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V12 In The Barn: 1972 Jaguar E-Type

1972 Jaguar E-Type

I know, the Series 3 E-Types aren’t as desirable as early cars, but if you’ve always wanted to experience a V12 power grand touring car they are a great choice! The Jaguar V12 isn’t quite the snarling animal of Ferrari’s Colombo, that’s alright with me though. It’s a very well mannered and proper engine with plenty of power. This E-Type has been in storage for quite a while, 15 years to be exact. It’s had one repaint, but looks to otherwise be original. It was running when it was parked, but isn’t running now. Find this one here on eBay in Mckinney, Texas with a BIN of $19k. So would you want to tackle reviving this V12?


  1. flmikey

    …thought that was a fair price, until I saw it only has two pedals….

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  2. edh

    Who wants a V12?

    That would be my question after I swapped in an LS.

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    • Frenchy

      Chevy swaps decrease the value and do not improve reliability
      To gain reliability learn the small little details that solve V12 “problems”
      Things like replace all the rubber hose every 5 years ( a nice afternoons worth of work)
      Put a few drops of oil down the center of the distributor every other oil change ( it will take 15 min the first time you do it, about 5 thereafter)
      Replace the rubber diaphragm in the stromberg carbs every decade or so (about 5 minutes per carb)
      Clean the contact points in the fuel pump once a year and put a drop of oil on the springs. ( an hour job the first time about 15 minutes thereafter)
      Tighten the screw on the black ground wire any time there is a electrical issue.

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  3. Doyler

    I could just never do a 2+2

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  4. dirtyharry

    The E-Type Series 3 was introduced in 1971, with a new 5.3 L twelve cylinder engine, uprated brakes and standard power steering. Before you “toss” the V-12, perhaps you recall this brand new V12 engine was originally developed for the 24 Hours of Lemans. It was equipped with four carbs. It is a maintenance hog. The engine officially claimed about 270HP, massive torque and an acceleration of 0-60 mph in less than 7 seconds. Not bad and the top speed was just as fast as a Jensen Interceptor (135) and faster than a Mercedes 450.
    Everyone moans about this motor, but I did drive my buddies’ fathers’ friends, when it was virtually new. While they sat at the Golf Course, they let us (both 19) drive the two lane roads near Jamestown, NY. I can’t forget that, since it was the first time I had gone over a 100 mph (think Ferris Buellers day off). It was incredibly smooth. We did return the Jag in one piece. Miracles do happen.

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  5. Jesper

    Great idear to swap that v12 with a ls engine.
    Why destroy a car with matching numbers?
    Good its not trend in Europe, to hot rod classic cars.
    So its impossible to sell,
    A v12 is a fantastic engine, at least this one.

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  6. Steven C

    If people want an LS motor they should keep it in whatever gm vehicle it’s in and leave other cars alone.

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    • Tom Member

      Well said.

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    • crazydave

      If a car that can actually start, run and be a reliable fun car is what you want, then regardless of who made the body, put a SBC in it. If “matching numbers” are the only things important to you, you should become an accountant. Personally, I’d get that V12 outta there before I’d even take delivery of the car. As it is, you could easily double the car’s value and make re-sale much easier by dropping in a LS engine.

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      • Peter


        I find your screen name…interesting, in light of your comments–specifically, this one:

        “As it is, you could easily double the car’s value and make re-sale much easier by dropping in a LS engine.”

        While I’m not an accountant, I did take an accounting course, and it’s probably good that you’re not an accountant either–LOL and NO OFFENSE intended. ;-)

        However, there is NO WAY, in today’s current collector car market, where “Survivors” are, perhaps, THE hottest, fastest-growing segment, that the Big (Collector) Money wants to see another SBC/LS substituted for an original, numbers-matching VEE-TWELVE.

        I don’t know the cost of an “LS,” but please explain how the math works, in your mind, where you add a crate motor ($4,000.–6,000.? More? I dunno…), to the original purchase price of $19,000., and “double your money.” (Because that would be $38,000. PLUS your crate motor cost of, say, $6K? For a total of $44,000.–with you doing all the labor, of course.)

        At a (serious) auction, even an inline six XKE is going to bring more money than a SBC-powered XKE, all other things being equal.

        I can’t stand seeing all the nice Fords with SBC’s/Powerglides in place of Henry’s innovative, industry-changing, flathead V-8.

        But to actually “…get that V12 outta there before I’d even take delivery of the car…” as you suggest, is simply to BURN MONEY, and hack up yet another classic that is, as they say, “Only original once.”

        I REALLY don’t get this compulsion to repower anything with four wheels with Chevy power. Yeah, I understand that Chevy is THE cheapest form of horsepower, bar none.

        But just because something’s cheap doesn’t make it (necessarily) good. If it did, more people would be eating cat food instead of tuna. Or driving ELECTRIC cars, the “fuel” for which costs pennies on the dollar, compared to gasoline.

        When I see a nice Ford, or (insert your non-Chevy vehicle of choice here) repowered with a Bowtie special, unless the point is to race the thing, my first reaction is dismay, followed by *yawn*, followed by: “Next?” Because my interest, at that point, is generally gone.

        How many V-12’s have you actually, even EXPERIENCED, crazydave?

        Some of us enjoy the unusual and/or the refined. Like the smooth power delivery of a V-12. But they can still haul ***! I had a V-12 M-Benz SL literally sideways, on a racetrack, so crossed up that the race driver who was “minding” me said, afterwards, “I didn’t think you were gonna bring that one back! LOL”

        V-12 power = Grins and Dollars, to those that appreciate them.

        I’m sure you don’t like what I said, or me, at this point–but you can take comfort in the fact that there ARE many who feel as you do (in fact, you may outnumber us! LOL).

        They’re just not the ones raising their paddles, at auction, for original, unmolested pieces of automotive art/history.

        So obviously, I vote to attempt to give this “Cat” the TLC and love it’s been missing, and get that sweet V-12 “purring” again.

        /rant over (Putting on Flame-retardant racing suit now….)

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  7. John

    Actually, my old boss has had one of these since new in 1972. His is a stick. There weren’t many V-12s with manual transmissions (according to him). His requires a good bit of maintenance, but nothing unusual. Oil changes required a tanker. But I drove cross country with him in it and it was the epitome of what one would expect from a “grand touring” car. Very smooth, reasonably fast, and comfortable.

    I have always felt that there was a subtle change in the roofline with the V-12s. To me they seem less bulbous at the rear. I’ve never measured it, but It always hit me that I hated the 2+2 sixes, but the V-12s looked different. I hope it goes to someone who will love it.

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  8. bcavileer

    Great car, under apprciated. V 12 really just required an attentive owner and a good mechanic. Not a bad motor. And the 6 cylinders were smooth and tourquey… I think they look awesome. Classic british, at least it had a style. Not like the B.S. today.

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  9. Palandi

    since the convertibles command very high prices and the FHC was withdrawn from the lineup earlier (and is not cheap, too), so if I ever have an E-Type, it’ll probably be a 2+2, series 2 or 3.

    that said, I began to actually like the 2+2. quirky and expensive to run, yet elegant and less prone to purism. of course I’d keep the V12, but I’d paint it green or black.

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  10. Bruce Best

    The trick on the Jag V-12 is to drive it and maintain it. The LS motors can produce more power but they have nowhere near the smooth delivery of the V-12. The only real problems with these cars are the electrical looms and you can purchase all of that with far bette components today. One fact that very few know if you are willing to put in the work and pay for the parts, there is no difference between the bodies of the coupes and convertibles. I helped change on over that had a puncture about the size of a basket ball thru the center of the roof. Not even the dealer mechanics could tell until they ran the numbers. Drove just as good. As a coupe they are fun but a fall day, with the heater up full blast and the windows up, perfect.

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  11. crazydave


    How many V12’s have I experienced? None. However, I did work with a friend who started with a nice looking, non rusty V12 Jag (badly smoking) and helped him pull the lump (and its trans). A quick visit to the boneyard, and six hundred bucks got us the LS engine and trans out of a wrecked Chev pickup. A couple of weekends later, he then sold the Jag for a significant premium over a one year newer car that was at least as nice and still had its V12. The V12 reduced the price of that car – by a LOT!

    When you sell a V12 Jag, there are those who will pay a premium for the silky smooth, numbers matching etc, etc and those who are scared of the complexity, the difficulty of getting service and have a HUGE fear of being beside the road, late at night, 200 miles from the nearest Jag dealer. The first kind of buyer will go to an auction and buy a paddle. The second kind wants to buy a car and wants the prestige of being seen in a Jag, but will not understand what you mean when you say “Matching numbers” (Maybe it means something like “the title actually matches the car serial number” ?) He (or she) wants the reliability of a Chev but with the air of the exotic.

    To my mind (I could, of course be wrong) the first kind INVESTS, the second kind is buying a car to drive.

    The second kind – I suspect they are more numerous- will actually pay a substantial premium for something that can be serviced at the Mr Lube in any teeny little town on a Saturday while still making the in-laws jealous.

    As to those who insist on matching numbers – yes, I agree that’s what people are bidding BIG money on. For myself, “matching numbers” is not something that I would place any additional value on – unless I’m merely investing – buying & selling cars as if I were treating them like stocks, bonds or pieces of art to put in a vault.

    If I were buying this matching numbers, all 100% original Jag as an investment grade asset, I’d shove it into storage as is – don’t spend even one cent on it – for the next 30 years for it to continue to appreciate in cash value.

    OR – I’d stuff a SBC and GM trans in it and drive the whee out of it

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  12. Tom Driscoll

    I don’t know much about V 12’s, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night…

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  13. Jesper

    As fahr as i know, a Jaguar v12 is a strong engine, if good maintained.
    Good oil, and clean filters, every 10,000km.
    It sounds super, and have enough power, to be a fun car.
    Matching numberss, is when its that engine still in the car, it left factory with.
    The next best is a identic engine.
    A E type with a v8 is no E Type. End of story 😟

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  14. Bill

    Why would somebody pull a matching numbers motor out of any car, especially a 12 cylinder Jaguar? It’s only original once and pulling it’s original motor is crazy. Period.

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  15. ClassicCarFan

    Yep. Count me in with the “leave the V-12 in there” crowd. I’m sure the LS is a fine motor but don’t really see the point in swapping one into this car. There is something special about a V-12 engine and a classic Jaguar is probably about the most affordable way to get this experience. There are more powerful engines for sure, but the smooth power delivery of the V-12 is something else. I feel that if you take away the V-12 from this car, you don’t have a real E-type any more.

    I’ve always thought the Jaguar V-12 was more at home in the XJ12 sedan or the XJS in a “gentleman’s express” or grand tourer role – and purists and collectors generally agree that the 6-cylinder E-types are the most desirable variants, but this would still be a cool classic car to own and drive. Heck, it’s an E-type isn’t it ! Even if this is one of the slightly less sought-after E-types….that’s like being described as “maybe not considered the most beautiful among the super-models…” Also, even accepting that these are not quite the nimble sports car the earlier Series were- make no mistake, these are still FAST cars.

    I recall driving around the suburbs in a 1970 E-type roadster belonging to a friend a few years back – and I’ve never experienced so much attention, smiles, waves, thumbs up, people pulling up to talk, from other drivers and pedestrians for any other car I’ve ever been in. I wouldn’t say that “attracting attention” is high up there in the reasons why I like to drive classic cars but it is quite an amazing effect to observe first hand. I’m very happily married myself, but for any single guy out there looking to meet more women – just start driving around in an open E-type on a sunny day…. The term “chick-magnet” may be a bit cliched but if it could ever be applied to any car – it’s the E-type.

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  16. Frenchy

    If you’ve ever successfully rebuilt a motor (even a SBC) you will be able to work on a V12 if you can count to twelve without taking your shoes off. Parts are available and not insanely expensive either.
    Yes there are some things different, for example you should oil the distributor periodically. The carbs are much simpler than a 4 barrel and the fuel injection in later cars straight forward.
    If you must swap engines do so for a later V12 The first ones had 242 horsepower but more torque than a big block while the last ones had 314 horsepower but got nearly twice the fuel mileage
    Compared to the earlier 6cylinder engines the V12 had Clydsdales while the six had tiny ponies
    Not to mention the all aluminum V12 is lighter than the Six by 40 pounds

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  17. Dubai Chris

    Agree with ClassicCarFan – they are an unbelievable chick magnet – I had a S1 4.2 coupe – several times I had the chicks opening the passenger door and getting in at traffic lights – they all said that they had a compelling urge to do it – had Ferraris after that – but not the same reaction

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  18. Dovi65

    One thing that irritates me more than “there’s lots of patina” is “swap that lump for a sbc” Good grief, yes, the bowtie powerplants are great, tried & true, but they don’t belong in everything that needs an engine.
    I’m a purist when it comes to my classics; keep them as close to factory stock as possible

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  19. Matt Lesny

    If it had no engine in it then swap away. If it’s already butchered then who cares but this is unmolested.

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  20. Solosolo UK KEN TILLY Member

    Why does everybody always want to stick a Chevy lump into ANY original car, other than a Chev? Really brasses me off when I see a Cobra Replica, which in itself is a Replica, fitted with a CHEV engine rather than a FORD V8.

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