Watch a video clip of a Jaguar E-Type series 3 on the road.
Back in 1970 when the car was launched, the E-type series 3 was the first production car to be fitted with Jaguar’s new 5434cc V12 engine. Producing 276bhp, the E-Type became a genuine 150mph car but fuel economy through those four carburettors was painful (single figures), especially as it was launched in the years leading up to the world fuel crisis.
However, despite this the V12 engine evolved and was in production for over 25 years. when Jaguar stopped producing the engine in 1997, capacity had grown to 6.0 litres and it providing smooth, sophisticated power for the Jaguar XJ12 and Daimer Double-Six. The engine even formed the basis of the 7.4 litre racing engines that TWR used to win the World Endurance Championship in sports car racing, including victories at the Le-Mans 24 hour race in the late-eighties and early nineties.
The Series 3 was quite different technically from the Series1, Series 1.5 and Series 2 E-Types. With wider front and rear track, wider wheels and tyres and four-wheel servo assisted brakes all round. Both the Roadster and 2+2 coupe were built on the longer 2+2 platform, which gave extra space and the roadster was offered with an Automatic gearbox option for the first time.
These changes led to a very smooth and refined package that arguably transformed the Series 3 E-Type into more of a GT than a sports car. Even today, when these Series 3’s are 40 years and older, the ride is very impressive and it’s no wonder the platform lived on until the 21st century (in a modified form) under the XJS, Aston-Martin DB7 and (X100) Jaguar XK8.