Jaguar's third incarnation of the iconic XKE (E-type) has received little attention in the shadow of its predecessors, yet E-type UK is set to change that...
E-type UK remains the market leader in concours-winning, original specification XKE restorations. Setting the standard for Series I (1961-1968) and Series II (1968-1971) incarnations of the iconic British sports car, the firm has now turned its attention to Jaguar’s seldom-celebrated Series III.
Once lampooned as the final manifestation and largely ignored on the collector market, the Series III XKE has rarely been gifted specialist attention. Except, as prices for Series I and II vehicles increase, the Series III has found firm following with enthusiasts.
As such, the number of restoration commissions on Series III models has grown, although E-Type UK admit that the 2+2 coupé is rarely chosen by customers for top-level renovation work, making this recently finished vehicle something of a rarity.
The owner of this XKE sought to create a Series III 2+2 coupe that boasted reliability and subtle modernizations, improving the driving characteristics, yet retaining that classic Jaguar personality.
Rolling off the production line in 1973, the restoration project previously enjoyed a pampered life but had ‘seen better days’. Brought to E-type UK with a brief to perfectly restore the vehicle and add contemporary features, the team quickly started to dismantle the Jaguar – unveiling a number of shoddy previous repairs; an unfortunate reminder of a time when these models were unloved and undervalued.
Once the metal work was repaired to original specifications, a bespoke aluminum hood was fabricated to reduce front-end weight. Then it was time for a concours standard repaint in Opalescent Gunmetal.
The original engine was fully rebuilt and fitted with a number of upgrades, including electronic fuel injection with larger throttle bodies, aluminium radiator and header tank, and a 12-branch tubular stainless steel sports exhaust system for a proper V12 growl.
Besides offering a dollop of extra grunt, the drivetrain improvements allow enhanced performance, reliability and efficiency as a result. The uprated cooling system maintains an ideal operating temperature – bypassing the infamous overheating abilities each XKE suffers.
Suspension was heavily revised for improved handling and ride comfort. AP Racing brakes replaced the stock units, with larger diameter discs, aluminum calipers and an increase from three to four pistons, increasing stopping power while reducing weight.
New 16-inch Turino wheels were fitted to permit the fitment of modern tires, refining traction and reducing corner weight; due to aluminum rims and stronger stainless-steel spokes than standard units.
An uprated 5-speed gearbox completed the revised drivetrain package, with gearing to suit both long motorway drives and quick-changing back road blasts.
There are changes within the cabin, too. A15-inch wooden steering wheel was installed, alongside bespoke classically-styled inertia reel seat belts and an LED dash light conversion to improve visibility on evening drives. A period style stereo system, hiding full modern internals – including Bluetooth capability – finished the interior for a blend of old and new.
Whether viewed as a sign of the times in the E-Type world, an exercise in perfection or simply a top-notch restoration, this Series III is undeniably something special.