In May 2014 Jaguar announced that it would recreate six new Lightweight E-Types, each built by Jaguar Heritage.
The new cars are the ‘missing’ six vehicles from the ‘Special GT E-type’ project, which originally started in February 1963 with the objective of building 18 lightweight racing E-types. Only 12 of the aluminium-bodied Lightweight E-types were eventually completed and the remaining six designated chassis numbers having lain dormant, until now.
The six new cars will carry those original, historic Lightweight E-type chassis numbers.
Each of the cars will be painstakingly built to the exact specification of the original Lightweight E-type produced in 1964 and hand-crafted at Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant in Coventry, the original home of the E-type.
So amazingly in 2014, the six ‘chosen’ customers will each receive the rarest of things – a brand new Lightweight E-type.
Jaguar E-Type Lightweight bodyshell
The core component of any Lightweight E-type is its aluminium bodyshell. In the quest to shed weight, this material replaced the steel of the production E-type. Saving some 250lb (114kg) were compared with the standard car.
Jaguar E-Type steering and suspension
The E-Type lightweight’s twin wishbone front suspension and independent wishbone rear suspension are set-up according to period racing methods. Uprated shock absorbers control the torsion bar springs at the front and four coil springs at the rear.
The brake discs are larger (12.25in) at the front, with the rear brakes standard E-type. As is common with racing cars there is no servo-assistance.
The 15in wheels are period-correct ‘perforated’ style and cast in magnesium alloy. Wearing Dunlop CR65 compound racing tyres, 6.00 section front, 6.50 section rear.
E-Type Lightweight Interior
A traditional wood-rim steering wheel connects to the same rack and pinion steering system fitted to standard E-types,
The cars are built in a form suitable for FIA homologation for historic motorsport purposes so, as you would expect, a roll-cage comes as standard.
Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Engine
The Lightweight E-type was powered by a highly developed version of Jaguar’s straight-six XK engine which powered C- and D-types racing cars to five Le Mans victories in the 1950s. Even though the engine was first seen in the XK120 in 1948, the engine was still advanced when the lightweight was released in 1963 .
The Lightweight E-type unit is closely related to the D-Type’s 3,868cc engine, using a similar big valve ‘wide angle’ cylinder head. In place of the D-type’s cast iron block, Jaguar crafted an aluminium block for the Lightweight E-type, substantially reducing the weight over the front wheels.
Today’s car is supplied with three 45DCO3 Weber carburettors, which were homologated by Jaguar for the Lightweight E-type. Owners can also specify Lucas mechanical fuel injection system as an option.
Whether fed by carburettors or fuel injection, the engine produces well over 300bhp, and torque in the region of 280lb ft at 4500 rpm.
Jaguar E-Type Lightweight gearbox
The power is transferred to the road via a lightweight, low inertia flywheel, single-plate clutch and a Jaguar close-ratio, manual four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox.
A variety of final drive ratios are available, all with the Powr-Lok limited-slip differential.
Jaguar E-Type Lightweight in motorsport
The Lightweight E-types were raced in the 1960s by drivers such as Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Roy Salvadori and Briggs Cunningham and achieved worldwide fame. Today the remaining Lightweights are regular front-runners in historic motor sport racing, despite the fact that original Lightweights are now sell for millions of pounds.