Back in the 1960s Jaguar planned to produce 18 units of a special car that had been majorly stripped back to make it lightweight, agile and quick. That car was named the “Lightweight E-Type” but out of the 18 planned production units only 12 were ever made.
After 50 years most people with their full sanity would not have predicted that production of this model would ever be resurrected. But that is what’s happened with the remaining 6 units to be put together by Jaguar UK in the near future.
The Lighweight E-Type was originally a GT racing car which was built for performance and speed. Not your usual drive to the countryside on a Sunday type of vehicle! With a surge in interest in classic motorsport perhaps now is the perfect time to resurrect this model and spike some interest once again.
There’s no messing about on this project, it is Jaguar’s first ever effort to resurrect a piece of history in this way and they’re set on doing it right. All 6 cars will be labelled with their original chassis numbers that were allocated to them back in 1963. It is details like this that help to show that this project isn’t a gimmicky re-run, it is the completion of an unfinished line of high quality racing cars.
The good news for enthusiasts of vintage racing/sports cars is that the new releases of the Lightweight E-Type will be hand built to the original specifications. Hard work, care and affection will be put into building each of these cars the old fashioned way by in-house craftsmen.
Out of the original 12 production units 11 of them are known to survive, however some have since been modified from the original build specification for increased performance. There are some famous owners amongst the remaining 11 models including Adrian Newey who is the technical director of Red Bull’s Formula One team. Clearly this is a car that is valued highly by the best of the best… The going price for one of these remaining 11 is just under £5 million (around $8.37 million) each, which raises the question of whether this new batch will have a negative effect on their value.
Specifications and facts
The Lightweight E-Type has a powerful 3.8 Litre engine inside it that outputs 300bhp, utilises a Lucas fuel injection system and has a 5 speed gear box. The Lucas fuel injection system was known for its high 105psi pressure but was prone to have overheating issues. Hopefully the new units have dealt with these problems and will allow for smoother operation in the 21st century.
If you combine this high specification racing engine with the reduced weight you get a recipe for something pretty special. The Lightweight E-type is 144kg lighter than the standard production model due to an aluminium alloy body, a stripped down interior and minimal internal components. Not exactly the flashiest dashboard to look at; but that’s not what this car is about!
In terms of design the E-Type follows on from the character set out in the Jaguar D-Type. This low-drag style was integral to Jaguar’s output in the 60s.
The Lightweight E-Types were entered into most major races but never came up with any silverware. There are reports of the cars doing better for individuals in private racing leagues but in terms of the big public racing calendar the car didn’t fare to well.
Jaguar has been pretty vague about the exact launch date of the vehicle in 2014. Most chatter speculates that it will be late summer around August, but it doesn’t really matter too much seen as how all units are going to be lined up with private buyers in advance.
Car sales will be “prioritised amongst those potential customers who express interest”; basically meaning they’re going to whoever Jaguar wants to sell them to. These cars will generate enough demand that more than 6 could be sold. Therefore Jaguar has the privilege of hand picking who these cars will go to. Most likely priority will go to well-known collectors who have been close to the company for years.
One big question that this release poses is will other manufacturers follow suit? If this move is a success for Jaguar, even if only as a PR/branding exercise others will surely mimic the process. Jaguar themselves have enough inventory of unfinished projects to keep repeating the move for years to come!
It will be interesting to see how the company goes about launching the new Lightweight E-Type models and if they name the lucky 6 owners. Keep your eyes peeled this summer for further updates.
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