Following Jaguar’s five wins in the Le Mans 24 Hours with the C-type and D-type, the hugely well received E-type in 1961 had a lot to carry and as usual, road car production took priority over a return to motorsport.
Knowing that competition improves the breed, and with no racing programme to focus on, Jaguar’s usually pioneering competition department fell behind the competition – especially the new GT cars from Ferrari and Aston Martin.
Lacking the time and resources to build a brand new competition sports car from scratch, Jaguar hatched a plan to build an ultra lightweight E-type using aluminium panels and a modified lighter version of the XK engine with an aluminium block in place of the regular cast-iron block.
The Lightweight E-type’s design was partly inspired by an early one-off ‘Low-drag Coupé’ concept that had been created in 1962 by Jaguar’s pioneering aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer. It used aluminium panels to reduce weight, which was riveted and glued to the monocoque to improve chassis stiffness.
The aerodynamics were optimised, with a fast rake to the windscreen and an even more curvaceous form than the standard E-type at the rear, while the interior was stripped of all un-needed comfort features, and all glass – except the windscreen – was replaced with Plexiglas.
From picture – This is the one and only factory low-drag lightweight Jaguar E-Type and is a vehicle that should have been laid to rest a long time ago. In fact, the Jaguar was thought to be dead until Peter Neumark of Classic Motors Cars breathed new life into the last racing car ever built at Jaguar’sfactory.