LS Swap in 1969 E-Type: Saved or Ruined?
Does adding gobs of horsepower ruin an E-Type? It certainly changes the car a bit.
We surely will find Jaguar Forum members divided on this one: a ‘69 Jaguar E-Type with a Chevrolet LS3 V8. The phrase “LS Everything” has truly come to roost in this timeless British classic. Get a load of this E-Type headed across the block at November’s Mecum Las Vegas auction.
For all the lovely restoration on this car’s bodywork and the interior, the American V8 swap just feels so…wrong. The muscle-car style shifter sticks out like a finger smashed by a nine-pound hammer.
Sure, you can find plenty of Jaguar XJ6s and XJ-Ss with Small-Block Chevy swaps. But the sheer beauty of an XKE extends under the bonnet to the twin-cam engine. And for all the LS engine’s high points — like availability and affordability — aesthetics really don’t rank.
If any saving grace exists, we suspect it derives from this being a Series 2 E-Type. Nobody harmed a priceless first-gen classic in the making of this, although we’d have preferred it be a third-gen XKE.
If you can get past the blasphemy, you’ll have one monster of a Jag on your hands. The car’s original 4.2-liter engine probably made about 220 gross horsepower in its day. The C6 Corvette’s LS3, a 6.2-liter pushrod V8, makes 430 ponies. That should make the curvy old Brit one potent big cat.
Aside from the big shifter for the 4L80E automatic transmission, everything inside looks tasteful enough. There’s plenty to like about creature comforts in a berserker swap like this. We’re not 100 percent sure about the aftermarket retro nautical-style gauges. However, if you’re willing to roll with that shifter and 430 horsepower, you probably can get past any disjointed design.
So what does the Jaguar world think of this? Is this one more Series 2 saved from scrap or has a classic been utterly ruined?