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Unique Jaguar restored from scrap

Published May 9, 2011


This is the one and only factory low-drag lightweight Jaguar E-type ever built - the all-aluminium Lindner Nocker car which was comprehensively and completely destroyed in a 1964 crash at the Montlhery circuit that killed driver Peter Lindner.

The one-off racer was so badly damaged in the fatal crash that nobody thought it could ever be repaired - until Peter Neumark of Classic Motor Cars in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, took on the project in 2007. Now, four years and 7000 hours (yes, you read right, seven thousand hours) of labour later, the car has been restored to as-new condition, using more than 90 percent of the original components, after one of the most complex restorations yet undertaken anywhere in the world.

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More than 5000 hours went into restoring the body alone. The soft aluminium body panels were crumpled beyond recognition in the crash and Malcolm Sayer, who designed it, said flatly it couldn't be repaired. A second survey in the 1970's only confirmed the verdict.

So Neumark and his team didn't even try to straighten out the mangled wreck; instead, they painstakingly drilled out thousands of spot welds and rivets, and dismantled the monocoque chassis into its individual sheet-metal components.

Each separate panel was gently flattened out, repaired and reformed into its original shape - and then the monocoque was spot-welded and riveted together as if they were building a brand new car, exactly the same as when it was made in 1963.

Project leader Andrew Turvey says he couldn't have done it without the help of Lindner's family, who provided photographs and film footage of the car as it was just before the crash, and Peter Wilson, a technician at Jaguar's competition department who worked on the car at the time. But it is Turvey's dedication - and obsession with detail - that has ensured that every aspect of this amazing car is exactly as per the original specification.

The importance of the Lindner Nocker car cannot be overstated. It was one of only 12 lightweight E-Types built by Jaguar's competition department in 1963 and in 1964 it was returned to the factory at Browns Lane in Coventry to be prepared as Jaguar's unofficial entry for Le Mans that year.

Malcolm Sayer designed a special low-drag body and the engine was painstakingly modified; this was the most powerful Jaguar the competition department ever produced and it became the last racing car ever built at the factory.

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On hand to celebrate the completed restoration were Jaguar E-Type test driver Norman Dewis, Lindner's nephew Tomas Fritz and Patrick Lansard, the Frenchman who found the wrecked car in a garage in 1974 and who never gave up hope that, one day, it would be restored to its former glory.

The Lindner Nocker E-Type has now been invited to some of the most famous classic-car shows in Italy and the United States, with Peter Neumark's words echoing in the rumble of its exhaust: “They said it couldn't be done but we proved them wrong.”

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