The new cars are the “missing” six vehicles from the Special GT E-Type project begun in 1963, which called for 18 cars to be built.
Jaguar lightweight prototype E-Type.
Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations unveils its “new” hand-built, lightweight E-Type, completing a project unfinished for 51 years.
The prototype lightweight E-Type, the first re-creation from Jaguar Heritage, will be revealed Aug. 14 at the opening reception to the Pebble Beach Automotive weekend classic car event in Pebble Beach, CA.
The new cars are the “missing” six vehicles from the Special GT E-Type project begun in 1963, which called for 18 cars to be built. However, only 12 of the aluminum-bodied lightweight E-Types were made and the remaining six designated chassis numbers were dormant.
Each of the six new cars is assigned one of those chassis numbers. The prototype being shown at Pebble Beach, as well as the remaining five E-Types, are being built to a specification originated from the last lightweight E-Type produced in 1964. That car was assembled at the original home of the E-Type, Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant in Coventry, England, U.K.
The E-Type was produced between 1961 and 1975 and just over 72,500 were built.
JLR Special Operations Managing Director John Edwards says 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 (model) was completed, was an opportunity we couldn’t miss,” Edwards says in a statement.
“Special Operations’ remit is to indulge our most discerning and enthusiastic customers’ passion for our cars – including those from our past,” he continues. “This is why our Jaguar Heritage division exists, and why the new lightweight E-Type is such an incredibly exciting project.”
The core component of the lightweight E-Type is its aluminum body shell. This material replaced the steel of the production E-Type in the quest to shed weight – some 250 lbs. (114 kg) was saved compared with the standard car.
JLR says despite the enormous advances in technology since the early 1960s, the decision was taken not to incorporate modern materials or fixing methods. While high-strength aluminum alloys and bonded structures would have been invisible, they would not have been true to the original design.
Instead, today's advanced technology was deployed to ensure the highest quality and most faithful rendition of the lightweight E-Type's open 2-seater body components. Using state-of-the-art scanning technology, the inner and outer surfaces of a lightweight body shell were digitally mapped.
The resulting massively detailed scan, which recorded dimensions and shape down to a fraction of a millimeter, was then assessed by Jaguar's technicians to validate how the body was assembled back in the 1960s, how consistent the structure was side-to-side and how it could be engineered today to produce the highest quality result for the lightweight E-Type project.
Car Zero underwent a 15-day shakedown period at JLR’s test facility in Gaydon, England, to prove out the car's dynamics and establish optimum suspension settings. Each of the six new lightweight models will go through shakedown tests to ensure they meet the required standards in terms of braking, handling and steering, JLR says.