The legendary 1960s all-aluminium Jaguar E-type Lightweight rides again. Jaguar has okayed production of 6 cars, to be hand-built in-house. These will be exact replicas, built to the specifications of the original as raced by Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Roy Salvadori and Briggs Cunningham.
Just 12 cars were made of the 18 originally agreed to in what were labelled “Special GT E-type Cars”. The last was built in 1964. The remaining six designated chassis numbers (like the rest, with the prefix “S”) have lain dormant. To right that historical shortcoming, the cars will be assigned the six remaining chassis numbers. Incidentally, all but one of the original production run are believed to have survived intact. They are said to feature prominently in historic motorsport.
The new cars will be built by the company’s top craftsmen. According to Jaguar, the first new Lightweight E-type will make its public debut in the northern hemisphere summer. As demand is expected to be high, the company is giving priority to “established Jaguar collectors”.
The E-Type has passed into legend as perhaps the vehicle, above all, that came to epitomise sports cars in the public mind. That reputation rested as much on its ageless style as its bracing performance. During a 14-year production lifetime – from 1961 to 1975 – a little more than 72 500 E-types were built.
The Lightweight was a typical homologation special version developed off a road-car base. It was homologated for GT competition by being designated a “standard” roadster E-type, fitted with a number of options, according to Jaguar. Those options, the company says, varied. The main modifications included all-aluminium monocoque and aluminium body panels, aluminium-block, wide-angle head, dry-sumped 3,8-litre XK engine with fuel injection and aluminium hardtop. It ditched extraneous trim and fittings, too. Interior trim was minimal, exterior chrome non-existent. It even used lightweight, hand-operated side windows. Thanks to all of this, it was able to achieve a massive 114 kg reduction in weight and improved on even the E-Type’s impressive performance.