Yet Another Difficult Choice

One of my favorite games is one I’ve played before on this blog:  someone offers you a choice between three cars (in mint-original, fully-restored and/or modernized condition, whichever you prefer), which one would you pick?  The rules are:  you can’t ever sell it, so the car’s current market value is irrelevant; and it’s a driver.

For today’s fun, we’re going to feature three ragtop beauties from the mid-1960s (and I’ve tried to match the color so that it doesn’t affect your decision):

1967 Ferrari 275 GT Spider (3.3-liter V-12, 300 hp)

1965 Jaguar E-type Roadster (4.2-liter straight 6*, 265 hp)

1967 Maserati Ghibli Spider (4.7-liter V8, 306 hp)

Go ahead, make your pick in Comments — but show your work.

*Duly corrected, sorry.



  1. It is the Jaguar since I have wanted one since I first saw it in the 60s. I should have bought one back in the day, when they were affordable (not really, I didn’t have the dough then, either or a place to put it). I think it is the loveliest car ever made. Who cares about reliability or maintenance ?

  2. I’m still working on my first cup of coffee so I may be a bit confused but I thought that the early E Type Jags had inline 6 cylinder engines with side draft SU carbs. I believe that the later cars had V-12s.

    Back about 1962 or 63 Monogram models (we old Motor heads remember them from our junior high school days) did a beautiful 1/8 scale E type coupe and I think convertible. That model was fairly pricey, probably on the order of $20, and it became a standard Christmas or birthday present for anybody who was into cars back in those days. Lots cooler than the “Visible V8” which was just a 283 Chevy.

    So this kid fell in love with those curves. I didn’t know what the word voluptuous meant, but there it was in sheet metal. Yeah, I know all about SU carbs, Lucas electrics, Girling hydraulics, leaky tops and rust – but those curves.

  3. It could only ever be the Jag. Fully restored and modernised. Simply gorgeous and actually designed to cope with wet weather.

  4. The Jag in modernized condition (given that it’s only two years younger than I am). As a child I had SO many toy Jags, ranging from Matchbox car sized to a big one (to me, it probably wasn’t more than two feet long) that ran on a wired remote control. Even as a boy I loved the look.

  5. I’m in agreement with the above wise commenters. The Jag is an easy choice. Not just because I am an owner of a classic Jag, a ’54 XK 120M that has been in my garage for over 25 years. Jags when properly maintained are reliable, their electrical system works properly (with an AC Delco alternator and Pertronix ignition system of course) they only leak a little bit and their brake systems work properly. Please note the above disclaimer of “when maintained properly” When it comes down to flat out beauty, Enzo himself opined that the E type was the most beautiful car he had ever seen.

  6. The E-type, definitely, for the body alone. It’s simply one of the most gorgeous cars ever designed. I know a modern Honda Accord can out-perform it in almost every respect, but I wouldn’t be able to just sit and look at an Accord whenever I needed a reminder that beauty exists in the world.

  7. 275. In a heartbeat. The looks, the experience of driving the thing, the sound of that wonderful engine– no question.

    I’ve never liked the E beyond an appreciation of the styling, and to one degree or other the engine as an engineering achievement. But as a car you’d actually want to drive with any frequency? It’s on the same page as an Aston DB5: Terrible.

    Also, speaking of the E– “4.2-liter V8, 265 hp”? It’s an inline-6. [fixed — K] The series 3 had a V12, but that didn’t happen until ’71.

    The Ghibli is… well, handsome, and very quick for the day. But the Ferrari is beautiful, and while not a 250 SWB, close enough to one.

    1. While I love both the E-type and the Ghibli, I’m with you on the 275.
      Except that the clutch has a MTBF measured in weeks… ask Old Man Lamborghini…

      1. The 250-series clutches aren’t really that bad, they’re just unforgiving to excessive slipping while hot. They were still race cars with license plates in that era. Fortunately modern kevlar linings exist these days, so if someone dropped one in my lap, it’d have 50k miles on it inside of two years.

  8. I too as most of your respondents go with the E-Type. For the definitive resto-mod look up the Eagle E-Type Speedster.

  9. I’m going with the 275 GT. Nothing beats the sound of those early V-12s. and as for reliability, it’s a toss up between Italian mechanicals and British electricals as to which is the least reliable of that era.

    I know of one XKE with a V-8 , Called a “Jabra” it showed up at one of our Autocrosses in ~1969. Someone swapped the inline 6 for a 289 complete with the 4 Webber dual throat Carbs sticking thru the hood. A marvelous beast that made lots of tire smoke but was not particularly fast in the autocross. That big long hood make precise car placement needed for fast autocross times very difficult.

    But given my choice of red cars from that era I’m going with this one

  10. The XK-E of course, those cars were delightful to drive, I had a 69 and it did have a 4.2 inline six that held a lot of oil, I don’t remember exactly how much and it did burn a bit. I would be a lot of fun to have that car now but the engine would have to be modified or lots of additive would be required to keep it from knocking with the octane levels available today.

    1. 12 quarts – at least the earlier one(XK-120/140) did. I helped a guy change it once in his 140…

  11. Gotta go with the Mas and there’s 306 reasons why, not to mention I like the look.
    I have to admit, I have always been attracted to those curvy jags, don’t know why. Maybe cause nothing else looks like that?

    Worked with a guy in concrete construction in the early 70’s that had a jag, all white candyapple undercoat with a custom paint job that looked like someone loosely draped a british flag over the whole thing, complete with shading, etc. Very nice.

  12. E-type. The E-Jags were not only fast, but they handled and rode well at speed…they were known as a car that you could drive 120 mph without sweating. My father owned one, he claimed it rode better at 120 than it did at 60…and he had a habit of cleaning the carbs every so often. On the Washington Beltway, at 0600 Sunday morning. In the late ’60s, you could do that.

    Although that Maserati looks pretty nice, too.

  13. +1 on the 275.
    Obviously, for this game, servicing and maintenance costs don’t count.
    Agree the E type is a visual work of art. For me, it would have to be a s1, 4.2 coupe, as much as I lust after the convertible.
    Personally, I’d take this over the Ghibli

    I’ve owned a number of jags over the years but have never had the money to buy a really good one, so all my experiences with them are tinged with frustration and disappointment.

    1. Yeah, but that’s a late-50s / early 60s Mazza, ergo outside the discussion.

  14. As someone who always lusted for an “E” (but a Coupe), and a long-term (now over) owner of a Ferrari 330 GTC, and who worked on Maserati’s, I can truthfully say I’d take the Jag. As “velocette” mentioned, the key to dependable Jag enjoyment is observing the Maintenance Schedule – they’re like a fine thoroughbred: You can ride ’em hard, but you never want to put them away wet.
    Now, the 4-cam’er is a fine car, but that clutch business is just the result of the engine having absolutely NO TORQUE, something the 330 corrected, and drivers slipping it too damn much.

  15. erm… well here is my utterly biased choice based on the following facts.
    Have owned the Fiat 124 spider (poor mans Ferrari), fun car, lousy Magneti Marelli electrics (marginally better than Lucas), rusted as driven down the road. Put more into maintenance than the purchase price several times over.

    Have owned a 64 E type FHC, 7 year restoration, was an affordable car in the early 1980’s, fun to drive, cramped for tall people (admittedly the top down would cure that until the first rain after which I would need a chiropractor).

    Almost bought an 80 something Maserati Biturbo, but shied away after looking at spare parts prices to keep it going. Can’t fault the ride quality, it was great fun on the test drive.

    Given the above, has to be the Jaguar and only on sunny days (seeing I still have all the special tools for it) 😉

    1. A while back I found my old Uni-Syn in the bottom of my roll around toolbox. I used it on a Triumph Spitfire many moons ago. My adult son asked “What’s that?” I replied that it was used to set up multiple carburetor s. His next question was “What’s a carburetor?” I gave him the answer I learned from my dad “Carburetor is a French word that means leave it alone.”

  16. Jag all day. I used to drive one on occasion back in the day and the silky smooth torque from that inline 6 was glorious. And then you park it and walk away, turning back to take in the lines. Fantastic, just fantastic!

  17. As a heretic I would have to go with the ’65 Alfa Guilietta(?) 1750 Sprint Speci-al that I owned for a short time. It was a short time because the painter who was going to repaint it called me and told me that the fast-back body was all-aluminum and it would cost ~$2300 to strip it instead of the $600 he had estimated.
    Boy do I wish I had that one now. Never seen another one.

    1. That’s a Giulia — and I love them, especially the 1600cc GT Junior — but they’re not in the same class as any of the three listed.

  18. I owned a 1967 XKE. That cured me of ever wanting another Brit product.

    Natch, I followed it with a 1989 XJS. That also cured the Brit hunger.

    My forever keeper was a 1953 Austin Healy 100-4. I immediately swapped-in a Chevy V-8. Those were dangerous days. But it was Neon Canary Yellow, so that doesn’t count on your list.

  19. The Mas for me. I wouldn’t feel ill used with any of the three but the Mas calls me, she calls me, I say…

  20. Does it matter?
    If you can afford to buy you can afford to maintain.

    BTW, why do Brits drink warm beer?
    Refrigeration by Lucas.

  21. I have always wanted a Jag. but any would do. I like fast cars, even though the stable is a little thin right now.

  22. Well, if it was beautiful enough for Enzo, then it is good enough for me…that being the E-type Jag-oo-ar….but I’ll take one with the Eagle E-type touch, Beauty AND improved performance/reliability.

    Now, IF you have put a Lambo Miura in the mix….

  23. Can’t show working, ‘cos I don’t understand the question.

    The Jag.

    Been my favourite car since kindergarten. Those other things … dismissible substitutes at best, I’m sorry to say!

    P.S. British racing green, I think, not red, but I’d not turn down a red one.

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