Automotive

Jaguar to unveil continuation Lightweight E-Type prototype at Pebble Beach

The continuation Lightweight E-Type will complete the production run suspended half a century ago
The continuation Lightweight E-Type will complete the production run suspended half a century ago
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The Lightweight E-Type uses the classic XK engine
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The Lightweight E-Type uses the classic XK engine
Each Lightweight E-Type gets one of the unused chassis numbers from the original run
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Each Lightweight E-Type gets one of the unused chassis numbers from the original run
Lightweight E-Type engine undergoing test run
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Lightweight E-Type engine undergoing test run
The Lightweight E-Type uses an aluminum engine block
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The Lightweight E-Type uses an aluminum engine block
The Lightweight E-Type pumps 340 bhp (253.5kW)
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The Lightweight E-Type pumps 340 bhp (253.5kW)
The Lightweight E-Type was painted according to original specs
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The Lightweight E-Type was painted according to original specs
Plans of the Lightweight E-Type
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Plans of the Lightweight E-Type
The Lightweight E-Type with the bonnet up
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The Lightweight E-Type with the bonnet up
The Lightweight E-Type was built using original methods and materials
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The Lightweight E-Type was built using original methods and materials
The Lightweight E-Type uses an aluminum unibody
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The Lightweight E-Type uses an aluminum unibody
The Lightweight E-Type has a limited run of six
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The Lightweight E-Type has a limited run of six
The Lightweight E-Type cockpit
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The Lightweight E-Type cockpit
The Lightweight E-Type used digital scans to ensure accuracy of the reproduction
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The Lightweight E-Type used digital scans to ensure accuracy of the reproduction
The Lightweight E-Type Car Zero Prototype
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The Lightweight E-Type Car Zero Prototype
The Lightweight E-Type grille
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The Lightweight E-Type grille
The Lightweight E-Type rear detail
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The Lightweight E-Type rear detail
The Lightweight E-Type construction detail
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The Lightweight E-Type construction detail
The reproduction combined traditional methods with digital measurements
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The reproduction combined traditional methods with digital measurements
Car Zero was used for track tests
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Car Zero was used for track tests
Car Zero on the track
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Car Zero on the track
The Lightweight E-Type in track livery and bonnet open
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The Lightweight E-Type in track livery and bonnet open
The Lightweight E-Type in track livery
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The Lightweight E-Type in track livery
The Lightweight E-Type can be used in vintage car racing
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The Lightweight E-Type can be used in vintage car racing
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The continuation Lightweight E-Type will complete the production run suspended half a century ago
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The continuation Lightweight E-Type will complete the production run suspended half a century ago
The Lightweight E-Type includes the traditional wooden steering wheel
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The Lightweight E-Type includes the traditional wooden steering wheel
Lightweight E-Type engine detail
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Lightweight E-Type engine detail
The Lightweight E-Type's petrol cap
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The Lightweight E-Type's petrol cap
The Lightweight E-Type bonnet tie-down
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The Lightweight E-Type bonnet tie-down
The Lightweight E-Type makes its début at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
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The Lightweight E-Type makes its début at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
The Lightweight E-Type is hand built
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The Lightweight E-Type is hand built
The Lightweight E-Type interior
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The Lightweight E-Type interior
The Lightweight E-Type instruments
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The Lightweight E-Type instruments
The Lightweight E-Type is made by Jaguar Heritage
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The Lightweight E-Type is made by Jaguar Heritage
The Lightweight E-Type on track tests
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The Lightweight E-Type on track tests
The Lightweight E-Type completes the original run of 18 begun fifty years ago
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The Lightweight E-Type completes the original run of 18 begun fifty years ago
The Lightweight E-Type used digital scans in its construction
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The Lightweight E-Type used digital scans in its construction
The Lightweight E-Type has a removable hard top
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The Lightweight E-Type has a removable hard top
The Lightweight E-Type has a four-speed gearbox
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The Lightweight E-Type has a four-speed gearbox

In May, Jaguar announced that it was making up for lost time by building the remaining six of the 18 Lightweight or Special GT E-Types that were originally planned in 1963. That turns out to be more than just talk, because the newly-completed prototype Car Zero of the new run is having its public début at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.

Built in 1963 as a limited edition by the Jaguar competition department, the Lightweight E-Type was a stripped-down version of the legendary E-Type aimed at the racing crowd. Though 18 were scheduled, only 12 were built before production stopped and only 11 are believed to still be in existence. In the spirit of better late than never, Jaguar will assign the six chassis numbers reserved in 1963 for a half dozen cars to be built with the same specifications, materials, and methods used half a century ago.

As a first step, prototype Car Zero will première on August 14 at the opening reception of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The vehicle was hand built by Jaguar Heritage, a part of Jaguar Special Operations, at its new facility at Browns Lane, England, where the original E-Types were made. The replica production vehicles that follow it will be sold as period competition vehicles and will conform to FIA homologation for historic motorsport purposes.

The Lightweight E-Type uses an aluminum unibody
The Lightweight E-Type uses an aluminum unibody

The recreation of the continuation Lightweight E-Type was completed with the help of the Jaguar Design team, which helped with the original plans. Jaguar chose to ignore the last half century of technical innovation in favor of remaining true to the original design, such as using the original 1963 grade of aluminum instead of its modern counterpart.

Jaguar says that even though many modern improvements would not have been noticeable, the decision was made to use 1960s materials and methods even for invisible places like internal frames. In part, this was because such improvements would have violated FIA homologation.

The team scanned the inner and outer surfaces of a surviving Lightweight E-Type body shell to create a visual map. This will provide a benchmark against which to judge how accurate the recreated continuation E-Types are, as well as making sure that the car is properly symmetrical and that all the individual parts will fit together properly. This is particularly important because each of the six hand-built production cars will have their own individual variations.

The Lightweight E-Type pumps 340 bhp (253.5kW)
The Lightweight E-Type pumps 340 bhp (253.5kW)

The team also tested the design, material, and construction techniques on the Car Zero prototype, which was also used for test runs. However, the prototype is not one of the six to be sold. Instead, it will become part of the permanent collection of the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust.

Like the original Lightweight E-Type, the reproductions will sport an aluminum unibody with a stiffened front sub-frame designed for race engines above 300 bhp, and weighs 250 lbs (114 kg) less than the production version E-type of 1963. In fact, aluminum is used wherever possible to save weight, including the doors, boot lid, bonnet, hardtop, chassis, and engine block.

Also like the original, the engine is a classic six-cylinder wide-angle cylinder head, 4-liter XK with dry sump lubrication, lightweight low-inertia flywheel, and chain-driven dual overhead camshafts introduced in 1948 in the Jaguar XK 120. It punches 340 bhp (253.5 kW) and 280 lb ft (380 Nm) of torque into the 4-speed fully synchronized close-ratio gearbox with a single dry-plate clutch. If it does as well as the original, the new E-Type could do 170 mph (274 km/h) on the track.

The Lightweight E-Type has a removable hard top
The Lightweight E-Type has a removable hard top

Up front, there’s the double wishbone suspension with LWE torsion bars and upgraded anti-roll bar, while in the back is the independent rear suspension with standard E-type rear springs and uprated shock absorber assemblies.

Since this is a repro Lightweight E-Type, the interior is simple with Car Zero’s left largely unpainted to show off the aluminum bodywork. To make up for it, there’s Connolly leather supplied by Jonathan Connolly that uses hides of 1963 specification and carefully selected and treated to match the original trim. And, of course, there's the traditional wood-rimmed steering wheel.

"Special Operations’ remit is to indulge our most discerning and enthusiastic customers’ passion for our cars – including those from our past," says John Edwards, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations. "This is why our Jaguar Heritage division exists, and why the new Lightweight E-Type is such an incredibly exciting project. The E-Type is an iconic car, and the Lightweight E-Type the most desirable of all. To be able to complete the intended production run of 18, some 50 years after the last Lightweight was completed, was an opportunity we couldn't miss."

Source: Jaguar

7 comments
owlbeyou
More than fifty years later and this machine still looks modern. It was and is one of the few automotive designs to come from the Brits that actually went head to head with the Italians. The aluminum body and fat tires make it even more gorgeous!
Stephen N Russell
2 bad limited production, radical shape then & now
Kim Patrick
Wow, if I was a billionaire, I would have an XKE in my stable! Fantastic motorcar!
warren52nz
I wonder if they will be as unreliable as the originals...
Don Duncan
I needed to see two stats up front to decide if this article was worth reading: curb weight & drag co-efficient. I scanned and found neither. Too bad, because I was really curious to see if this design could still compete after a half century.
StWils
Do Please finish the remaining six. Then promptly design AND build a thoroughly modernized E-Type without changing a single line. Modern materials should shave some more weight and a modern power train should provide for more years of driving one of the coolest cars that ever hit the road. Include a tape of route '66, the E-Type looks better than a 'Vette any day.
max2tall
There's a compelling juxtaposition about a carbon fibre bodied tesla type version of the e-type :)
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