Whitley, Coventry - Jaguar is to build six exact reproductions of the original, race-bred Lightweight E-Type that was created in 1963.
The new cars are the 'missing' six vehicles from Jaguar's Lightweight E-type project, which originally started in February 1963 with the objective of building 18 'Special GT E-Type Cars', specifically intended to race against the all-conquering Ferrari 250 GTO in World championship GT-class endurance races, driven by top drivers such as Graham Hill, Roy Salvadori and American Briggs Cunningham.
The Lightweight E-Type had an all-aluminium roadster body made from NS4-grade sheet metal, pressed on the same tooling as the standard steel bodies in the Browns Lane body shop and hand-assembled in the competition department.
Each had a special 3.8-litre straight-six XK engine with an aluminium block instead of the standard cast iron, a dry-sump conversion, a special wide-angle cylinder head and six Lucas fuel-injection throttle bodies in place of the standard three SU carburettors.
TRIM - WHAT TRIM?
The first few had standard production four-speed Moss gearboxes, later cars got five-speed ZF racing boxes. Most of the exterior and all the interior trim was simply omitted, and light-weight hand-operated side windows were used instead of the standard wind-up fittings.
Each car came with an aluminium detachable hard-top, rather than the standard fibreglass top supplied for road cars - not because it was lighter (which it was) but because it lent useful extra rigidity to the roadster body.
A Lightweight E-Type weighed about 114kg less than a standard E-type, while the fuel-injected 3.8-litre engine was good for about 230kW, compared to the roughly 200kW of the standard car.
In the end, the Jaguar competition department only built 12 aluminium-bodied E-types (the last one was finished in 1964), of which 11 are believed still to exist, and the six remaining 'reserved' chassis numbers were never used.
The new cars will be hand-built in-house by the company’s finest craftsmen, in Jaguar’s first ‘re-creation’ project. Each will be constructed to the exact specifications of the original 1960s cars - including the 3.8-litre straight-six engine.
Jaguar expects a lot of interest in the six Lightweight E-Types, and says that preference will be given to established Jaguar collectors, especially those involved in historic racing.
Nothing so crass as price is mentioned; rest assured, it will be astronomical.