Beginning New Rebuild 1971 S3 2+2

Hi all, new to the forum and new to the owners club so I’m looking for some help and advice.

I just recently inherited a 1971 series 3 2+2 and I’m looking to completely rebuild it. I have childhood memories of the car and I couldn’t let it go to the junkyard. My goal is to eventually have it in original condition (or as close as possible), but I don’t have the money to do it all at once.

It hasn’t run in about 5 years, and isn’t in the best condition. The original owner pulled the v12 and put in an American engine. It could use new paint and interior but it’s not a must have at this point. Everything other than the engine is original and factory.

I believe my first order of business is to pull that engine and find an original v12 and drop it in. After that I would slowly rebuild all the other parts of the car.

I’m curious to hear everyone’s opinion on what you all would do first. And whether there are pitfalls to avoid.

I am planning on using bob milstein in briarcliff NY for much of the rebuild. Can any of you recommend good mechanics in the northeast? What about the best place to source an engine and parts?

I understand in the end I may dump More money into it than it’s worth but who knows maybe the market will change.

I appreciate any advice that anyone can provide.


Welcome to the forum

I think the first thing to do is to have the body thoughly assessed by a person who knows these cars backwards …… they will possibly be a source for an engine too

Others on this site will know of people in your area that can help you, so if you give a reasonably specific area ….I’m sure you’ll get some good help

Sounds like a fun project …. Show us the car now , load up a few photos …. So we can see the project develop

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Hi Danny, thanks for the insight.

I plan on picking it up in the next couple months. I have to trailer it from Kentucky to New York. I am waiting to get some pictures.

I am assuming the car has some rust. But I will definitely bring it to a specialist. I have been told Bob Milstein in Briarcliff Manor NY is one of the best. Is there anyone with any knowledge of Bob?

If anyone can recommend any other specialists in the NYC area that would be greatly appreciated. Getting a second opinion wouldn’t be a bad idea.

It’s been sitting in a barn for 5+ years. British racing green with tan interior. Automatic transmission.

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Welcome aboard.

The biggest question is rust. My 1972 2+2 had accumulated quite A bit of rust before I started a full rebuilt 5 years ago. Floors, door skins, rear hatch, lower valance, headlight buckets, sills etc. all these panels and repairs plus a good paint job came to just under $30k. I used a small body shop here in SoFl. I m sure the same work could cost 50% more at other shops so finding the right place is important.

Mechanically, the car is not worth spending a dime on if you re goin going to keep the V8 but it looks like you ve already figured this out. Finding a replacement V12 should not be too difficult, I know some people have used later XJS blocks.

I had my V12 rebuilt by Coventry West in Atlanta. They did a great job. Dick Maury is on the forum here. I m sure he may be able to source a block for you.

Between rebuilding the engine, the 5 speed manual, suspension, diff, new harness etc I spent about $35k or so but that was pretty much going thru everything even rebuilding gauges. Interior kit was about $7k

That s the bad news. It a not cheap. The good news is that you can spread the work over a few years and at today’s value, assuming they hold, you may end up even and have an incredible car to drive

One more thing… Stew Jones in CT is the expert on series 3 E-type. Not sure if he still in business as it s been years since I went to his shop.

Wow. GREAT info. I am intent on putting in the v12 but didn’t even consider that the value will hold better.

Is the interior kit easy to install yourself? Are there any other aspects that are DIY for a fairly handy person?

I haven’t heard of stew Jones. I’ll reach out to him for sure.

One more thing to consider are the conditions of the engine frames. They are critical to the structure as they hold the engine but also the front suspension. Often they need to be cut to install a V8, in that case they will need to be replaced and aren’t cheap

Hi John,
Welcome aboard. You’ll find lots of information, ideas and fixes from the membership. We’ve been there, experienced this-and-that and SURVIVED!!! Ha Ha. You will too…
First, to help the membership, where are you located? Edit you information to include location plus the vehicle number. That would be most helpful.
1971 was the first production year for the Series 3 E-type with numerous changes/updates/upgrades done in the following years.
Locating a S3 E-type V12 motor shouldn’t be that difficult. Forum members know some who knows some… Get the idea? If the donor is an XJ12sedan the oil pan and filter assembly won’t work on a S3 E-type, just for your info.
Keeping it original is laudable, a feat I ascribe to but there are modification/upgrades that enhance reliability but keep the OEM appearance.
First, do you have the Official Jaguar Repair Manual (ROM) and Parts BOOT (RTC-xxxxx_). You’ll soon learn other publications and books will aid in the rebuild, adding to your library. You’ll also want parts catalogs from the major suppliers (SNG, MOSS, David Manners and more)…
Was the car originally fitted with a Manual or Automatic transmission? Do you have the original transmission?
When the PO modified the car to an American V8 were the engine frames altered (cut, welded, etc.)?
If you have a digital camera please post as many pictures as possible to assist others help in your quest. The Forum Administrator is very helpful in guiding newcomers wanting to upload pictures. Just ask but it’s really easy/user friendly! As you go about your rebuild task take pictures, lots of pictures then take twice as many more. A photo record in invaluable against human memory!
Look forward to seeing future post; Your journey begins,

Best of Luck and Happy Trails,


'74 OTS
'99 XJR
1947 Stinson 108-1 “Voyager”; N8518K

Bitten by Jaguar Bug in 1965!

Thanks pascal! More good info. I’ll have to take a picture of a newly constructed engine frame with me when I go pick it up to compare it.

Thank you Dick! I’ll be sure to get the serial numbers and take pictures (lots) when I pick up the car.

I’m also starting the journey of obtaining an engine. I have some feelers out but won’t pull the trigger until after I get the car and choose a mechanic.

Also, I don’t think it has the manuals. And I’m not sure about the original transmission.

What should a 1971 etype v12 cost to obtain? Aside from the rebuild.

Hi John, welcome to Jag Lovers. You will find lots of good info and support here.

I don’t want to be Debbie Downer but here goes. I know a restorer in the NY area. He said he spends a fair amount of time on the phone trying to talk people out of getting their cars restored. What he is getting at is that it is rarely a sound financial decision to pay someone else to restore an Etype or any car for that matter. The only exceptions seem to be significant rare cars. Almost no Etypes qualify.

Since you say you inhereted the car, there is an obvious emotional attachment. Please don’t take me wrong but if you also do not have a strong desire to restore this car, for the pure personal pleasure of restoring it, then it will most likely become the albratross in the garage that you never get around to working on.

The current Hagery market value of your car in #2 conditon is $73K. Not bad. You can assume that your car, as described, will need everything to get to that point and it will always be held back by the fact that it does not have the original engine. A review of comparable sales on BringaTrailer would indicate that very few SIII 2+2s reach anything close to that sales price. So you will most likely be “underwater” on this car, even if you do most of the work yourself. If you have to start paying others to do it, you will be way underwater.

As others have mentioned, existing rust is a key factor in how easy/quickly/cost effectively your car can be restored to a safe drivable condition. Before I did anything else, I would get the car evaluated from that persepctive. If you have a unicorn that is rust free, go buy a lottery ticket and count your blessings. But most likely rust repair will bog you down for years and/or many dollars.

It pains me to say this because it is easier said than done but get your hands on the car, do a lot of inspections, prepare a plan, prepare a spreadsheet, evaluate costs, and then make a decision. Don’t spend a dime on anything until you do that.

The old adage is still true. The cheapest Jaguar is the one that you buy that someone else has restored.

Good luck to you sir!!!

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Hi Harvey! Great advice. I don’t think you’re a Debbie downer at all. Facts are facts.

The main reason I am giving this an honest attempt is because the car was free. And the emotional attachment too I suppose. I do agree with you. I was hoping I could be all in for around $50k. But that seems very tight at this point. The engine and the likelihood of rust leads me to believe it’s going to be expensive.

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Not very……extremely tight……

Free is a favorable starting point, financially :slight_smile:

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And the corollary: There is nothing more expensive than a cheap Jaguar…


John, there are many options on how to proceed. But rest assured, the car will not go to the crusher. If you look at Bringatrailer, you can use the Search feature to review completed auctions. I usually search on “Jaguar XKE”. I did this and there are no specific “comps” to your car but you can get the general idea for Series III, 2+2, American V8 engine (we call that a “lump”), autotransmission, etc. Every Etype, even projects, find a willing buyer, if you decide to go that route.

One approach I would suggest is to put the replacement V12 engine search aside for a while and just see if you can get the car roadworthy with the V8. Assuming rust is not causing a safety issue, that usually means going through the brakes and the fuel system. And new tires. If you can get it to the point where you can take it for short drives, that may either spark your enthusiasm or cause you to go another route.

If you buy a V12 and have looked at pictures of a S3 V12 engine compartment, you can see there is a lot of “stuff” on the top of that engine. Those small items can add up to big additional costs so you should be patient and wait for a complete engine with all the ancilliaries. It will take time.

You can buy a used Ftype for about 1/2 the money you are going to invest in your 2+2. Just sayin’.

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Maybe a cheap boat. …


What is the general consensus on converting this 2+2 over to a convertible? Would that increase the value of the car enough to make it worth it? Any ideas on what the cost of a convertible conversion would be?

Interesting question. My gut reaction was/is not worth it. That said, the Hagerty evaluation for your car, in #2 condition, shows the value doubling as a convertable. I’m a little surprised. Most of us take Hagerty evaluations with a grain of salt but they can be useful in a general sense.

My opinion of which characteristics in an Etype that bring the best sales price are: very early cars (say the first 500) with flat floors and outside latches. Truely unmolested original cars. High quality restorations for any series 1, 2, or 3. Authenticity with respect to how it left the factory. And in some cases provenance, like if a movie star once owned it. There will be no hiding the fact that your car started life as a coupe and the original engine is long gone. If I were to just go by chatter from what I read in the Jaguar world, no one is doing these conversions anymore. And if any question you ask is based on paying someone else to do the work, see my above comment about being way underwater.