Jaguar to handbuild new £1m E-type Lightweights (2014) first pictures

Published: 14 May 2014 Updated: 26 January 2015

Jaguar’s E-type is coming back from the dead, in ultra-rare ‘Lightweight’ form. A special team of craftsmen will handbuild six cars, all picture-perfect reproductions of the legendary Lightweight E-types from 1963-64. The ‘new’ cars are expected to sell for around £1 million each; established Jaguar collectors with a thirst for racing and a desire for a wondrous slice of motoring memorabilia get your name down now.

What made a Jaguar E-type a Lightweight?

In 1963, Jaguar planned to produce 18 racers for competition use, and set aside sufficient chassis numbers with a special ‘S’ prefix. However, only 12 were finished by 1964, which is why Jaguar can now complete the run with a measure of authenticity, and demand such a stratospheric price.

The Lightweight E-types were shorn of around 114kg, thanks to extensive use of aluminium. The monocoque and body panels were aluminium, as was the 3.8-litre straight-six’s engine block. With a wide-angle cylinder head and Lucas fuel injection, power climbed to around 300bhp from the regular E-type’s 265bhp. The four-speed manual gearbox was often upgraded to a five-speeder too. The donor roadsters were also equipped with a lightweight aluminium hardtop, while reduced interior trim and hand-operated windows also pared back mass.

These Lightweights were homologated for GT racing, and sold to privateers. They were piloted by such luminaries as Graham Hill, Roy Salvadori, Jackie Stewart and Briggs Cunningham.

Why is Jaguar building these E-type Lightweights now?

Jaguar is clearly responding to the bespoke E-types handbuilt by Eagle in Sussex. Its Low Drag GT, driven by CAR in the May 2014 issue, costs £700,000. Eagle takes a dilapidated E-type chassis, adds a 4.7-litre engine and upgraded running gear, and replaces the body with bespoke aluminium echoing the design of Jag’s prototype racer that preceded the E-type. The whole process takes an extraordinary 7000 hours. 

>> Scroll down to see CAR’s video review of the stunning Eagle Low Drag GT



By Phil McNamara

Group editor, CAR magazine