1973 Jaguar E-Type Series III V12 convertible
Billed by many as one of the most beautiful cars ever made and oozing sensuality, the two-seat Jaguar E-Type coupe and convertible (four-seater versions followed) belonged to Jaguar’s glory days when it was able to blaze new styling paths and set trends for others to follow.
The first E-Types (arguably the best looking of all) were powered by a triple SU carburettor 3.8-litre version of the long-running twin-camshaft six-cylinder engine that first appeared in the late-1940s Jaguar XK120 sports car.
With all-independent suspension, four-speed manual transmission (sans synchromesh on first gear), four-wheel disc brakes (inboard mounted at the rear) and relatively light weight, the curvy Jag claimed a standing 400 metre acceleration time of 15 seconds and cars tested by the British motoring press recorded a maximum speed of 240km/h – although that became a controversial figure because the road test cars were reputedly specially prepared by Jaguar.
Nonetheless with the light body (not much more than 1200kg for the convertible) and grunty long-stroke engine, there is no doubt the cars were quick enough. Despite its then-exotic configuration, the XK engine was not rev-happy and the red line was set at a conservative 5500rpm.
The Series 2 E-Type appeared in 1969, fitted with the bigger 4.2-litre engine used in later Series 1 models including the longer-wheelbase, four-seat 2+2 (which also offered the option of a three-speed auto gearbox) introduced in 1966, as well as multiple upgrades including improved engine cooling, open headlights, more comfortable seats and the replacement of the aircraft-style toggle switches on the dash with safer rocker-style switches.
In 1971 came the Series 3 E-Type, complete with the new, all-alloy 5.3-litre single overhead cam Jaguar V12 engine and available only in long-wheelbase 2+2 coupe or convertible form. The short-wheelbase coupe was sadly dropped from the lineup.
With the V12 engine and the adoption of the long wheelbase, the E-Type’s weight crept up, to more than 1.5 tonnes for both convertible and 2+2. But performance was still nifty thanks to the bigger powerplant.
Today, E-Types have a semi-legendary status and are evident in perhaps surprisingly high numbers on the road. Condition and prices vary. It’s possible to score an E-Type for less than $40,000 – or considerably higher, as this 1973 Series 3 roadster selected from carsales.com.au and on sale at a Victorian dealer indicates.
The price is $124,990 driveway, but the car is special. Fitted with a factory hardtop, the red, manual-transmission V12 E-Type is showing a minuscule 24,687km and is in what appears to be spectacular condition.
Interestingly, the red E-Type features alongside an equivalent-spec yellow 1973 roadster, with an even lower 16,259km indicated on the odometer, at exactly the same price – also with a factory hardtop.
It’s not often you get a colour choice when buying a 1973 high-performance sports car . . .
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