Jaguar has revealed the new Lightweight E-type – a run of six cars that will complete the 18-car ‘Special GT E-type’ project started back in 1963.
The first recreation to come from Jaguar Heritage, the six cars are being launched by the Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations department, and each will be built at a new Jaguar Heritage facility at Browns Lane.
As with the original cars, the ‘new’ Lightweight E-types have an aluminium bodyshell and an aluminium six-cylinder XK engine that produces 340hp. This engine mirrors the original which dates back to 1948 and won the Le Mans 24 Hour race five times in the 1950s. The engine is derived from the D-type unit but with a weight-reducing aluminium block instead of cast iron.
The production cars are fitted with three Weber 45DC03 carburetors – but Jaguar will offer a Lucas mechanical fuel injection system as a no-cost option. The four-speed gearbox also has a variety of final drives.
Suspension is largely period and the bodyshell itself is also constructed using period methods (partly to ensure FIA homologation for historic racing). Jaguar’s instead used digital scanning techniques to assess the bodyshell’s 230 individual components (a remarkable number) to both optimise their shapes and perfect their assembly.
75% of the panels are made in-house at Jaguar’s Whitley HQ.
How has Jaguar designed the Lightweight E-type?
Jaguar legends Sir William Lyons and Malcolm Sayer created the original E-type and Jaguar design director Ian Callum said his intention was to create a car “that is as stunning now as the originals would have been when they were new”.
It’s thus a genuine ‘period’ E-type, simply one perfected and polished.
Although the interior is, like the original, intentionally paired back, Jaguar’s even used the original spec of Connolly leather (which it offers in seven colours). Customers can, however, choose a more fully-trimmed interior if they wish.
As for exterior colours, Jaguar recommends six:
- Carmine red
- Opalescent grey metallic
- Silver metallic
- Opalescent blue metallic
- British racing green
- Old English white
However, as it’s a personal-spec car, Jaguar offers the persona services of Callum himself to discuss options. That’s how special this car is.
How is the Jaguar Lightweight E-type built?
The Lightweight E-types will start life at Jaguar Whitley. There, the monocoque bodyshell is built up and mated to the tubular engine subframe.
This structure is then moved to Gaydon for painting, and then on to Jaguar Heritage at Brown’s Lane for final assembly – that’s build-up of powertrain, suspension, brakes, steering, electric items, instrument panel and other interior fittings.
Adding even more authenticity, Jaguar has even recruited in-house engineers with family connections to the original E-type involved in working on the car. “The expertise and attention brought to bear on this recreation project is staggering,” says Jaguar, “with the full resources of Jaguar being applied to ensure that the six new Lightweights will not only be authentic, but will also be built to the highest quality standards”.
Jaguar carries out this final assembly as close as possible to the area where the original 1963/64 Lightweight E-types were built.
Is this car one of the six recreated Lightweight E-types?
The car pictured here will give the Lightweight E-Type its world debut at Pebble Beach on 14 August. It is, however, not one of the six recreations built for customers and will not carry a period-series chassis number.
It is instead an engineering prototype, called Car Zero, that’s been used to test build and assembly processes. It’s also been put through a 15-day shakedown at the JLR Gaydon test facility, led by Jaguar’s chief engineer for vehicle integrity Mike Cross. It’s even had its own ‘design verification plan’, just like that given to all new cars.
“In our contemporary Jaguar sports cars our aim is always to achieve an immediacy of response to all driver inputs – and the goal with Lightweight E-type was the same.
“For me, its response to steering, brake and throttle inputs – along with the terrific noise it creates – is what makes it such an engaging machine from the driver’s seat.”
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