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Jaguar E-Type

Jaguar E-Type Published: 11th Feb 2020 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Jaguar E-Type
Jaguar E-Type
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Why should I buy one?

The original bedroom poster pin up for many of us, has any car made such an impact as Jaguar’s E-type? While not as scarce or as prestigious as the Astons, it’s arguably the better all round car that’s considerably less expensive to buy and own yet just as satisfying to have on the drive.

What can I get?

In common with the DB series, there’s a handful of E-type variants but, unlike the Aston, the first of the breed – the 3.8 model remains the most coveted cat even though the 4.2 series of late ’64 reaped many noteworthy improvements such as better seating and a more workable gearbox although the benefits of the bigger, torquier if less rev happy engine is still lost on some – try both to settle this argument for yourself. The Series 2 of 1968 brought added refinement and better brakes but the car started to lose its sports car character as a result and this became even more apparent with the advent of the larger, fatter, heavier S3 with that fabulous V12 unit. The bloated 2+2 fastback (standard on all S3s) lacks the drop dead gorgeous looks of the two-seaters but does enable small folk to be accommodated for short trips.

What are they like to drive?

The earlier the car, the sharper the cat’s claws. The V12 makes the E-type the most relaxing and creamy performers on long journeys than the ‘sixes’ which certainly feels the most alert. The bloated S3 doesn’t feel so agile around corners and the numb feeling power steering doesn’t help either. Due to that engine’s amazing flexibility the bulk are autos. In contrast, XK -powered E-types – especially when set up properly or improved with certain tweaks – feels like it’s on hot bricks and will appeal to keener drivers. Sadly overdrive was never made an option and can do with an extra cog for touring, especially the fussy, lower geared and detuned US spec versions although it does mean better mid range urge than the UK cars can deliver.

What are they like to live with?

Neither an easy or difficult car to care for at home, specialists say you can spot a top resto a mile off and this is where the vast majority (although not all) of home builds come unstuck as experience counts here. The benefit of the earlier cars is parts availability as so many components are shared not only with saloon Jaguars but also other British Leyland marques. Apart from anything else, 57,000 XKEs were made compared with 15,000 V12s which justifies more specialist support for the six. Price-wise, despite slipping values all round, the XK models will always be worth the most but the gap has closed over the last few years with new-found respect being given to the S3. Top cats can still be £200,000 (perhaps add another 100K for the ulra rare flat floor models) with the V12 half this but the parity between S2 and S3 cars can be as little as ten grand at around £50K but recent UK auctions have thrown up some bargain US versions and you should be able to pick a half decent one up from around £25,000 or even less if still LHD. As many E-types aren’t treated to a proper pricey conversion it may be best to leave it in that state. If you want a cheap E-type, it’s the ideal time to buy now.

We reckon

Whatever E-type you choose, or can afford, you won’t be disappointed with a good one. XKs are ‘cat on hot bricks’, the S3 the GT. What a wonderful dilemma to wrestle with!



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