∙Unusual and attractive Lavender Blue ∙Low mileage and huge history ∙Smooth and reliable runner ∙Repainted in Switzerland
When the covers came off the Jaguar E-Type at the Geneva Motor Show on March 15th 1961, the assembled crowds drew in a sharp collective breath. This was a show unveiling that changed everything, forever.
Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons immediately spotted the sea-change in the room, and ordered another E-Type to be raced down overnight from Coventry so that more prospective punters could have a test drive. It's passed into the annals of history as one of the all-time triumphs, an unmistakable silhouette and a symbol of British engineering greatness.
Over the years, the model evolved across three distinct generations, and the car we have here – the V12-powered Series 3 – was the E-Type’s last hurrah before being replaced by the XJ-S in 1975. Introduced in ’71, this generation boasted the fresh new 5.3-litre engine along with uprated brakes and power steering. The short-wheelbase fixed-head coupe bodystyle was discontinued, with the Series 3 being offered solely as a roadster or a 2+2. The latter, with its spacious boot and surprisingly roomy interior, was the quintessential early-seventies grand tourer: effortlessly powerful, impeccably stylish, generously equipped and beautiful to behold. It’s an ethos that still resonates today.
This is a car with an interesting past. A matching-numbers UK model, it was originally supplied to its first owner in Romford, Essex in December 1972. Ordered in Lavender Blue paint over Dark Blue leather interior, it’s an unusual spec, and the optional automatic transmission makes it particularly desirable as a cruiser.
The Jaguar, however, hasn’t spent all of its life on these shores; indeed, from the history file we can see that it spent around fifteen years in Switzerland, and there’s photographic evidence of the body having its paint refreshed while wearing Swiss plates.
Later repatriated to the UK, it’s enjoyed a pampered existence, with its extremely low mileage (believed to be genuine) backed up by a huge ring binder of receipts. This is certainly a grand tourer with some tales of adventure to tell.
There’s an impressively large file of documentation here, and most important of all is the Heritage certificate: issued in 2007, this proves the car to have originally been supplied in Lavender Blue over Dark Blue interior, built on 27th November 1972 and delivered to its first owner on 7th December 1972. The car has a correct UK V5, and we can see that this lists its first date of registration as 6th February 1973 – presumably a DVLA estimate on repatriation.
A great many invoices and receipts are present, along with some photographic evidence of the paintwork that was carried out in 2010, at a cost of 5,000 Swiss Francs. We can see that almost £5,000 was spent on extensive works in 2019, including stripping and rebuilding the brakes, fitting a new sump, new door rubbers, new headlining, straightening a damaged sill, and fitting a new brake master cylinder and servo.
Most recently, a receipt for just under £3,000 in August 2020 shows that the E-Type had its seats removed and professionally refurbished, repairs to the nearside rear wheel arch, the radiator re-cored and fitted with new fans, the starter motor reconditioned, and the carburettors rebuilt and balanced.
With the seats having been professionally cleaned and the headlining renewed, it’s thoroughly pleasant and period-correct inside the cabin. The seats are in very good condition, the fronts tilting correctly to allow access to the rear bench, and the door cards are in good order with just a little tear at the rearmost top edge on the driver’s side. The carpets are good, as is the dash which has no cracks on the top, and the car has a Mota-Lita steering wheel in excellent condition. All of the gauges work as they should, with the correct temperatures and pressures registering in motion. (No ‘V12 kettle’ cliches here, the Jag was very happy to cruise through London on a hot and sunny day with the temp needle staying where it should!)
Overall, the interior is in very good nick throughout. Naturally there’s the odd age-related mark, such as a little minor wear to the ventilation controls and the side of the gearstick surround, but on the whole it’s all thoroughly decent. The windows wind up and down freely and the rears pop out correctly. Inside the boot it’s all tidy and dry, with the correct spare wheel beneath the boot floor.
It’s not often you see an E-Type in Lavender Blue, and we have to say it suits the slinky body beautifully. The paintwork is uniformly good across the bodywork too – it was repainted in its original colour in 2010, and we know it’s had the odd repair since (including a rear arch and a sill), but that’s all been blended superbly and it really does look ace. You can see from the photos just how attractively the Jaguar gleams in the sunshine; all of the correct chrome is present, and in good condition with no tarnishing or patination.
The car wears pressed wheels rather than wires, and they’re all in great order with the correct hubcaps, and fitted with recent Nexen tyres.
All of the light lenses are in excellent condition, save for a small chip at the edge of one of the rear clusters. The panel fit is good, with everything opening and closing as it should. And this car’s real party piece is the factory-fit Tudor Webasto roof; this is in excellent condition and works perfectly, and gives the cabin a real sense of airiness when driving – a fantastic addition to this versatile grand tourer.
This E-Type is an excellent runner, testament to the care and attention it’s received over the years. The mighty V12 fires happily into life, idles evenly and pulls strongly through the revs – having had the carbs recently rebuilt and tuned, it’s running just as it should. The cooling system maintains the correct temperature, thanks to the radiator having been re-cored and fitted with new fans. The optional automatic transmission is fitted and it’s working well, shifting smoothly without any jerkiness or hesitance. There are no evident issues with the brakes, steering or suspension – it’s a lovely smooth drive, and a very pleasant thing indeed to waft about in.
It’s a strong sign of a desirable car when people are attempting to buy it during the photoshoot! More than one offer was pitched as the E-Type basked on the Wandsworth waterfront, so we’re expecting some keen bidding on this auction. Perhaps it’s the unusual colour that was inspiring people’s imaginations?
It certainly does look magnificent gleaming in the sunshine – and, of course, this car is about more than simply its show-stopping looks. With 51k on the clock and a very smooth drivetrain, this V12 Jag is just as happy to cruise today as it was in 1972. Its globetrotting history is a pleasant bonus, because all the coolest cars have stories to tell. And the fact that it’s recently enjoyed all manner of work to get it running well, including attention to the brakes, cooling system and carburettors, makes this a venerable British classic that you could jump straight into and enjoy.
So what’s stopping you?
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