By 1971, William Lyons’ world-beating sports car, the Jaguar E-Type was entering its twilight years.
After a decade on the production line and thousands sold around the world, what was once described by Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari as ‘the most beautiful car in the world,’ was in need of a final refresh. Enter the E-Type Series 3.
With its rakish profile, penned by renowned aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer in the late 1950s, the E-Type redefined sportscar design. At its launch, it instantly became an icon for a generation of fast-living, fashion-conscious socialites, enjoying the freedom and decadence of the acutely stylish 1960s.
With such a reputation to uphold, a follow up was never going to be easy, let alone a third instalment over ten years later.
Nonetheless, the plucky British manufacturer gave it a go – well, this is Jaguar, after all – and launched the Series 3 in 1971. Despite its 5.3-litre V-12 engine, the latest E-Type met with mixed reaction – something the youngest E-Type has struggled to shrug off ever since.
Until now, that is.
To the untrained eye, this particular Carmen Red convertible could be mistaken for a polished and perfectly finished standard Series 3. Only it’s not – far from it.
Arriving in 2014 with E-Type UK – fine fettlers of, yes, you guessed it, E-Types of all descriptions – the firm got to work on making it one of the finest examples around.
Underneath the one-piece clam-shell bonnet lies the E-Type’s original 5.3-liter V12 engine, fully restored with electronic fuel injection and a mighty fine 5-speed manual transmission.
With an alloy radiator, cooling fans and Samco hoses up front, there’s a full Haywood & Scott sports exhaust system at the rear to amplify the sweet sound of Jaguar’s legendary V12 powerplant.
With all that power and pace, E-Type UK fitted fresh AP Racing disks and callipers to scrub off speed when needed, while uprated front shocks with stiffer antiroll bar, torsion bars and power steering radically improve the Series 3’s handling, making that cross-countryside blast all the more manageable.
On the outside, it’s business as usual – mostly. With a longer wheelbase, flared wheel arches (well, this is a ’70s car remember) and an enclosed grille, the later E-Type has its own, unique look that set it apart from the Series 1 and 2.
Rounding off the look is a set of 15-inch wire wheels and a subtle suspension tweak to create the perfect stance.
In the cabin, there’s lashings of caramel coloured leather, with a nifty period-correct radio and Bluetooth unit, while the rest of the interior remains true to the E-Type’s original kitsch charm.
With the prices of E-Type’s rising by the day, examples like this Carmen Red Series 3, prove that the former ‘black sheep’ of the E-Type pack is more than capable of competing with the cream of the early 1960s crop.
And, with fuel injectors, AP Racing brakes and uprated suspension as just a few enhancements made by E-Type UK, it’s also a practical (read: working) classic with some punchy performance figures too.
Can’t teach an old cat new tricks? We beg to differ.
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