CC Capsule: 1973 Jaguar E-Type V12 (Series III) Roadster – Respect, But With Reservations

The E-Type Jag has had its fair share of CC moments already, but I trust we can squeeze in a few more. I’ve certainly bagged a few already, including some variants we’ve not featured before. Such as the later V12 – the most powerful, heaviest and least loved of them all, barring the 2+2. But it’s still an E-Type, and this one being fresh out of restoration, looked about as gorgeous as a Series III could.

These later E-Types are a little underwhelming, with their giant misplaced taillights and oversized grille. But the shape remains beautiful, and at least this one is not festooned with 5mph Dagmars. And that colour looks great.

Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on the famous Jaguar V12 engine. This legendary (but troublesome) behemoth was produced for over a quarter of a century and was first introduced in the E-Type in 1971. In this first incarnation, it displaces 5344cc and features four carburetors to produce 272hp.

Managing to fit this whopper (over 7 feet of engine plus transmission!) where the XK straight-6 used to live was quite an achievement. But said XK only provided about 10hp less than the V12, and did so relatively reliably – not to mention a lot more frugally. So not everyone was convinced that the E-Type gained much in the operation, though reliability issues were ironed out with time.

Well, if nothing else, the V12 fully justified the E-Type’s elongated front end. Freudian analysis is not needed with these cars, it’s there for all to deduce. Still, what a profile!

Wire wheels are awesome and all, but they’re a hassle to clean and, to my eyes, look a bit anachronistic on later E-Types. These pressed steel “turbo wheels,” as they are colloquially known, are not only perfectly correct for the car (those were standard since the end of the Series II), but also practical and attractive.

However, those LED headlamps are just all wrong. It’s not the first time I’ve caught a classic with funny-looking eyes, but on such an otherwise superbly restored vintage Jaguar, it’s nothing short of blasphemy. Simple enough to remedy, though…

Some people will be floored by the V12, others by the sleek body. The thing that really gets my salivary glands going with these late-model E-Types has to be the interior. Almost as many gauges as an airliner, more switches than a Moog synthesizer, a commendable lack of wood inserts and creamy leather to sit on. It didn’t get much better than this in the early ‘70s.

The V12 E-Type is a flawed diamond. Too many compromises were made over the years in terms of its exterior styling, and the ginormous twelve cylinder up front doesn’t really bring much to the party, apart from added weight, thirst and complexity. But again, the overall shape still takes your breath away and the interior is drop-head gorgeous.

And in the end, even if it is overweight, a headache to fix and drinks like a fish, a V12 is still a V12 – automotive royalty, by any measure. Deep, 60-degree bow to you, then, E-Type. See you later, I’m sure.


Related posts:


Curbside Classic: c. 1965 Series I Jaguar E-Type 4.2 Roadster – Things Or Travel?, by Joseph Dennis

Curbside Classic: Jaguar XK-E Series II: The Stuff Of Dreams, The Source Of Nightmares, by David Skinner

Road & Track 1975 Vintage Review: Five Exotic Open Sports Cars – Corvette, Porsche 911, Dino 246GTS, Mercedes 450SL and Jaguar E-Type V12, by PN

CC Capsule: 1968 Jaguar E-Type – The Pride Of An Ethos, by Aaron65

Cohort Memories: Jaguar E-Type – The Jaguar Next Door, by Rich Baron

Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: Jaguar E-Type 4.2 Series II – “Sooo Beautiful”, by PN

CC Cinema: Bud Lindemann Reviews a 1968 Jaguar XK-E Coupe, by PN