Jaguar E-Type S3 Unleashed V12 6.1-litre 400bhp monster
E-type UK is a company known for its restorations, but it is now branching out into something a little more specialised. Via its Unleashed sub-brand, it is taking Series 3 E-types down the ‘restomod’ route.
Tapping hidden potential JAGUAR E-TYPE ‘UNLEASHED’
Drives.Today arrives in deepest Kent to be greeted by the first car that truly demonstrates what Unleashed is about. By the time you read this it will have been shipped to its new owner in California, after a process of Several months during which its final specification has evolved. What strikes you is how clean it looks, with some of the fussier elements of S3 bodywork – not typically regarded as a high point for the E-type – resolved.
There are new bumpers – without the clumsy overriders – which hug the nose and tail. The front grille has been simplified, with hidden fixings and a floating marque badge. Badging on the tail is in body colour. The headlamps have been replaced with modern-style LEDs. There’s a re-engineered hardtop, though this car still carries its original-style soft-top too. And there are specially commissioned wheels from Turrini, which fill the arches and carry subtle ‘Unleashed’ branding on the spinners, as does the alloy fuel filler cap.
What you can’t see is the strengthening carried out to the inner sills and additional air ducting inside the bonnet; what you can see but which might not be immediately obvious is the extended louvring in the bonnet.
All of which is necessary when you consider what’s under it… The mechanical upgrades centre around the engine, its capacity increased from 5.3 to 6.1 litres. A full custom downdraught fuel injection system features Jenvey throttle bodies and takes power output to around 400bhp – that’s nearly 50% more than Jaguar ever claimed. It’s put to the rear wheels via a five-speed Tremec gearset that’s squeezed into an original manual gearbox casing. There’s also an aluminium radiator and header tank, uprated alternator, uprated steering rack and a 12-branch stainless exhaust. It’s held off the ground on stiffer springs and dampers, and four-pot AP racing calipers over grooved and vented brake discs to bring everything to a halt.
Inside you find a dashboard refinished in stitched leather and piano black, with LED illumination and modernised switchgear legends. There’s a bespoke air-conditioning system, with alloy vents set into the centre console, plus a start button, electric windows, central locking and Bluetooth sound system. You sit on heated seats, developed specially by E-type UK, and there are specially designed door-pull/ armrest combinations, which house the window motors.
Finishing the body alone takes Four months; the narrowness and accuracy of the shutlines and mirror-like paint along flawless flanks bear testament to what’s involved. Add that lot together and the E-type Unleashed is not going to be an inexpensive purchase. Expect to pay around £300,000, plus a donor car. Time to go for a spin. Hit the button and that enlarged V12 erupts into life, sounding much more assertive than the mellifluous original. The clutch is firm, the gearshift precise and appropriate in weighting.
Exploring the accelerator’s further reaches elicits seemingly endless reserves of torque, accompanied by the glorious voice of that V12, which gets harder and louder the higher you rev it. A full-bore blast is a real thrill.
Corners are fun, too. There’s no twitchiness and plenty of grip, thanks to the sophistication of Jaguar’s original suspension layout. Firming things up here quells the feeling of floatiness that you often experience in a Series 3; the pay-off is amore controlled ride, which is not uncomfortable but different from the typical E-type experience. Steering is better weighted than the standard over-assisted rack and more satisfying as a result.
There is much opportunity here for personalisation, given that the aim of Unleashed is to create bespoke V12 E-types. And if they all drive as entertainingly as this one, they will each represent an extremely worthwhile alternative to amore typical restoration.
Left and below Simpler bumpers and grille, LED headlamps and painstaking shutline management characterise the bodywork, which clothes substantially upgraded engine and suspension; interior looks familiar but benefits from worthwhile revisions.
- PRICE: £300,000 (plus E-Type donor car)
- POWER: 400bhp
- 0-62MPH: 4.5 seconds (est.)
- TOP SPEED: 170mph (est.)
- WEIGHT: 1,500kg