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1962 Jaguar E-Type 3.8-Litre Semi-Lightweight Competition Hardtop Roadster
Chassis no. 877005 Engine no. R4896-9
The elevation of the GT class to Manufacturers’ Championship status for 1963 prompted Jaguar to develop a small batch of very special lightweight cars to challenge Ferrari. The FIA’s regulations for the Gran Turismo category stipulated that a minimum of 100 cars had to be built, but permitted coachwork modifications, thus enabling Jaguar to claim that its lightweights were standard E-types fitted with altered bodywork.
To create the 1963 lightweight version, the E-Type’s steel monocoque tub and outer body panels were remanufactured in aluminium and the engine dry-sumped and fitted with an alloy cylinder black, ‘wide-angle’ head, and Lucas mechanical fuel injection, producing in excess of 300bhp. The production four-speed gearbox was used initially before a ZF five-speed unit was adopted. The 12 cars built by the factory were intended for the use of competition orientated Jaguar dealers or specially selected private entrants. Today, copies of these rare competition variants are among the most popular and sought after of all E-Types.
This 1962 semi-lightweight E-Type was built by Classic Restoration Services, a company with over 23 years of experience in the restoration and preservation of classic Jaguar cars. Completed in 2016, this stunning Semi-Lightweight is the first FIA-specification E-Type that CRS’s owner Srdjan Jovović has personally prepared, fulfilling a long-time dream. Seeking advice on period-correct specification, Srdjan turned to Bob Smith of RS Panels, a master craftsman with some 50 years of unrivalled experience in building competition Jaguars, especially Lightweights, whose help was invaluable.
Constructed around a steel monocoque tub, the body is fitted with an aluminium bonnet, hardtop, doors, and vented boot lid, and a special FIA-approved Custom Cages roll cage. The first few factory-built Lightweights used a monocoque made from slightly thinner steel sheet, affording a weight reduction achieved in this car’s case by sand-blasting the original tub. The tub was also braced and seam-welded, just like the factory version. Alloy was also used for the hardtop, bucket seats (to a Bob Smith design), and even the heater! The end result is a highly satisfactory kerb weight for this car – including the fully trimmed interior, all fluids, and 50 litres of fuel – of 1,140kg.
Following advice kindly given by Philip Jordan of Crosthwaite & Gardiner, the competition engine was built up around an FIA-specification iron block and a wide-angle cylinder head, the latter being widely used in period in the D-Type, XKSS, Lister-Jaguar, etc. The engine also incorporates a billet crankshaft, harmonic damper, lightened flywheel, and Omega con-rods and 11:1 pistons, while the cylinder head has been fully CNC gas-flowed. Dry-sump lubrication was considered but rejected because of its installation difficulties on a left-hand drive car, plus the weight penalty of around 20kg. Wet-sump lubrication has been retained, the sump being fitted with an anti-surge baffle. The engine is cooled by an aluminium radiator and header tank with a modern fan switch.
Full-race camshafts and Lucas fuel injection were considered also, but as this car was intended to be road-usable it was decided to use a less aggressive cam profile and Weber 45 DCOE carburettors, enabling the engine to idle comfortably; even so, it still produces a competitive 350bhp. Exhaust gasses exit via a stainless steel, full race system. Power is transmitted via a 9.5” heavy-duty clutch (as per the factory Lightweights) with Dennis Welch throw-out bearing to a Jaguar straight-cut close-ratio gearbox (with heavy-duty balk rings) and thence to a steel-cased, limited-slip differential. The all-synchro Jaguar four-speed ’box was considered ideal for this car, as it entered production in 1964 and is some 35kg lighter than the five-speed ZF used in 50% of the factory Lightweights.
The braking system incorporates AP Racing master cylinders, a bias bar, upgraded front brake callipers, and front and rear brake cooling. Other noteworthy features include Lightweight-type suspension uprights, Lucas distributor with MSD, a short-distance fuel tank, upgraded handling kit all round, twin Facet competition fuel pumps, a Filter King and regulator, Aeroquip hoses, 7” magnesium peg-drive wheels, a fire extinguisher, and FIA full race harness, and an FIA approved kill switch. Accompanying documentation consists of a US title, customs papers, and a Heritage certificate.
Following some 150 miles of shakedown testing, the E-Type was taken to the Zandvoort race circuit in December 2016 for a feature to be published in the March edition of the Dutch Octane magazine, comparing it with the new Jaguar F-Type SVR Lightweight. (Jaguar Lightweight in Octane)
Offered fresh from display at Interclassics Maastricht, this beautiful Semi-Lightweight E-Type is a mouth-watering prospect for its next owner.