Is this the ultimate Jaguar E-Type? | Top Gear
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Monday 25th September

Is this the ultimate Jaguar E-Type?

Published: 12 Aug 2014

Way back in the 1960s, when Cool Britannia ruled the waves and car design was at its peak, Jaguar allocated 18 chassis numbers to a series of all-alloy, race-inspired lightweight E-Types.

Only, for reasons undisclosed, Jag never got round to building all 18, with just 12 being completed. Now, in 2014, we get the final six cars from 1964. People of the Internet, meet the new, old Jaguar Lightweight E-Type, courtesy of JLR's newly formed Special Ops division.

It's a beauty of a time traveller, you'll agree. Each Lightweight E-Type will be built to the original '64 spec, and sold as period competition vehicles suitable for historic motorsport. You know the sort.

At its core sits an aluminium bodyshell that saves a healthy 114kg from the production, steel-bodied E-Type. No advanced bonding techniques nor newer materials were incorporated into the new, old E-Type either, to keep it old-school and proper.

The car was mapped out digitally, but that's it. Then enters the all important 3.8-litre straight-six engine developed from the old XK120, the same engine that powered the C and D Types to five Le Mans victories in the 1950s. For this Lightweight E-Type, Jaguar binned the cast-iron block and replaced it with an aluminium one for greater weight saving over the front wheels.

Then there's a whole lot of gorgeous period mechanics: a dry sump lubrication system, three Weber carbs (with the option of a Lucas mechanical fuel injection system), a lightweight flywheel, single plate clutch, limited slip diff, and a close-ratio four-speed gearbox. Drive is to the rear, naturally, and power sits at a heady 340bhp and 280lb ft of torque, which is a significant amount considering the whole thing weighs in at just 1,000kg.

Jaguar tells us the twin wishbone front and independent rear suspension are set up "according to period racing practice", with uprated shocks and springs all round. There are bigger brake discs up front sitting inside 15in magnesium alloy wheels (and Dunlop racing tyres), though there is no brake servo, so keep a check on your late-braking heroics. Though you might be too busy twirling your excellent moustache to care too much about entry and exit points.

It's all bolted together near where the original Lightweight E-Types were built back in the 1960s, and the prototype Lightweight - Car Zero - underwent a 15-day shakedown at Gaydon to make sure nothing fell apart. It's pretty much bare inside, barring the lovely Connolly leather produced to the same Sixties spec. Nice.

No word on price, but it won't be cheap. This, or Jeremy's favourite Eagle Speedster?

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