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Jaguar E-type: Buying guide and review (1961-1974)

Jaguar E-type: Buying guide and review (1961-1974) Classic and Performance Car
Jaguar E-type Jaguar E-type Jaguar E-type Jaguar E-type Jaguar E-type
More column inches of purple prose must have been devoted to the Jaguar E-type than any other car. So let’s not try. Let’s take it as a given that the E-type is as beloved as the late Queen Mum and just as much a symbol of everything that put the Great into Britain. Let’s ask, instead – why has this car, which was a long way from perfect even when it was brand new in 1961, achieved a near-mythical status? And why has Jaguar yet to come up with anything more memorable?
The E-type is certainly one of a mere handful of British vehicles that are instantly recognisable to people who have absolutely no interest in motoring. It’s become a mobile cliché of the Swinging Sixties; Mike Myers’ ‘Shaguar’ E-type in the Austin Powers movies was supposedly inspired by ’60s heart-throb Simon Dee driving away with the blonde in the E-type at the end of his TV chat show, Dee Time. 
Real-life celebrity owners such as footballer George Best (‘I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered...’) gave the E-type a louche, caddish image that was probably the last thing Sir William Lyons intended and yet was ironically in keeping with Jaguar’s well-established reputation as ‘the Bentley of Wardour Street’ – a thoroughfare in the heart of London’s Soho that in the 1950s was a synonym for sleaze and vulgarity.
Which brings us to the crux of the matter, the E-type’s looks. Men and women are shallow creatures when it comes to judging by appearances, and the E-type has that kind of immediately accessible sex appeal that will never go out of fashion. Even the Italians were impressed: Enzo Ferrari reputedly called it ‘the most beautiful car ever made’ – though one suspects that, like most great quotes, this one may not be entirely reliable. 
Great looks, fab engine; shame about the brakes, seats and gearbox. OK, that’s being slightly harsh, but the E-type was  awed even by the standards of 1961. The brakes were discs all round – good – but they weren’t up to keeping a hard-driven 140mph-plus E-type in check – bad. The simple bucket seats were not terribly comfortable and there wasn’t enough room for taller drivers, while the Moss gearbox was as slow and obstructive as it had always been in previous XKs. Rumour has it that it was designed for a pre-war truck.
On the other hand, the independent rear suspension was a genuine innovation (take that, Ferrari, with your beam rear axles – pah!) that gave the E-type a comfortable ride and superb roadholding. And that was a key reason why E-types could be raced, and win, straight out of the box, as drivers such as Graham Hill, Roy Salvadori and many more immediately proved. Jaguar’s reputation for building cars that really shifted without rattling the occupants’  llings started with the E-type.
With looks, pace, power, engineering and heritage, the Jag also offered an extra quality – relative affordability. While Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche et al had worthy rivals, they were much more costly. That price differential has remained; a superb E-type can now be valuable, but an equivalent DB4 or 250GT will cost rather more.
Which one to buy?
It’s easy to overlook the differences between the various iterations of E-type, but they’re highly significant. Buy the wrong car and you’ll wonder what all the fuss is about. Also, don’t get taken in by the glamour of the roadster when the coupé is more affordable and every bit as good to drive. 
Generally, the earlier the E-type, the more desirable and expensive it is. Later cars do offer something more of a relaxed GT experience, while the earlier cars are the more sporting and focused driving machines. Which one you go for really depends on how you intend on using your classic Jaguar. 
There’s also the question of originality. The E-type is one of the most receptive classic cars to upgrades, and most cars will have received a few modifications along the way. If you’re not too fussed about the car retaining every original detail, then there are many new parts that can improve reliability, performance and drivability. A few companies also offer cars ready built to more modern usable standards, such as Eagle. 
Original right-hand-drive cars are a lot rarer than you’d think. Around 85 per cent of production was exported, so many right-hand-drive cars have been converted from left-hand drive at some point. Just ensure the car you buy is what it claims to be. Check it has the correct engine and that it’s not a roadster, which left the factory as a coupé. The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust is invaluable in providing details of the car’s original spec. 
If the car does need work there’s no need to fret about parts availability, because everything is available to revive an E-type, no matter how tired. With the right tools and enough time, a competent home mechanic can tackle just about any job that’s likely to crop up. 
Few cars at any price are as rewarding to own or drive as a well-restored E-type. And there’s the rub; it must be properly renovated if it is to give any pleasure – and there’s a huge amount of enjoyment to be gained from E-type ownership.

What about the Lightweight Jaguar E-type?
How did Jaguar make the E-type quick enough to keep up with (and even beat) the racebred GTO? Simple. It added lightness. Only two years after Jaguar launched the road car, it followed the precedent set by John Coombs’ racing prototype. When the 12 factory Lightweights appeared, they all employed a much lighter aluminium alloy main body tub, as well as 18-gauge aluminium bonnet, doors and bootlid. Result: the E-type shed around 120kg compared with the standard car – actually making it lighter than the 1078kg of the Ferrari.
More power followed too, thanks to Lucas fuel injection for the newly dry-sumped engine, which also featured an aluminium block in place of the heavy iron one of the standard car’s, while the race-bred D-type donated its cylinder head. The Manufacturers’ Championship rules changed from sports cars to GTs in 1963, opening the E-type up to a racing world dominated by the GTO, the Chevrolet Corvette and soon the Shelby Cobra. Don’t go looking for headline wins at Le Mans and Sebring in the Lightweight’s racing history. Instead, this car became a class-winning privateer’s dream, outpacing the Ferrari and the ’Vette over shorter distances.
Unfortunately, those alloy-block engines were prone to overheating, so the long-distance races of the Lightweight’s era remained the preserve of its rivals while Jaguar developed the stillborn mid-engined XJ13 racer. 
Performance and specs
Engine 3781cc, in-line six-cylinder
Power 265bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 260lb ft @ 4000rpm
Top speed 150mph 
0-60mph 6.9 seconds 
Fuel consumption 17.9mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2438mm
Length 4375mm
Width 1657mm
Height 1225mm
Kerb weight 1234kg
Common problems
• The 1961-1971 E-type’s iconic XK unit is renowned for its durability as long as it’s looked after. Capable of giving 150,000 miles between rebuilds, the straight-six isn’t especially stressed unless regularly thrashed – and few owners drive hard.

• Get it up to temperature before testing; listen for any knocks or rattles. Check for oil leaks as well as exhaust smoke; expect a few wisps on start-up, but things should soon settle. Once fully warm, look for at least 40psi on the pressure gauge with the engine turning over at 3000rpm.

• Make sure the cooling fan cuts in on tickover. If the temperature gauge needle keeps climbing, the engine may well have overheated once: evidence of a blown head gasket is white ‘mayonnaise’ on the oil filler cap. If the motor is smoking badly or it’s very rattly, it’ll need total rebuild.

• The V12 that arrived in 1971 is an all-time great; properly kept it’ll do 200,000 miles. Poor maintenance leads to overheating, so idle the engine for a few minutes and watch the gauge. Harshness points to previous overheating having distorted the long block and heads. These are alloy, so anti-freeze must be maintained otherwise internal corrosion is guaranteed, leading to a less-efficient cooling system that ensures even worse overheating.

• Low oil pressure at idle isn’t a problem, but check for at least 45lb (preferably 55lb) at 2500rpm. Leaks are common at the rear crankshaft seal; once it’s failed, a full rebuild is needed. Cars that have been run infrequently are especially likely to suffer from this, as the seal dries out then wears more readily.

• The V12 has 20 rubber coolant hoses; the replacement of perished ones is very involved as the water rails and carbs have to be removed. They must also be to the correct reinforced spec; the coolant system runs at 15psi (earlier E-types are just 4 psi).

• The original rubber fuel lines will now be brittle, while the Zenith-Stromberg carbs go out of tune when their diaphragms perish. Rebuilt carbs are the best solution; there are four at £350 each. Incidentally, the V12 happily runs on unleaded, as hardened valve seats were factory fitted.

• E-type gearbox and driveline issues? There’s little to worry about here, but listen for clonks that signify worn universal joints or whining that betrays a dodgy diff. Fixing the former is straightforward; the latter is less easy and rather more costly. 

• Gearboxes are also strong, but the recalcitrance of the Moss unit on 3.8-litre cars is legendary. It’s noisier than the later one, too, so don’t expect a ‘box that’s especially easy or pleasant to use, particularly when selecting first or reverse. 

• Most V12s have a three-speed Borg Warner Model 12 auto, yet the Jaguar four-speed manual is more sought after. They’re both durable, but the latter can suffer from weak synchro on second and third; check for difficulty selecting gears when cold. 

• If ratio changes are jerky on the auto, or there’s any slipping, a service involves fresh fluid, filters and band adjustment. For an overhaul, budget £1100. Clutches, diffs and driveshafts are durable, but check for vibrations, clonks or whines.

• What about the suspension, steering and brakes? Jack up each wheel and rock it diagonally, feeling for wear in the bushes and bearings. If there is no play at the rear, the bearings have been set too tight and will probably overheat and fail. There are some in the hub as well as the lower fulcrum; a little play in each of these can lead to what feels like an alarming amount of movement at the wheel, but it should be no more than an eighth of an inch or so.

• Remove the rear wheels and look at the axle cage mountings, which can perish or break. If you’ve already driven the car by now and it feels rather lively at the back, it could be due to rear-wheel steering as a result of the wear. While you’re under there, ensure there’s no oil leaking from the diff onto the inboard rear brakes. 

• Any signs of trouble and it’s an axle-out job to sort. If there are creaks from the rear suspension, it’ll be because the lower hub pivots have corroded; if not greased regularly they wear rapidly or seize.

• At the front there shouldn’t be nearly as much play, but don’t be surprised if you can detect a small amount. If it’s bearing wear, that’s easy to sort, but it might be worn lower wishbone balljoints. These act directly on the wishbone, which can be shimmed only so much before replacements are needed at a little over £100 per side. 

• The rack-and-pinion steering is reliable, but wear in the column joints is normal; replacement is easy. The brakes should feel very strong, but imbalance is usually caused by that oil on the discs we mentioned. 

• The handbrake can also give problems; the self-adjusting mechanism often seizes through lack of greasing. Try to roll the car on a level surface and see if it quickly grinds to a halt; if it does, fixing is simply a case of freeing off and lubing.

• Although steel wheels were standard, chromed wires are now fitted to many V12s. The usual checks for damaged spokes and worn splines are essential; this is especially important with a V12 because of the torque generated.
Model history
May 1957: First E-type prototype ‘E1A’ hits the road.
October 1960: Jaguar XK150 production ends.
March 1961: E-type first shown to the press at the Geneva motor show. It went on sale at just £2097 for the roadster and £2196 for the coupe.
October 1964: New 4.2-litre engine launched. Power unchanged but torque figure improved.
March 1966: Larger 2+2 model announced at Geneva motor show. 
October 1967: Mildly updated E-type (S1.5) goes on sale.
1968: Series 2 E-Type launched, with many cosmetic changes and refinements brought in to satisfy US customers
March 1971: V12-engined Series 3 Jaguar E-type launched.
September 1974: E-type production ends
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• www.jec.org.uk
• www.jaguardriver.co.uk
• www.jaguarownersclub.com
• www.sngbarratt.com
Summary and prices
Crucially, there’s no such thing as a bargain E-type. It’s quite common for someone to buy an example that’s priced at £20,000 below what would be expected. Then the new owner starts delving and discovers that to get the model up to the standard they were expecting, it needs £50,000 spent on it.
Starting with the Series 1, top condition FHC models cost up to £165,000, although concours examples might go for more. Decent examples can be picked up for between £65,000-£110,000, while rusty projects can still be found for £40,000. The Roadsters are considerably more expensive, topping out at £225,000, while usable runners can be picked up for £100,000-£130,000. Budget around £60,000 for a restoration project. Later 4.2-litre cars are generally valued at around the same level. 
Moving on to the Series 1.5 and Series 2 cars, for around £100,000, you can get one of the best coupe examples, or pay £135,000 for a roadster. These models are easier to live with, and represent the most common models, making it a popular choice if you plan on using it regularly. Budget around £35,000-£55,000 for a decent running coupe, and £70,000-£100,000 for the average roadster. 
The 2+2 is generally the bargain of the E-type range, and while it does look a little awkward compared to the normal models, it is considerably roomier inside, and prices for good cars range from £30,000-£65,000. 
The final V12 models also represent good value, especially in coupe form. Pay anywhere from £18,000-£50,000 for one of these in running condition, with £75,000 being the upper limit for one of the best. Roadsters are actually valued much higher, and you will generally pay twice as much as the equivalent coupe. 
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Last updated: 12th Oct 2016
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Jaguar E-Type cars for sale

206 Search results
Jaguar E-Type
49995 202700 GBP
  • 1973 Jaguar E-Type Roadster

    $67,500(£55,167.75) $67,500(£55,167.75)

    Chequered Flag International is pleased to offer this 1973 Jaguar Etype V12 Roadster in Primrose with Black leather interior. Automatic with air conditioning and chrome wire wheels. 47,600 miles from new same owner for 42 years. Jaguar Heritage Certificate. Fantastic rust and accident free body with excellent paint. Very nice original interior. New top just fitted. Mechanically excellent. We just checked and serviced it . Replacing all hoses and clamps, oil and filter. New brake hoses, rebuilt power steering pump. New tire rod ends, front shocks and ball joints, transmission service, brake fluid, reservoir, etc. Inspections encouraged. All sales AS-IS. Sales tax and license fees due if delivered in California. Visit Chequered Flag International online at chequeredflag.com to see more pictures of this vehicle or call us at 310-827-8665 today to schedule your test drive.

    • Year: 1973
    For sale
    Chequered Flag
    0113 271 1366 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER


    2 LTR. ROADSTER 1968. Signal Red with Beige hide interior. Black mohair soft-top. Chromium wire wheels. This is a multi JDC/JEC/Autoglym concourse winning car. Very well known, it has just returned from display at Jaguar Cars Ltd. We have known the car and owner for over 25 years and have never seen a better example. Please enquire

    • Year: 1968
    For sale

    €135,000(£120,366) €135,000(£120,366)

    RELATIVE INEXPENSIVE EXAMPLE WITH INTERESTING STORY Brand Jaguar Type E-Type Series I 3.8 Color Red Interior Black Year of build 1963 Price € 135.000,- JAGUAR E-TYPE SERIES I 3.8 LHD The car is just arrived and more information will be on line soon. In the meantime if you would like to receive more information please contact us. MORE INFORMATION For more information or an appointment, please call Rutger Houtkamp+31625098150 or send an e-mail to Rutger@Houtkamp.nl . Please do not hesitate to contact us by phone during evenings or in the weekend. The Houtkamp Collection is centrally located near Amsterdam and only 10 minutes from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Please contact us directly or fill in the form to receive more information on this specific car Your Name (required) Your Email (required) Your phone number Subject Your Message The information provided on this website has been compiled by The Houtkamp Collection with the utmost care. The information contained within this advert is provided ‘as-is’, without warranties as to its accuracy whether expressed or implied and is intended for informational purposes only. The Houtkamp Collection is not liable for any errors or mistakes.

    • Year: 1963
    For sale
  • Jaguar E-Type

    £49,995 £49,995

    - 08/1973 Series III 5.3 V12 2+2 Coupe - Left Hand Drive - Automatic Transmission - UK registration - Originally right hand drive. A top to bottom restoration was undertaken by "Suffolk and Turley Ltd" at 17,500 miles. Today the recorded miles of 19,050 are to the best of our knowledge genuine and supported by old MOT's certificates. - It remains in beautiful condition. Structurally very sound. No corrosion. All matching numbers and accident free. - More photographs are available upon request. - Car is available to view anytime by prior appointment in Marbella, Spain. - For any further information please contact us: Tel: (+34) 677.451.017. Also Whats App Email : automaganto@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/automaganto/

    • Year: 1973
    • Mileage: 19000 mi
    • Engine size: 5.3
    For sale
    Spencer Jones
    0034677451017 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Jaguar E-Type 3.8 Roadster


    - Unusually original Series 1 3.8 Roadster right down its factory installed body number plaque and carburettor sequence tags etc - Currently displaying an unwarranted but not inconceivable 22,400 miles - Recently repatriated from a Massachusetts barn. Running and driving but in need of recommissioning and / or restoration

    • Year: 1963
    For sale
  • Jaguar E-Type 3,8 Flat Floor Coupé

    €202,700(£180,727.32) €202,700(£180,727.32)

    Jaguar E-Type 3,8 Flat Floor Coupé Equipment: Flat Floor Matching numbers Matching Colours Måske det flotteste eksemplar vi har set billeder af restaurering Køb din pensions opsparing Meget sjælden model ring for info

    • Year: 1961
    For sale
  • 1964 Jaguar E-Type 3.8 Series 1

    £140,000 £140,000

    Gearbox: 4 Speed Moss Box Age: 1964 This 1964 Series 1 3.8 Roadster is the 7th to last built and is probably one of the youngest 3.8 series 1 cars still running. It is a very original UK RHD matching numbers car. Never converted, updated or modified the previous owner enjoyed the car for 30 years. He restored the car in 1985. The car was given a bare metal resprayed by Midlands bodyshop, Henry Martyn, in it’s original colour of Opalescent Silver Blue and retrimmed in the original blue leather with a matching new navy blue hood fitted. The engine was rebuilt by respected marque experts, Forward Engineering, who at the same time also rebuilt the rear axle. Chromework, the hood frame, wheels etc. were all restored and refettled as required. New Dunlop SP Sport tyres were fitted in 1990 and since then the car has been dry stored and used sparingly for pleasure with no more than 5,000 miles covered in the last 30 years. Other than the windscreen and the bonnet the car is completely original, including the Moss gearbox.

    For sale
  • 1965 Jaguar E Type Series 1 4.2 F.H.C

    £195,000 £195,000

    Gearbox: 4 Speed Moss Box Engine: 4200 Mileage: 0 One of 1957 RHD Series 1 4.2 Coupes. Delivered new to Hatfield Jaguar Dealers in Sheffield in October 1965. The car has remained in the UK with many invoices on file and history back to 1971. The car was sold in 2010 part restored by famous race driver Willie Green. The car has just come out of an extensive restoration by well-known Jaguar specialists M&C Wilkinson to their full “Sayer” specification. The all matching car is effectively a brand new car.

    For sale
  • Jaguar E-Type Series 2 cabriolet 1970

    €105,000(£93,618) €105,000(£93,618)

    Jaguar E-Type Series 2 cabriolet 1970 in topcondition This legendary 1970 Jaguar E-Type Series 2 convertible in a very beautiful British Racing Green paint is great to see. The Jaguar has beautiful chromeparts and chrome wire wheels. In 2016 the car was restored. The interior has black leather and comfortable seats. The original matching numbers 4235 CC engine has 265 HP and produces a great sound. This Jaguar drives really great and is a healthy investment. Car has USA title and document importduties for every EU country are paid by us. Documentation is complete for registration in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importduties. We can help with transport. Trading in, buying and consignment possible.

    • Year: 1970
    For sale
  • Jaguar E-Type 3.8 Coupe


    - An early matching numbers example acquired by the current owner in around 1978 as a running car but in need of restoration - The engineer vendor stripped the car in the mid 1980's and carried out significant restorative works to the body and mechanicals - The construction of racing and aerobatic aircraft restricted the E-Types rejuvenation and it has remained in a barn loft since 1990 The green registration book that accompanies this early right-hand-drive E-Type 3.8 Coupe shows that it was acquired by Venture Garage of Holbrook, Derbyshire, in March 1969. The current proprietor of the garage informed us that his father, Tom Bacon, was quite well known in the local area for driving around in this E-Type. Clearly an enthusiast, Mr Bacon owned five V12 versions when he passed away in around 2005. Original paint on the door and bonnet hinges lead us to believe that the car was originally finished in Opalescent Silver Blue, and after sporting a red hue for a while the car was navy blue when Mr Bacon sold it at an unknown date to a Mr J A Dyson. Our vendor purchased the car in around 1978 from Mr Dyson (the accompanying sales invoice is undated), and at that time the car was able to b

    • Year: 1962
    For sale
  • Jaguar E-Type 4,2 Roadster


    Jaguar E-Type 4,2 Roadster Equipment: Kan ikke beskrives Skal ses Bilen er total renoveret Opgraderet bagtøj 3 Karburator 5 trins gearkasse dette unikke eksemplar er måske den flotteste vi har set ring for info

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
  • Jaguar E-Type

    £89,995 £89,995

    Variant: 4.2 This E-type has been part of a large collection of cars all kept in a climate controlled garage she boast Full matching numbers plus correct colour combination to match the Jaguar Heritage Certificate. Finished in the best colours of Metallic Silver with Dark Blue leather. The paint is in fabulous condition, the whole interior is in dark blue with contrasting carpets, all clocks in working order. The wooden steering wheel looks and feels amazing and finishes off the dash perfectly. The Soft top is in perfect condition it also have the rear cover tonneau. The body is extremely straight and panel gaps excellent, doors close perfectly, bonnet gaps are excellent quite rare for an E type. The Engine sounds great and starts every time pulls strong and runs very well, The Oil pressure is prefect and drive great. All the chrome is to a high standard, including bumpers and wire wheels. Includes spare wheel and jack. Please call to arrange a viewing.

    • Year: 1969
    • Mileage: 90000 mi
    • Engine size: 4.2
    For sale
  • 1973 Jaguar E-Type Series III V12 Roadster

    £67,500 £67,500

    NJG 800M is a genuine original UK RHD supplied manual E-Type Roadster with matching numbers. The open two seater was manufactured on the 20th August 1973, the original distributor was Martin Waller Ltd, Margate, Kent and it was supplied new to a private owner in Sandwich, Kent. The E-Type has only had five owners from new and the car comes with a detailed history file. The car was subject of a full major rebuild in 1991 by Charles Fairmourn UK Ltd) costing £67500. From 1991 to 2000 the car was with one owner who covered just 3000 dry miles and in 1999 the car was entered into an Autoglym Concours de Elegance competition where it won first place in the Scottish Championship. Since restoration the E-Type has now covered 23000 miles and has come to us in exceptional condition. The car comes with a detailed log of use since the rebuild and since changing hands after rebuild in 2000 it has had two careful owners and in the region of a further £20,000 has been spent on keeping the car in top class order. A new mohair hood and rear bumper were fitted in 2001, a new exhaust system in 2004, new expansion tank and distributor in 2006, a new petrol tank and Koni shocks fitted in 2008 and six

    • Year: 1973
    • Mileage: 3000 mi
    For sale
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