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30 Year Restoration: 1966 Jaguar S-Type 3.8

This 1966 Jaguar S-Type 3.8 is described as an unfinished project that is nearly complete, benefitting from close to 30 years of ongoing refurbishment. It looks to be in excellent condition, so the remaining work to be completed has to be somewhat minor. The seller notes he purchased it from what is believed to be the only previous owner, who spent 23 years tearing the car down and slowly rebuilding it. The current owner has used the last seven years to complete the work that was started, and today, it is offered as a running/driving example with many new parts and a beautiful interior. Find it here on eBay with bids to $5,100 and the reserve unmet.

The bodywork looks to be incredibly sound, and while the seller offers up that anyone can reach out to him with questions, it’d be nice to have some more details in the listing regarding the extent of the work completed. While it seems unlikely that what we’re seeing is original paint, it’s also entirely possible – and the chrome doesn’t look to have been re-done, either, but rather is nicely preserved. The paint on the gas flap door is a tad off, but it could be the lighting. Regardless, the straightness of the body panels, the chrome quality, and the intact lenses – along with gorgeous factory wire wheels – are all encouraging signs of this S-Type being a solid driver.

The interior is a knock-out, with the cardinal red upholstery and walnut dash two must-haves in a Jaguar from this era. The passenger seat has a little bagginess, but that will likely dissipate over time if it’s new upholstery. Now, the seller does state that “…nothing has remained untouched after 30 years of refurbishment,” so perhaps the paint has been stripped off and re-done just like the interior clearly has. The door panels and carpets present well, and while they both could be original, they also look clean enough to be replacements. The woodgrain dash is likely original, but who knows – some enthusiasts really do go overboard and have those inserts refinished or replaced entirely as well.

The engine bay is nicely detailed and clean, and from this vantage point, the paint does appear to be quite nice. The seller, again, doesn’t provide any details on the extent of the mechanical restoration, but we can safely assume the Jaguar likely drives quite nicely and makes enough power to keep up easily with modern traffic. The seller doesn’t detail what other work needs to be done, but I can’t see much heavy lifting left to do based on these photos. The bids seem well short of where they should be for an S-Type in this sort of condition, and with the auction ending in just over 10 hours, bidders will have to get busy if they want to take this Jaguar home.


  1. Avatar photo Jim C

    IMHO…..one of the prettiest car designs ever.

    Like 14
  2. Avatar photo SMS

    Have the same car, except mine is white over black and a manual trans. Fun car to drive, no problems keeping up with modern traffic. Can get any and all parts. Wood is not too difficult to redo in your garage, just takes time. The kids love riding around in it. One day parked next to a 2013 Camry. Was surprised at how much bigger the Camry was.

    As the saying goes, cheapest way to restore a car is to buy someone else’s. What ever this sells for will most likely be lower that what went into it.

    Love inline 6s and the 3.8 is a peach.

    Like 9
  3. Avatar photo oilngas

    Beautiful car. Love these. Have done quite a bit of work on these years ago. Was the only car I ever did that you rebuild the ball joints instead of replace them. I noticed the paint looks rough. hopefully water sand and buff will bring it out. Chrome appears pitted. Fine steel wool might help. The bolts on what appear to be the left front bump stop are loose. The nut on the right rear lower control arm bolt out by the wheel also appears to be loose. Compare with right side. Definitely need to go over it and check all nuts and bolts. Would love to have it.

    Like 4
  4. Avatar photo FordGuy1972 Member

    Gorgeous Jag and the walnut dash is just stunning. These were great cars with a proven powerplant; beautiful, stately cruisers. The red interior looks very good and the chrome wire wheels against the black exterior are really eye-catching. I rode in a few of these cars when I was a young lad working at a petrol station on the south side of Dublin back in the late ’60s and remember them well. Probably the most attractive saloon Jag ever built.

    Like 4
  5. Avatar photo Ben T.Spanner

    Winning bid was $14,000 which is way short of restoration costs. These have primitive automatic transmissions, but a turbo hydromatic could be installed with no external changes.
    Nice car which will never be worth as much as a Jag MKII. Another example of buying the best that you cn afford.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member


      The auto trans in these were the same as used in many US cars in the 50s & 60s, even into the 70s AMC cars. Began life as the Borg Warner automatic used in the 1951 Studebaker & Ford. It was used in all Studebaker automatics thru the 1964 model year.

      This was a very reliable automatic transmission, and was still in use in specialty equipment like forklifts & aircraft towmotors, thru the 1980s.

      Like 4
  6. Avatar photo Stan Marks

    Drop-dead beautiful classic. That red interior is over the top. At $14K, it’s a steal. These don’t last.

    Like 2
  7. Avatar photo Kenneth

    Winning bid: US $14,000.00 [ 20 bids ]
    Item location: Caspar, California, United States

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

    Damn! If I had seen this auction in time, it certainly would have sold for more, I would have gone at least $5k more. Even shipped coast to coast, it’s still worth it.

    Like 2

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