5 Jaguar E-type S3

Re­fur­bish­ing may be a more cost­ef­fec­tive route than restor­ing – a well­bought road­ster might even yield profit

Classic Cars (UK) - - Top 10 Cars to Restore -

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.’

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