BACK IN May, Jaguar announced it was to build the so-called “missing six” Lightweight E-types from a 1963 project called ‘Special GT E-type’. The objective was to create 18 faster versions of the legendary sports car which would help Jaguar beat rivals on the race track.
Jaguar never finished production of all Special GT E-Type models, as not enough were bought by race teams of the day. Out of the designated 18 chassis numbers only 12 cars were built. Fifty one years later, Jaguar has announced it will complete the project by building the six missing GTs as “new” vehicles, featuring the original chassis numbers. These are the first pictures and details of the Lightweight E-types, together with a video of an initial prototype vehicle, known as “Car Zero”.
Jaguar Heritage, an off-shoot recently established at the same time as the Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations division, was able to recruit staff from the ranks of engineers and craftsmen within the company. The group is working out of a new facility at Browns Lane, the location of the original Special GT E-type project, and, although modern scanning and computer aided design technology has been used to aid in the accuracy of the build, period construction methods were employed so that every join, weld and rivet in the aluminium monocoque is – says Jaguar – true to the original specification.
Under the skin, a full roll-cage is fitted as standard and the cars will feature uprated shock absorbers, larger front brakes and front and rear suspension set-up according to current period racing practices; the missing six are to be built to FIA historic motorsport regulations, making them ready to race should owners wish their car to enter competition (as was originally intended). The traditional wood-rim steering wheel, rack and pinion steering and rear brakes are standard E-type components.
The engine used in the Lightweight E-type is a tuned version of the straight six XK engine that dates back to 1948 and was used in the C- and D-types that powered Jaguar to five Le Mans victories in the 1950s. The 3.8-litre unit is the same specification as the engine that won Le Mans in 1957, in fact, with power claimed to be “well over 300bhp” and torque in the region of 280lb ft at 4,500rpm.
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar said: “With the Lightweight E-type, our focus as a design team has been to ensure justice was done to the original work of Sir William Lyons and Malcolm Sayer. Meticulous attention to detail has been everything to us in re-creating this car, just as it is in our contemporary Jaguars. I believe the result is a new Lightweight E-type that is as stunning now as the originals would have been when they were new.”
If you fancy approaching Jaguar to purchase one of the missing six, be aware that each of the owners will be hand-picked, and there will be some stiff competition. If you’re an owner of one of the other 12, you’re no doubt very excited that the project is getting so much attention.
Car Zero will be on display at the Pebble Beach Automotive classic car event from Thursday.