In 1964, production of a special line of all-aluminum Jaguar Lightweight E-Type coupes was halted, with just 12 of the planned 18 E-types being completed. 50 years later, the combined Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicles Operation worked to finish what engineers had started in another era, building the final half-dozen Lightweight E-types to their original 1960s specifications.
Even by today’s standards though, the newly-built-from-an-old-design Lightweight E-types still boast some highly advanced features. At its core was an aluminum monocoque body that shed some 250 pounds versus the standard steel body, along with an aluminum hood, trunk lid, hardtop, and doors. Jaguar engineers used digital scanning technology to reproduce the body panels faithfully, even able to see panels hidden within the car itself.
For power, a straight-six cylinder XK engine using all sorts of race-spec equipment will be fitted under the hood, just like in the original. That also means an aluminum-block instead of steel, and with the big valve wide-angle hemispherical cylinder head on top, the straight-six produced in the range of 300 horsepower and 280 ft-lbs of torque, sent to the rear-wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. Jaguar also rebuilt the suspension to 1960s racing specs, including the built-in roll cage, though I doubt these six sure-to-be-high-priced reproductions are going to be seen at many track days.
That’s a shame, because this is one gorgeous car; the kind that should be seen by anyone and everyone with even a passing interesting in automobiles. I wish more automakers would honor their heritage in this way, as it highlights the role racing plays in automotive technology development. It’s been fifty years, and we’re just now getting back to the idea that all-aluminum vehicles should be a thing. But Jaguar was there a long, long time ago.
The Lightweight E-Type was revealed ahead of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, one of the most exclusive car events in the world. The perfect place for a one-of-six historically-faithful reproduction of a legendary car.