1963 Jaguar XKE Lightweight

In the late 1950s, Jaguar had planned a short retirement from racing as the increasing market demand for road cars left it little time for the track. Malcolm Sayer, a legendary aerodynamicist, began work on what he described as a sensational road car, the E-type. He was one of the first to apply the principles of aerodynamics to mass-production motorcar design.

The Jaguar E-Type was officially introduced to the world and a stunned audience at the March 1961 Geneva Auto Show, and the sensuous shape still gets rave reviews after all these years. The list of mechanical features was, for 1961, remarkable in that its racing origins could be clearly seen: a double overhead cam engine, fully independent rear suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes (inboard at the rear, something usually found only on race cars) proved the E-type to be an advanced automobile.

The E-Type, or XK-E as it would be known in the U.S., seemed to have the best of all worlds. It was very fast, having vivid acceleration, great flexibility, unheard-of comfort and refinement for such a car, and pure good looks. To improve torque, the E-Type was given a new 4.2-liter XK engine (over the 3.8L) and synchromesh gearbox. Braking was improved by the deletion of the Kelsey-Hayes bellows-type servo in favor of a Lockheed vacuum booster.

Internally the 4.2 E-Types were given far better seats. The aluminum dash panels and center consoles were now covered in black leather. Like the Mark X, the only external way of distinguishing the 4.2 E-Types was the badge on the trunk lid.

Vehicle Profiles


Chassis Num: S850667

The Jaguar D-Type was produced between 1954 and 1957 and although it shared the basic straight-6 XK engine and many mechanical components with the C-Type, its structure was very different. It featured a monocoque construction and used aviation techno....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: 86 1227
Engine Num: 8L194686
Gearbox Num: EJ 4530

The speed and handling of this beautiful car is only surpassed by its impeccably prepared polished aluminum exterior. The body panels are all alloy, seam welded and were fitted by the Rocksdale Panel Co. The wheels are original 10-inch Minilite, fron....[continue reading]

Chassis #: S850667 
Chassis #: 86 1227 


The Jaguar E-Type was launched at the 1961 Geneva Motorshow and it was not long before the road-going car made its way to racing tracks. The vehicle's lineage was rooted in sports car racing, with its chassis and engine sourced from the three-time Le Mans winning Jaguar D-Type. In production trim, the E-Type was incredibly fast and nimble, but there was room for improvement. For starters, it steel body was heavy while many of its competitors were using lightweight aluminum.

Homologation rules for GT competition dictated that the body could be modified but the chassis was to remain unchanged. A new body was formed from aluminum in nearly identical fashion to the production road car, and fitted with a separate hard-top roof with a small vent at the rear. A few of the later cars were given a full fast-back coupe body.

Most of the lightweight cars were built as a steel production Roadster, then modified to lightweight E-Type specifications, which included the hood and trunk lid. Two examples were raced with a fixed head body.

Under the bonnet, the engine was given an aluminum cylinder block, which - along with the new body - helped reduce overall weight by over 200 kg. The engine, with modifications that included a Lucas fuel injection system, boosted horsepower to over 300 HP.

These lightweight E-Type's were given to privateers, some of which also received factory support. John Coombs was one of the early believers in the lightweight E-Type, as was American Briggs Cunningham, who ordered three examples. 18 examples were planned, but eventually on 12 were ever built.

One of the earliest competition outings for the lightweight E-Type was at the 1963 edition of the Sebring 12 Hour race, where two examples entered, finishing in 7th and 8th overall. In the four-liter GT class, they finished 1st and 2nd but were outpaced by the Ferrari 250 GTOs in the under three-liter class. The lightweights would prove their capabilities on the shorter circuits, but were often outpaced by the GTOs on the longer courses.

Cunningham's examples were raced at Le Mans, all finished in the Cunningham colours of white with two blue stripes. During the practice session, the cars proved to be very quick and hopes were high for the race. Unfortunately, two of the three cars retired early; the third example managed to finish in 9th overall and 2nd in class.

The cars were quick, but in major competition they were often outclassed, often by the smaller engined Ferrari 250 GTOs.

Peter Sutcliffe of England enjoyed success with his car, as did German Jaguar distributor Peter Lindner.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2014
The Jaguar E type, also known as the XK-E, brought style and performance together to create a mass-produced supercar. The road-going sports car was conceived in 1956 as a replacement for the D-type. In March of 1961 the E-Type was officially introduced to the world at the Geneva, Switzerland Motor show.
It's design was created by an aerodynamic engineer named Malcolm Sayer. The front engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle featured a moncoque body and a tubular front chassis. The six-cylinder double-cam engine had three SU carburetors and produced 265 horsepower. The suspension was independent with disc brakes on all four wheels. It brought together the best or aerodynamics, coupled with the latest technology and propelled by a potent engine. The vehicle was not only fast, it offered excellent performance and handling. Some of the most common complaints it received were the cabin being too cramped and it suffered from poor ventilation.

The E-Type was a popular vehicle. It was fast, performed well, and was competitively priced. Due to the United States safety and emission regulations, some of the horsepower was lost. The headlamp covers were also removed prior to the close of the 1960's.

A 4.2-liter engine and synchromesh gearbox was introduced in 1964. In 1966, the 2+2 coupe was introduced and featured a longer wheelbase. The Series II cars were not as quick as its predecessors. The Series III, however, was a different story. Powered by a V-12 engine they were once again able to propel the E-Type over 145 miles per hour.

Production for the E-Type ceased in 1975, after 72,520 examples being produced. It was replaced by the XJ-S; a vehicle that was larger, heavier, and not as visually appealing.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2014
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