Since its introduction in 1961, the E-type has been critically acclaimed as having some of the finest lines ever penned for an automobile. Even today, the long, cigar-like nose and short rear deck lid remain the standard by which other sports cars are judged.

Much of the design inspiration came from its racing predecessor, the D-type. With the E-type's monocoque chassis construction, it was both longer and lower than its predecessor, but the racing heritage was undeniable.

Ten years and numerous tweaks later, Jaguar launched a V12 engine in its E-type, transforming it with an infusion of turbine-like torque and horsepower. Along with the engine, other more plush modifications were made, including power steering and power brakes.

The result was a very fine, if somewhat sophisticated, grand touring car. The primrose yellow Jaguar E-type 2+2 coupe shown here has fresh exterior paint. Its black leather interior is in excellent condition. Overall, the car has been very well maintained, and has all the correct trim, including original chrome wheels and hub caps. It is perfectly suited for Jaguar club events and cruises.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1967 Ford GT40 replica

The car pictured sold for $17,600 at the RM Auction in Amelia Island, Florida, on March 11, 2000. There is a mystique surrounding twelve-cylinder cars. Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other super cars of that ilk have these sophisticated, silky-smooth engines. There’s even an historic rally each year that can only be entered by twelve-cylinder cars. And to think that less than $20,000 will buy the budget-minded enthusiast entrance into this exclusive club. The Jaguar Series III E-type “fixed-head coupe” is a great car for that money.

So what’s the catch? For one, the “tweaks” carried out between the classic Series I E-type roadster and this cat built at the end of E-type production resulted in a car that, to be generous, has few graceful angles. The wheelbase, stretched to accommodate the longer engine and extra seats, is too long. The roof line, raised for rear headroom, has a hunchbacked appearance. And the car is heavier than earlier E-types, which didn’t help either mileage or handling. Gas mileage was probably the worst complaint. Drive the car at all aggressively and the twelve cylinders can have trouble delivering the same mileage as a sport-ute. Produced under the new EPA restrictions, the engine is strangled by four

Zenith-Stromberg carbs that had replaced the three two-inch SUs of the previous model. At least a 1972 model-year car no longer has to be smog-certified in California and several other states.

But at the price of a barely average Austin-Healey, how can you go wrong? Actually, there are a lot of ways. Like any other bargain-priced but complicated car, if the Series III E-type requires any work at all, it is cheaper to back off and wait to buy something better later. Just the body work to correct a bent and misaligned bonnet and rusty outriggers could cost as much as the price of this Amelia Island car. While the V12 engine is actually very sturdy, it can be expensive to fix if it has been allowed to severely overheat, a typical problem on these cars.

On the other hand, all mechanical parts and most trim parts are easy to find. In addition, there are a variety of proven steering, suspension and drivetrain upgrades that can turn this car into a practical daily driver that can make the words “grand tourer” a true compliment instead of faint-praise criticism. The V12 coupe was just as fast as the first-series E-types and could actually get to 100 mph sooner. At that speed, the aerodynamics make the car very stable and quiet. The large rear hatch opens to a generous luggage area and the coupe is totally weatherproof. This combination means that miles can be consumed at a great rate in pleasant comfort, which is what grand touring was all about. Just don’t try to win any slaloms. With the increased weight and wheelbase, the SIII understeers badly in tight corners and the slim, leather-covered steering wheel doesn’t increase one’s confidence. Bob Tullius and his Group 44 did manage to win the SCCA B production championship with an SIII in 1975, but he said later the car “didn’t want to be a race car.”

At the low end of the SCM Price Guide, this car was probably well bought. It does have a manual transmission, more fun than the just-adequate automatic, but has the original standard chrome disc wheels, not as desirable as the optional chrome wires. The decent repaint and a nicely worn but still serviceable original interior are consistent with the price. It’s notable that the convertible version in the same condition would have sold for at least 50 percent more. Most people who buy a vintage Jaguar today want the wind in their hair. But as entry-level transport into the Jaguar world and the incomparable experience of the V12 engine, a good Series III E-type coupe provides great value for the money.-Gary Anderson, Editor and Publisher, British Car Magazine.

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