“The most beautiful car ever made.” Those are not our words; they are what Enzo Ferrari’s was quoted as saying after seeing the E-Type’s debut in 1961. Jaguar produced the E-Type from 1961 through 1975 in three distinct series and three distinct body styles that included a two-seat fixed roof coupé, a two-seat convertible “roadster”, and later on a “2+2” four-seat version of the coupé, with a lengthened wheelbase we’re featuring here.
The E-Type Series 3 debuted in 1971 with a new 5.3 L V12 originally developed for the LeMans 24 Hour endurance race. Despite its six extra cylinders and related complexity, this new aluminum V12 only weighed 80 pounds more than the 4.3 L “XK” inline six cylinder it replaced. Factory fitted with four one-barrel Zenith-Stromberg 175 CD 2SE emissions-ready carburetors, Jaguar’s new engine produced 272 hp and 304 ft. lbs. of torque that propelled the updated E-Type from 0-60 MPH in less than seven seconds.
While E-Type roadsters are the prettiest of the bunch, we like the extra room and the “barn door” rear hatch of the longer wheel base 2+2 version. The ’71 featured here utilizes the simple curved steel chrome bumpers without the hideous rubber “bumperettes” fitted to the ’73-’75 US spec cars.
We love the one piece tilt-up front end that exposes the entire engine compartment in all of its glory. Unfortunately, another beautiful element of these cars not easily seen is the fully independent rear suspension featuring inboard disc brakes. E-types that rusted away frequently donated their beautiful rear suspensions to custom street rods.
The ’71 Burgandy-over-Gray leather has only traveled 72K miles but unfortunately the seller provides very little detail or history beyond that. Based on the condition of the car, we’d like to believe that this is a well-cared for survivor car rather than a restored one. While we prefer the simplicity of the standard polished aluminum wheels versus the classic wire version, the car likely loses much of its sporting nature with the automatic transmission. The again, when you’re driving a Jaguar this beautiful, does it really matter?