E-Type Jaguar (XKE)

mac24mac24 Member Posts: 3,910
edited March 2014 in Jaguar
Does anyone have any tales to tell, past or present, about the E-Type 'Jag'.

My recollections range from 1961 (as a schoolboy) when it first appeared, to the present day. It was a head turner then, and appears to be just as much of one now.

Here's a few that spring readily to mind.

Gazing in awe at the two brand new S1 Coupes given by the local butcher to his sons. One red, the other yellow, I used to walk past them every day on the way to school. One can be very focused at that age, and I think I could have described the cars in better detail at the time than their owners ever could!

Wandering into a repair garage and seeing a 'mechanic' chopping open the transmission tunnel with a hammer and chisel. This was in order to be able to change the clutch more easily!

Sitting in traffic and watching everything shimmer in the distortion of the heat haze rising from the louvres in the hood.

Seeing the notorious Fiona Richmond (older British readers will understand) getting into her E-Type outside 'Raymond's Revue Bar' in Soho, London. Paul Raymond had given her a personal registration for it as a birthday present; it read 'FU 2'.image

I'm probably unusual in preferring the SIII V12 Coupe, and I'm at the point of wondering whether to take the plunge and hunt for one in good condition. However, I'd like to have some input on the practicalities of owning such a vehicle today. I suppose that the availability of spare parts is the most pressing concern. On the other hand, would the dream be more satisfying than the reality?

Mr Shiftright......... anyone?


  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    I really like these beautiful machines as well. My guess is that the best E-Types were probably the last ones, the '74 SIII.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHMember Posts: 22,842
    I was lucky enough to become acquainted with two of these beauties and they were kind of the yin-yang of E-types. A woman I knew had a Dark blue '62 or '63 roadster with the the crash box. At the same time a guy I knew had a light metallic blue '67 coupe that was retro fitted with a/c. I was lucky enough to be given an opportunity to drive both. Oddly I don't remember either drive very well. Hers was tatty and lumpy, reflecting her relative lack of knowledge and ability to take care of it(She inherited it!) It was a real treat to drive on a nice summer day.
    He maintained his constantly and was capable of doing anything except rebuilding the engine. It was about the nicest car I've ever driven but it was claustrophobic compared to modern cars. You could see little out the back and your front view was restricted by that looong hood.
    I rember it as being at once a lot better-riding than my TR-4A(live axle) and yet it had outstanding handling, steering and brakes.
    I didn't work the motor much, honestly I was afraid I'd get into trouble with all the power on tap.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Read Peter Egan's column in the latest Road & Track.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Only once every 10-20 years does a car have the impact that the original E-type did on the general public.

    Yes, it's true that we who are car nuts will get excited over new models today, but it's pretty rare for people who generally could care less about cars to flip over an automobile. Maybe the last car to do that in modern times was the Audi TT. But even that "buzz" was nothing in comparison to the E.

    Not only was it radically beautifully to just about everyone, but it was a bargain for the price. Maybe not quite as fast as a Corvette 0-60, but once you let it out over 100 it had much better handling and brakes than a 'Vette.

    The Museum of Modern Art in New York immediately put one on display and it may still be there for all I know.

    My favorite is the early 4.2. The early coupe is okay but I personally think the 2+2 coupe is not an attractive car. Most buyers agree with me and these cars often go begging at low prices. Couple a 2+2 with an automatic transmission (why would anyone do that ?) and the car is practically sale proof over $8,000.

    The V12s are nice but no longer sportscars. They are heavier, not as attractive (due to US bumper regulations) and pretty difficult to throw around gracefully. So the last E-Type were more GT cars than sports cars (as Jaguars are today GT cars).

    I've had 120s, 140s and a 150 but never quite made it to an E-Type. Now with the base price for a decent one starting at $20,000 and the nice ones going at $35K and up, it looks like it may be out of reach for me as a hobby car.

    And believe me, it's not a car you want to buy rough and "fix up" as you go! They are difficult restorations, especially the body work.
  • lokkilokki Member Posts: 1,200
    It's still there, and it's still the most beautiful design in the museum. I saw it during my visit there a few months ago. Every piece on the Jag from the door handles to the exhaust tips is both functional and beautiful.

    Still, I couldn't resist. I stooped down a little and looked under the car. There was a stain on the floor from leaked engine oil.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    E-Types were notorious for rust, so the engineers designed the rear main seal on the engine to coat the suspension with oil, thus preventing rust (at least on that part of the car).
  • mac24mac24 Member Posts: 3,910
    I agree, that tempting though it might seem, restoring a rough example would not be the way to go.
    I know that the earlier convertible models are considered more desirable, but it's just a quirk in my nature that I find myself drawn to the last of the V12 coupes. I've always thought of them as a long legged, long distance tourer, and with that mindset I could even be comfortable with the autobox. From what you say, that should work to my advantage in terms of pricing at least.

    Do you, or anyone else, have any information on the availability of spares and general maintainance parts? I know that virtually everything is available for the MGB, for instance, but I rather doubt that things are the same for the E-Type.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Italians did that for years. They would mix ordinary road dirt with oil and paint it on the chassis. Worked pretty good for them during the "hard" years, the 50s and early 60s.

    The E-Type is, of course, a monocoque, so any rust in a structural area is deadly. Also, fitting that huge bonnet after a collision is really hell. Easy way to spot an E that's been "kissed". A clutch job requires the engine AND trans to be pulled (groan!) and to replace the rear brake rotors you need to drop the entire rear axle assembly I believe (it's been a while).

    Some folks forget how great the Jag 6 engine really is. It was in production longer than just about any engine I can think of...lemme see...well over 40 years, which beats the Chevy "stovebolt" 6 and the other contender, the Alfa dohc, which I think stops at around 39 years, maybe 40.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I was, of course, joking about using motor oil from the engine as rust prevention. Still, Coventry did little in the way of rust prevention when they painted the cars, and they are notorious for oil leaks, so....

    There's unconfirmed rumors about the later Jag XK engines having bad machining on the main bearings from the factory, because the guy who made them for 40 years retired, and his replacement didn't have the experience on Jag's old, worn machine tools to make the engines right. I kinda doubt that, though, because only one guy making all those engines for 40 years straight seems a little unlikely to me.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    He'd have been a very busy man, yeah, LOL!

    Every now and then you see a Jaguar with a Chevy V-8 stuffed in it, and while I don't care what people do to XJ6 sedans, I would personally consider it a complete ruination of an XKE.

    It's funny. Jaguar engines are about the best part of the car, and people throw them out and think they have a better car.

    As with most British cars, some extra attention to good electrical connections, and some radiator work, and you can vastly improve reliability without discarding the very heart of a jaguar--its engine!

    I have a very rare step by step rebuilding manual for the E-Type engines, so one of these days...
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    They were (The XK engines) used for 44 years.

    Came out in 1948, the last one was put in a Daimler DS420 Limo in 1992 or so.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    That's the longest lived 6 cylinder engine in the world, right? Porsche engines have changed too much I think to be considered the "same" engine for all those years.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    I think it has to be...

    Although regular mass-production of the engine ceased in early 1987 whenthe last 6-cyl Series 3s were made. Still, even that was 39 years.

    Well... hasnt the BMW "Small-Six" basically been around a looong time? Still, not even close...

    Or what about the old Blue Flame 6 by Chevy? How long did they make that for?

  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Last year for big cars was 1964 I think. It dated from the thirties.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The old 235? I think only about 25 years, and then the 230 took over---different engine but looks sorta kinda the same.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    Knew they ditched it inthe early 60s...

    Ya know... Its weird how that I, Mr Jaguar freak, Mr "I can even give you 12 digits of the vin off the top of my head of any jag made since 91 or so"

    That I didnt realize that the XK broke some kinda record... :)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    That's why it is always dangerous for any of us to call ourselves "experts". That is a mind-closing label sometimes.
  • impeimpe Member Posts: 33
    I have a 71 Coupe wih 32,000 miles. white with black interior. I think it is one of the last of the sixes, (I read somewhere that in 71 there were 16 Coupes and 19 OTS (convertibles) made before they started on the V-12).

    I got it from uncle John who apparently was a clutch cowboy because I had to replace the clutch to the tune of $3K, and yes, they have to pull the engine/trans to do it.

    Parts are not hard to find - Terry's Jaguar is my source, but they can be a bit pricy.

    I love the 4.2 six. I have looked at the V-12s and they are a mess with all that pipe and wiring all over the top of the engine. I also have a 69 Cadillac. When you compare the two engine compartments, the Jag's is elegant next to the Caddy.

    I have a minor rust problem about the Battery area which I plan to work on this spring. Most of my problems have been with that Damned Lucas electrics which often fail without warning.

    But all in all, the Jag is the most beautiful car I have ever owned and I consider myself very fortunate to have it. When I got the Cadillac, my wife asked if I am going to sell the Jaguar!!! Silly Woman.

  • mudflatmudflat Member Posts: 47
    Did anybody see "Harold and Maude" where an E-Type got converted into a hearse? I thought it looked pretty neat.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    E-Types are generally hard on clutches, as a rule.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Aren't clutches a pain to replace in an E-Type as well? Never done one, but I've been told you have to pull the engine out to get at it?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yep, you do. It's a big job that you don't want to do every 30K miles but that's the deal if you own one.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    What wears so quickly, the disc or the pressure plate? Would it make sense to put in a HD clutch (not a racing clutch) even if it meant more pedal pressure?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I don't know about that. I think it wears quickly because it's not very large and the engine is pretty powerful and torquey. I suspect a HD clutch would rather ruin the car's silkiness. It would be much harder to push down on the pedal, more like a contemporary Vette or Ferrari, neither one of which is very pleasant to drive in traffic.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I think I'd rather exercise my left leg than my wallet :-).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Oh, you can't outguess an E-Type. If you solve the clutch problem, something else will come up to bite you anyway. Just take a hit in the nose and see what's involved to straighten and align that huge nose cone!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Oh, the things people go through for love!
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Member Posts: 1,711
    So driving a little 5-speed Alfa Spider in traffic would make a modern Vette or Ferrari/Lamborghini look like beasts in traffic, right?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, based on SIZE, yes. You don't exactly "dart" in and out of traffic in a new Vette or Lambo. For one thing, you don't have good sight lines over fenders, etc, and for another, these two cars are WIDE. But I don't think either a VEtte or Lambo would be a CHORE or anything...you just would have to be careful and not make any sudden moves with all that size, weight and power. A little Alfa has none of the above :)
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I'll be more than happy to step in for anyone in need of releif!
  • wtodd2wtodd2 Member Posts: 3
    Had a '64 and a '67, both roadsters, both a bittersweet love affair. They were quick, good riding, great looking, good handling and great at high speed (120++). On the downside, needed lots of attention, many troubles, particularly overheating, and difficult to work on. As mentioned, changing the clutch involved removing the bonnet and standing the engine/trans assembly almost on end and removing the assembly.I'm glad to have had the opportunity to have had them. Now drive a Vette.
  • impeimpe Member Posts: 33
    This is a follow-on to message 19. The mechanic who replaced my clutch at approx 30K miles said that the clutch "actually had some left on it" and that the severe chatter was probably in most part due to "hot spots" on the flywheel (whatever they are!). Also, the $3K included a new exhaust system too.

    I am now thinking about installing an oil filter adaptor so that I can use a spin-on filter. The standard element is a pain to replace and the gasket is so thin and narrow that I always worry that I have not gotten the gasket on perfectly and the oil is going to dump all over the garage floor.

    Has anyone out there installed an adaptor that allows use of a spin-on filter?

    My E-Type sits next to my 69 DeVille convertible, and it is fun to see the reactions of people who see them side by side. Although the Cadillac is very attractive and is usually looked at first, most people seem to gravitate to, and spend more time around the Jaguar.

    Allen Impellitteri
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