5 Jaguar E-type S3
Refurbishing may be a more costeffective route than restoring – a wellbought roadster might even yield profit
They’re good value compared with a Series 1,’ says Martin Lane of Jaguar specialist Lanes Cars, ‘though because they’re so structurally similar, restoration costs are going to be similar too.’ Not identical, though – while an XK engine can be rebuilt to original specification from £5k-6k, the S3’s 5.3-litre V12 can easily double that.
‘The cylinder heads tend to weld themselves to the cylinder block,’ says Lane. ‘Once they’re off there’s nothing especially challenging, just a lot of work to get through.’ The sums for E-type Series 3 restoration look a lot more comforting if you’re doing a roadster rather than a 2+2. Spending £60k on an imperfect roadster could see another £60k-£80k needed to make it really dazzling, but because people are asking £130k-£150k for the best restored cars this isn’t money down the drain. Feeling brave? Buy a dog-eared example for no more than £30k and spend £110k on it.
‘With the 2+2, you need to adjust your thinking and buy one that requires pretty extensive refurbishment but not rebuilding,’ says Lane. That means full bumper-to-bumper restorations are done for love, if at all.
‘What can make sense is to spend money on turning a sound and well-presented 2+2 (think £55k-£65k) into something that drives as well as it looks, restoring the car’s performance and reliability to match its appearance.
‘Manual examples are more sought after,’ says Lane, ‘but you can transform an automatic by using the Jaguar J-gate four-speed autobox. It makes the Series 3 a fantastic cruising car if you can invest £10k, especially if the carburettors are changed for fuel injection at the same time, perhaps another £4k.’
A thorough rebuild of brakes and suspension costing £5k should complete the car’s on-road transformation. Remember, old wire wheels are often in need of attention or replacement – £1800 buys a larger 16in x 7in set, but leave another £1000 for tyres.
E-types are well supported by suppliers such as Steve Melling of Martin Robey Ltd. ‘Most things are easy to get,’ he says, ‘though some bits of the S3 tub will need to be fabricated, such as the rear bulkhead. And if you need a new bonnet it’s listed at £7980.’
Martin Lane makes one final point. ‘Find a car with its original engine – matching numbers, as the saying goes. After all, you’re investing in heritage.’