News of the car’s sale – it is the first Lightweight to be offered in the US since 1999 – is sure to spark huge interest among Jaguar collectors, since Lightweights change hands so infrequently. It is believed one sold in the UK in 2015 for something over £4m.
The Lightweight E-Type is one of Britain’s true GT greats, created out of racing necessity in the ‘60s, and today more acclaimed than ever, as anyone who has seen it dominate in the RAC TT Celebration race at Goodwood recently will confirm. At Revival, it really has earned its nickname as “the Ferrari GTO killer”.
Why is the car so special? Compared to the regular steel-bodied E-Type, the Lightweight boasted a hand-formed alloy body and, living up to its name, was homologated at just 960kg. The 3.8-litre dry-sumped alloy-block XK engine put out 300bhp or more through a close ratio four-speed ‘box. So it wasn’t just
beautiful, but also fast and – say those who race it today with such vigor at Goodwood – a delight to handle. It’s a recipe that Jaguar Special Operations has followed exactly in its continuation run of six further Lightweights (there was originally meant to be a total of 18) announced in 2014 and now all long sold at circa £1m each.
Unlike its predecessors, the Jaguar C and D-Types, in period no Lightweight E-Type won at Le Mans or Sebring, but the car in the Bonhams sale is a championship title-holder. In 1963 Bob Jane drove it to victory in the Australian GT Championship – beating a Corvette and an E-Type in a 10-lap title decider at Calder Park. Down under, Bob Jane is a motor racing icon, as well known for his four Bathurst wins and multiple Australian Touring Car titles as his chain of Bob Jane T-Marts car accessory shops.