The extended development process of the E-Type had led to a gradual increase in its weight. However, in 1971, Jaguar managed to restore a significant portion of the lost performance with the introduction of the ultimate iteration: the Series III V12. This version of the E-Type was graced with a remarkable engine, crafted by two highly experienced and respected engineers in the industry, Walter Hassan and Harry Mundy.
Despite its larger size, the new all-alloy, 5.3-liter V12 weighed just 80 pounds more than its predecessor, the cast-iron-block, 4.2-liter XK six. This powerhouse produced an impressive 272bhp, granting the Series III a top speed well beyond 140mph. What’s more, it could accelerate from 0 to 100mph in about 16 seconds, making it the quickest-accelerating E-Type to date.
Beneath its sleek exterior, the Series III boasted improvements like ventilated front disc brakes for enhanced stopping power and anti-dive geometry in the front suspension. Lucas transistorised ignition and Adwest power-assisted steering came as standard features. Additionally, automatic transmission gained popularity as an option, reflecting the E-Type’s transition from a pure sports car to a more luxurious Grand Tourer.
The Series III E-Type could be distinguished by its flared wheel arches, a deeper radiator air intake with a grille, and a distinctive four-pipe exhaust system. Of course, the all-important ‘V12’ badge on the boot highlighted its exceptional engine. However, the interior retained the traditional Jaguar elegance.
Ultimately, the V12-powered Series III marked the end of an era for this iconic and highly sought-after British sports car. Production ceased in 1975, with over 15,000 units of this final model rolling off the assembly line.