost of an MOT is a small investment when offset against the purchase and upkeep of any classic car, and it gives an independent, third-party assessment of the car’s condition, which not only provides reassurance to the owner (and any subsequent purchasers) but might also be invaluable in the event of a bump when negotiating with the police and any interested insurance companies…
It comes with a Production Record Trace Certificate from the Jaguar Heritage Trust and the owner tells us that he believes the engine is the original, which is a nice touch. There are also a few old MOT certificates and a recent invoice for the brake bits.
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
While the vendor is conscientious enough to have given the E-Type a light mechanical fettling, he is also pragmatic enough to accept that he’s never going to get it finished - and wise enough to commission us here at The Market to sell it for him.
Which is good news for all the British sportscar enthusiasts out there; a Jaguar E-Type has always been a safe place to put your money and the current softening of the classic car market hasn’t really changed that; quality will always out and collectors, enthusiasts and investors will always default to what they know in conservative times – and everyone knows and loves an E-Type.
So, we think this will sell for between £29,000 and £35,000, with the reserve set even lower, at which price point it offers an awful lot of car for the money, and an awful lot of fun for you in the coming months and years both driving it AND restoring it.
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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