It would appear that the Series 3 JBE came onto the market in 1978, but I suspect most were sold in 1980 and 1981, before the company ceased trading in 1982.
The Series 3 is the definitive JBE turntable and the one you are most likely to come across on eBay for sale. While the slate plinth only appeared on the Series 3 (previous examples all using an acrylic plinth) you could order a clear acrylic version. This would appear to be much rarer, and is effectively a 3001. I've not worked out how to identify an acrylic Series 3 from a 3001. I suspect there is no difference whatsoever, and only the date sticker on the motor will show when it was made.
Each Series 3 carries a JBE serial number sticker on the motor underneath, in addition to a Matsushita Motor date of manufacture stamp. The latter is a good indicator of when the turntable was made, as I have not yet got a clear reference for the serial number implications.
Series 3 turntables are pretty consistent in their design, with odd exceptions. The feet changed later in production, from a plastic construction to a metal version. The control box also changes slightly, some including a red LED light which also acts as the light to check the speed strobe mounted in the centre of the platter.
The plinth remains the same throughout, although a wider version was offered for the larger Dynavector 505 arm. Almost all plinths appear to be pre-cut for the SME arm, which is cut at an angle on the Series 3, where you'll find it inline with all other versions of the JBE featured on this site. The distinctive platter remained the same throughout Series 3 production.
For a more extensive collection of photos, head for the Series 3 gallery using the link button below.
My thanks to Michael Brighton for supplying an original brochure to scan.
To see more JBE Series 3 from pictures sent in by owners, click below.