Jaguar E-Type V12 Convertible
The ultimate cat
For the 1973 model year Jaguar unlocked the ultimate cat…it was a ferocious 12-cylinder animal. It sprinted from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Because of inherent balance the engine idled in near silence. Jaguar set their own benchmarks of what a sports car should be.
The 1973 E-Type Series III open tourer was a restless big cat on the prowl…its classic styling maintained a refined precision look. Tap the accelerator and this big cat came to life…and pounced. The entire time any Jaguar is in motion it purrs…
The E-Type V12 was Jaguar’s latest contribution to automotive history. The objective of Jaguar was smoothness of engine performance not brute force…the engine’s inherent balance made the cat almost purrrfectly silent with virtually no vibration. Its engine was cast mostly in aluminium. The E-type was one of the finest Jaguars to come from Sir William Lyons.
The cat’s V12 used the flathead design with a single camshaft per bank. The engine was heavily influenced by experience gained at Coventry Climax racing engines. Its flathead design produces excellent torque throughout the lower and middle speed ranges.
The bore/stroke for this powerplant was rather unusual. It used a 3 ½ inch bore and a 2 ¾ stroke which means the cylinders were unusually wide and the piston stroke unusually short resulting in lower piston speed for longer engine life.
The engine was equipped with a transistorized ignition system that eliminated contact points which was the major reason for an engine tune-up. It utilized the Opus Mark II Electronic Ignition system with electronic distributor, timing rotor, amplifier unit, ballast resistance unit, and a special high performance coil.
The ultimate cat’s purr was derived from the formidable 5.3 litre 326 CID 24-valve SOHC V12 engine. It was equipped with four Zenith-Stromberg 175 CD2 SE carburetors. She was very quick with performance rated as 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 13.9 seconds, with a top speed of 149 mph.
Of significance is its power-to-displacement ratio. The V12 displaces only 326 cubic inches yet develops 314 hp @ 6,200 rpm with 472 Nm of peak torque @ 3,800 rpm. Even at 6, 500 rpm there was an absence of engine noise. At Jaguar, every V12 engine and gearbox was bench tested as a unit, not once but several times. The final approval is only so after two different road tests by two different crews. And two different inspectors.
The engine was mated to a manual 4-speed syncromesh gearbox. It had a Diaphragm Spring-type Borg & Beck 10.5” clutch with hydraulic actuation. A Borg Warner 3-speed fully automatic transmission with torque converter was optional at extra cost.
This cat was adaptable to any motoring environment with its four-wheel independent suspension, power assisted rack & pinion steering, and power assisted braking system. It was equipped with 10” discs fitted to the rear axle, and 11” ventilated discs fitted to the front axle.
When you want the ultimate cat to stop in its tracks…it stops. The 1973 Jaguar E-Type convertible rode a long 105” wheelbase, was 184.4” long and 66” wide. It was built as monocoque construction with separate engine subframe.
Being a Jaguar poised to pounce, its front suspension included independent transverse wishbones with torsion bars, monotube hydraulic shock absorbers, and anti-roll bar. It incorporated anti-dive geometry. The rear suspension used wishbones with drive shaft forming upper link, radius arms, monotube hydraulic shock absorbers inside coil springs, and anti-roll bar. It incorporated anti-squat geometry.
The ultimate cat’s flared fenders at certain angles looked as though it were clawing the pavement in pursuit. Its design is cat-like especially the headlamps at idle this animal seems ready to spring. The front grille had a cat-like sneer gleaming through an oval of chrome. Beneath the grille was an extra induction scoop for more efficient engine ventilation. From the front, she looks perilously perched ready to pounce…
Some of the cat’s standard equipment included a center mounted syncromesh 4-speed stick shift, an instrument panel including tach were designed for accessibility both visually and manually. All metal interior parts were finished in a non-reflective surface.
The steering wheel had satin finish aluminium alloy spokes and a rim covered in hand-stitched leather or wood. Also standard were reclining bucket seats, inertia reel seat-belt system, and semi-reclining bucket seats leather faced with ambla panels on non-wearing surfaces.
The Jaguar E-Type V12 convertible was the ultimate cat. Long, lithe, and sinewy were the visual attributes of this luxury performance open grand tourer. Powered by the 5.3 litre V12 engine, this cat had the power to leap ahead of the pack.
It purred like a kitten in the city…but tap the accelerator on the open road and it became the fierce animal that shares its name. This Jaguar was like no other cat. The E-Type V12 continued the heritage set forth by the brand. Jaguar set their own benchmarks of what a sports car should be.
…she’s a man-eater
“She’d only come out at night…the lean and hungry type…nothing is new, I’ve seen her here before…watching and waiting, she is sitting with you but her eyes are on the door…”
“So many have paid to see…what you think you’re getting for free…the woman is wild as a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jaguar…money’s the matter…if you’re in it for love…you ain’t gonna get too far…oh here she comes…watch out boys she’ll chew you up…oh here she comes…she’s a maneater-“
“I wouldn’t if I were you…I know what she can do…she’s deadly man, she could really rip your world apart…mind over matter…the beauty is there…but a beast is in the hall…oh here she comes…watch out boys she’ll chew you up…oh here she comes…she’s a maneater-“
“Oh here she comes…watch out boys she’ll chew you up”
“Oh here she comes…she’s a man-eater…” Hall & Oates”
Many thanks to Rodd Sala, Park Ward Motors Museum