1972 Jaguar E-Type SIIIV12 Roadster
Year of manufacture1972
Car typeConvertible / Roadster
Exterior brand colourPrimrose
Number of doors2
Number of seats2
Matching-numbers, UK-market, RHD car
Body-off restoration by Vicarage
Primrose Yellow with black interior
Although total production of the Series III ran to 15,283 cars, the Jaguar E-type now being offered for sale by The Classic Motor Hub is a comparatively rare example. As had been the case throughout the E-type’s life, the vast majority that left the Browns Lane factory were intended for export. Only 3562 Series IIIs were sold into the UK market, and of those only 1735 were the Roadster model.
This genuine UK-market, right-hand-drive, E-type Series III Roadster was given a ground-up, nut-and-bolt restoration 10 years ago by renowned marque specialists Vicarage. A huge quantity of photographs from that process are included in the car’s history file, and the Heritage Certificate confirms its matching-numbers status. It is now presented in its original colour combination of Primrose Yellow with black interior, and comes with a black factory hardtop.
This E-type Series III has covered approximately 3500 miles on ‘high days and holidays’ since the restoration, with the result that it’s now nicely run-in and ready to be used and enjoyed. A good Series III is an effortless cruiser, a quality that is immediately apparent in this car. The 5.3-litre V12 purrs unobtrusively in the background but offers instant ‘pull’ when you push the throttle a little further, whatever gear you happen to be in.
The steering is light and direct, and the ride is superb with no squeaks or rattles. The pristine chrome wire wheels are shod with Pirelli Cinturato tyres all round. Offered from the collection of a hugely knowledgeable Jaguar enthusiast, this Series III presents like a car that is fresh out of restoration, with flawless paint and brightwork, and drives just as impressively.
It would now be impossible to buy and restore an E-type to this standard for the money, and the Classic Motor Hub is proud to offer this car for sale during a year in which the E-type celebrates its 60th anniversary and the Series III reaches its half-century.
Since its launch in 1961, the Jaguar E-type had been powered by the famous six-cylinder XK engine, originally in 3.8-litre form before being enlarged to 4.2 litres. For the Series III, however, an all-new V12 engine was developed.
Jaguar had been toying with the use of a V12 since the mid-1950s, and during the 1960s Claude Baily and Bill Heynes designed such an engine for use in the stillborn XJ13 sports prototype. Their 5-litre, quad-cam powerplant was purely a racing design, and it was left to Harry Mundy and Walter Hassan to develop a V12 that would be suitable for use in a road car.
They came up with an all-alloy, single-camshaft-per-bank, 60-degree V12 with a capacity of 5343cc. Hassan explained at the time that Jaguar’s intention was to sell a lot of cars in America, so they felt that the new powerplant should be ‘something rather better than the run-of-the-mill V8 engines that are in common usage over there’. He added that the V12 was ‘light, powerful, we’ve proven its reliability and in our opinion it’s well engineered’.
It was originally stated that the Series III would continue to be offered with the 4.2-litre six-cylinder XK engine, but it’s thought that only three such cars were built.
The two-seater Fixed-Head Coupé model was dropped from the E-type line-up and the Series III was offered in just Roadster and 2+2 form. Both used the longer wheelbase of the latter, meaning that all Series IIIs provide occupants with more room inside than earlier E-types.
Although the basic layout of central monocoque with front subframe remained unchanged, the subframe itself had to be modified in order to accept the V12. Styling changes, meanwhile, included a new grille in a larger front air intake, plus flared wheelarches to accommodate the wider track.
With sales falling away and an Oil Crisis not offering the ideal conditions in which to offer a 5.3-litre V12, the final E-type was built in September 1974. The new XJ-S – which retained the V12 engine – was launched the following year.