Which would you buy 3.8 vs 4.2 Series I

If you could choose between two equally restored cars which would you buy?

1 Like

For what purpose? Year vs Year? Lots of reasons to pick each.

The 3.8 is more collectible, the 4.2 is more driver friendly.

Same price? Early 1961 OBL OTS…
Otherwise 3.8 revs more freely but has the non-syncro 1st Moss tranny. I’d say whichever you like better, they’re both excellent cars in their own ways.

I like to drive so I would favor the 4.2 for the gearbox, seats, etc.

A bigger choice (in my opinion) is FHC vs OTS - but perhaps you have already made that choice.

If you need a tie-breaker –

Get thorough pre-purchase inspections by a knowledgeable source - it is quite possible that two apparently gorgeous cars are not really equally restored.

PS - Welcome to the Jag-Lovers Forum!

1 Like

Welcome to the forum!

What Geo said. Find someone who really knows what he’s looking at to look at both of them.

I like old stuff, so I personally prefer the looks of the 3.8 interior, but mine’s still a work in progress so I haven’t gotten to experience the drawbacks of the seats or the Moss box yet.

My wife would get one of each, try them out, and then take back the one she doesn’t like… :smiley:


Early 1967 S1 with covered headlights. This is the car Jaguar refined to perfection before the U.S. safety and emission mandates forced automobile design away from engineers and into the hands of bureaucrats.

I’m not arguing the positives about lowering emissions and going for safer cars. I’m simply saying that the E-Type became a compromised design when the hindrances were added, and the car never continued to advance as originally intended from the factory.

Just my .02!

1 Like

I chose a 4.2 mainly for the “synchro” gear box and alternator. When shopping though I certainly did not rule out a 3.8 if I found one in the right condition at the right price. I ultimately settled on a '68 since it was a completely rust free, unmolested car at the right price. I think the twin fan cooling system on it is also a valuable advantage.

68 E-type FHC

You can do that??


my wife would get one of each to match different outfits the way she does with shoes

which is why I scoured the planet for an S1 (66 in this case)

1 Like

Welllllll… we could discuss the meaning of “perfection” till the cows came home!

However, where I to ever get an E Type again, I would get a '66 or '67 2+2 (left off the last bit!).

Neither. I’d buy a R.O.W. ‘68 Series 1.5 OTS :sunglasses:

I disagree the design of the car was compromised generally. The sole exterior difference (discounting the “easy-clean” wire wheels which are stronger and cleaner looking) is the open headlights and from an aesthetic standpoint it’s a saw-off. Love the glass covers. Don’t care for the leaky, heavy chrome finishers (and, when speaking of compromise, that was one chalked up to the Jaguar bean-counters that Malcolm Sayer could not have liked, if his much superior XK-SS headlamp design is an indication.). Several decades ago, test driving an S1 coupe with fogged up covers in the early November dark was what ultimately convinced me the S1.5 was my preference. Still, those glass covers are really pretty).

All a matter of taste, of course, but as far as S1 interiors are concerned I much prefer the 4.2’s seats, centre dash and console over the 3.8’s. I prefer the S1 toggle switches over the S1.5 rockers but the S1.5 recessed heater and choke levers are an aesthetic improvement ime, ostensible safety concerns regardless. I also prefer the S1.5 door cards, though don’t like that the arm rests were deleted for the 1968 MY. The cubby hole in the S1 dash looks unfinished to me, the locking glovebox door a cleaner presentation. More practical, too.

Other S1.5 interior improvements include the adjustable rake of the seat backs, especially on longer trips, though the leather perforations introduced with the S2 would have improved matters more from a comfort perspective (in that regard, there is no attraction to me of the early flat-floored cars with their straight-across rear bulkheads. Combined with their bucket seats they have to be the most uncomfortable E-types to drive, though I have only had the experience of sitting in one).

Say what you will about changes mandated for safety, but there’s no question the collapsible steering column introduced with the S1.5 was a good move. The S1.5 vent controls not so much. They’re so poor they’re laughable. Already mentioned, engine-wise the S1 cooling system is not as good as what followed, and R.O.W. S1.5s retained the triple SUs.

All that said, I would really like to have a ‘65-‘67 FHC parked between my ‘68 OTS and ‘54 120, but I don’t have the room. If I had a four car garage I’d add an S2 of either of the 3 body types because, in many ways, they are the best E-types of all.

All imnsho, of course :sunglasses:


Brilliant assessment. You very rightly mention the collapsible steering column. Life saving
69 OTS

One of each? :wink:


Clearly depends what you are looking for. If your priority is looks, all S1’s look about the same. If your priority is rare, go very early. If your priority is driving, the later the better. Nick mentioned a bunch of stuff I agree with. I would go a step further, the S2 is the most refined of the 6 cylinders. The car was simply improved over the years.
IMO, since you mentioned you want an S1 and did not include S1.25 and up, it sounds to me your priority is looks. If so, I still would suggest the later the better. But keep in mind, when you are shopping, condition (ie. lack of rust.) is most important. I suggest you continue to do more research and learn about these cars.

For me ( being fair skinned and living in Oz ) I’ve always hankered after and now have s1 FHC…. In my opinion the prettiest of e types …… and the roof doesn’t leak

1 Like

…a 3.8 with a synchro gearbox retrofit and AC…


Thanks so much all for the incredible insights. I am an open top kind of guy so definitely OTS and since the priority is being able to drive it and liking the Series 1 looks 1965-7 sounds like the ticket for me.