‘Car Zero’ – A prototype Lightweight was unveiled at the opening reception of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last weekend
The new cars are the ‘missing’ six from the ‘Special GT E-type’ project, which originally started in February 1963. They were originally going to build 18 cars, but only 12 of the aluminum-bodied Lightweight E-types were completed and the remaining six designated chassis numbers have been sitting, unused, until now. The six new cars will carry those original, historic Lightweight E-type chassis numbers.
The car was a race winner in the hands of famous drivers during its short competitive career including Graham Hill, Briggs Cunningham, Jackie Stewart and others. The surviving cars have achieved iconic status and are now valued in the millions today. In recreating the Lightweight E-type, Jaguar Heritage has been able to call on the experience and craftsmanship of many talented engineers and technicians already working in a variety of departments within the company.
Derek Weale, Director, Jaguar Heritage Business said, “Operating from a brand new workshop at Browns Lane – now open for the restoration and servicing of customer cars – the building of six new, meticulously crafted Lightweight E-type period competition cars by Jaguar Heritage is testament to the unique skills within the team. To know those same skills can also be utilized to the benefit of existing classic Jaguar owners means this is a very exciting time for Jaguar Heritage.”
Some of the team even have an indirect link with the E-type when it was new: one master technician calculated that his family – including his grandparents, his father and his uncle – had a collective 170 years’ service at Jaguar stretching back to the early 1960s.
The expertise and attention brought to bear on this recreation project is staggering, with the full resources of Jaguar being applied to ensure that the six new Lightweights will not only be authentic, but will also be built to the highest quality standards.
Mike Cross, Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity, Jaguar said, “In our contemporary Jaguar sports cars our aim is always to achieve an immediacy of response to all driver inputs – and the goal with Lightweight E-type was the same. For me, its response to steering, brake and throttle inputs – along with the terrific noise it creates – is what makes it such an engaging machine from the driver’s seat.”
So the six chosen customers will each receive the rarest of things – a brand new Lightweight E-type, hand-built at Browns Lane and just as desirable as one of the originals, although probably not worth as much as the survivor cars are today.[inpost_gallery thumb_width=”200″ thumb_height=”200″ post_id=”89665″ thumb_margin_left=”0″ thumb_margin_bottom=”0″ thumb_border_radius=”2″ thumb_shadow=”0 1px 4px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2)” js_play_delay=”3000″ id=”” random=”0″ group=”0″ border=”” type=”yoxview” show_in_popup=”0″ album_cover=”” album_cover_width=”200″ album_cover_height=”200″ popup_width=”800″ popup_max_height=”600″ popup_title=”Gallery” sc_id=”sc1407953527872″]
The core component of the Lightweight E-type is its aluminum bodyshell. This material replaced the steel of the production E-type in the quest to shed weight – some 250lb were shaved off compared with the standard model.
Despite the 50-year gap, the aluminum build of the six new Lightweights gives them an immediate affinity with the company’s current model range. Jaguar is now a leading manufacturer of aluminum-bodied cars in applying aluminum technology to volume production cars.
Despite the enormous advances in technology since the early 1960s, Jaguar decided not to incorporate modern materials or repair methods. While high-strength aluminum alloys and bonded structures would have been invisible, they would not have been true to the original design – and nor would they have conformed to the FIA’s homologation requirements for historic racing.
Instead, today’s advanced technology was deployed to ensure the highest quality and most faithful rendition of the Lightweight E-type’s open two-seater body components. Using state-of-the-art scanning technology, the inner and outer surfaces of a Lightweight bodyshell 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.
As this digital capturing process gave Jaguar’s engineers complete control over the Lightweight E-type body’s 230 individual components, their shapes could then be optimized before the data was sent to the tool room at Jaguar’s Whitley engineering center. Even panels which are unseen within the structure have been faithfully reproduced. To ensure absolute symmetry, one side of the scanned body was used as the datum, this being ‘flipped’ to produce an identical condition on the opposite side.
Additionally, before being signed-off, the outer ‘A-surface’ CAD scan was transferred to Jaguar’s design department where the surface geometry was finalized. All this work ensured that the tooling from which the majority of the new body parts are produced is as accurate as possible.
Approximately 75 per cent of the panels are made in-house at Whitley, just a few very large pressings being supplied by external specialists using Jaguar-designed tooling. The grades of aluminum used for both the under-structure and surface panels are almost identical in mechanical properties to those used for the original 1963 Lightweight E-types. The body is completed to original Lightweight E-type Chassis no. 12 condition, by which time Jaguar had added some additional strengthening in key areas of the shell. The aluminum body is then completed by the addition of an aluminum hood, doors and trunk lid. As with the original cars, an aluminum hard top is standard.
The development of the body-in-white tooling was undertaken by the same department that builds all Jaguar Land Rover prototype vehicles, so the expertise applied to the project was world-class. The build process and assembly procedures were initially proved out on Car Zero; this is effectively an engineering prototype and will not carry one of the six Lightweight chassis numbers.
For the Lightweight E-type project, Jaguar’s engineers created a ‘grey book’ of the type used during the development of new production Jaguars. This internal document sets out the required quality standards in terms of bodyshell fit-and-finish and ensures a consistency of build quality for all six new Lightweight E-types.
A roll-over cage is fitted as standard, and the body includes mounting points for a detachable front extension which is available as an extra. The cars are built in a form suitable for FIA homologation for historic motorsport purposes (see full specification).
Engine and Drivetrain
The Lightweight E-type was powered by a highly developed version of Jaguar’s straight-six XK engine which, with its chain-driven twin overhead camshafts and aluminum head with hemispherical combustion chambers, remained highly advanced in 1963 even though it had first been seen in the XK 120 as far back as 1948.
It was this engine that had powered the C- and D-types to five Le Mans victories in the 1950s, and the unit developed for the Lightweight E-type is based on the 3,868cc (236 cu in) engine which, in the D-type, had won Le Mans in 1957. A similar big valve ‘wide angle’ cylinder head is used, but in place of the D-type’s cast iron block. An aluminum block for the Lightweight E-type was used, which substantially reduced the amount of weight over the front wheels. This is also featured in the present-day car, with pressed-in steel liners.
Another major feature transferred from the D-type is the dry sump lubrication system. This uses a scavenge pump to collect oil from the sump and return it to a separate oil tank in the under hood area. This eliminates oil surge during fast cornering and consequent risk of damage to the engine’s bearings, and also allows a greater quantity of oil to be carried.
The compression ratio is 10:1 and today’s car is supplied with three 45DCO3 Weber carburetors. These were homologated for the Lightweight in addition to a Lucas mechanical fuel injection system – which is being offered to customers as a cost-option (and which is fitted to Car Zero). The exhaust manifold is a steel fabrication and leads the exhaust gasses into twin pipes which take them through a center silencer box to the rear of the car, where the exhaust system ends in twin polished tail pipes.
Whether carburetors or fuel injection is specified, brake horsepower is well over 300, and with torque in the region of 280lb ft at 4500 rpm, which produces quick acceleration from comparatively low engine revs – traditionally a feature of Jaguar racing engines.
A 12 volt negative earth electrical system is used, and the engine benefits from a modern inertia-type starter motor. The water and oil radiators are in aluminum alloy, there is an aluminum expansion tank for the coolant, and the fuel tank is mesh-filled for safety.
The power is transferred to the road via a lightweight, low inertia flywheel, a single-plate clutch and a Jaguar close-ratio, manual four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox as used by the Lightweight E-type in period. A variety of final drive ratios are available, all with the Powr-Lok limited-slip differential, but a 3.31:1 ratio is supplied as standard.
Suspension, Steering and Brakes
The twin wishbone front suspension and independent wide-based wishbone rear suspension (where the drive-shaft serves as the upper link) are set-up according to period racing practice, with uprated shock absorbers controlling the torsion bar springs (front) and the four coil springs (rear).
The steering is the excellent standard E-type rack-and-pinion, with a traditional wood-rim wheel for the driver. Larger (12.25in) brake discs are fitted at the front, with the rear brakes being standard E-type. No servo is fitted.
The 15in diameter wheels are period type in the correct ‘perforated’ style, and like the originals are cast in magnesium alloy. Rim width is 7in front, 8in rear. Dunlop racing tires are fitted, 6.00 section front, 6.50 section rear, both in CR65 compound.
The monocoque bodyshell is built at Whitley where it is mated to its tubular engine sub-frame – which is stiffened with gussets as for the original Lightweight – and then shipped to Jaguar’s Gaydon facility for painting. From there it is then taken to Jaguar Heritage at Browns Lane where the car is built up with powertrain, suspension, brakes, steering, electrical items, instrument panel and soft trim.
This process takes place in a dedicated area close to where the original Lightweight E-types were assembled in 1963/64, and the work is undertaken by highly skilled technicians used to assembling extremely complex JLR prototypes.
It is at this stage that personal consultation with the customer dictates the final specification for each individual car – no two of which are expected to be identical.
Car Zero underwent a 15-day shake-down period at Jaguar Land Rover’s test facility at Gaydon to prove out the car’s dynamics and establish optimum suspension settings. This involved Mike Cross, Jaguar’s Chief Engineer, Vehicle Integrity. Jaguar’s engineers even established a ‘design verification plan’ for the car, just as they would do for an entirely new model. Each of the six new Lightweights will go through shake-down tests to ensure that they meet the required standards in terms of braking, handling and steering.
“With the Lightweight E-type, our focus as a design team has been to ensure justice was done to the original work of Sir William Lyons and Malcolm Sayer. Meticulous attention to detail has been everything to us in re-creating this car, just as it is in our contemporary Jaguars. I believe the result is a new Lightweight E-type that is as stunning now as the originals would have been when they were new.”
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar
Connolly leather is used, supplied by Jonathan Connolly with hides produced to the same specification as those used by Jaguar in the 1960s. This leather is used to trim the competition-type aluminum bucket seat base. The center console covering is also leather, and there is a choice of seven trim colors.
As befits a thoroughbred GT car where weight saving in all areas is demanded, interior trim is minimal. However, the customer can opt for a more fully-trimmed car and the Jaguar team can devise bespoke trim packages. This may include door cards, headliner for the hardtop, removable custom saddle-leather floor mats, and a cover for the transmission tunnel.
Much of Car Zero’s interior – floorpan, sills, rear areas – have intentionally been left unpainted, to emphasize the car’s aluminum bodywork.
The studio has also selected a palette of six ‘heritage’ paint colors recommended for the exterior: Carmine red, opalescent grey metallic, silver metallic, opalescent blue metallic, British racing green, Old English white. However, various color and trim alternatives are available, as each car is built to the personal specification of each individual customer, who can discuss options with Jaguar’s Director of Design, Ian Callum, in person.
Engine: Aluminum six-cylinder block, wide-angle cylinder head, dry sump lubrication, lightweight low-inertia flywheel
Displacement: 236.0 cu in (3,868cc)
Bore/Stroke: 3.46in/4.17in (88.0mm/106.0mm)
Valvetrain: 2 valves per cylinder, DOHC
Compression ratio: 10:1
Carburettors: Triple 45DCO3 Weber
Injection (optional): Lucas mechanical, 6.25in (158.7mm) butterfly trumpets
Crankshaft: Steel with steel H-section con rods
Power: 340hp/253.5kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 280lbs ft/380Nm @ 4500rpm
Fuel tank: Mesh-filled 14-gallon (64-litre) capacity
Fuel pump: Standard E-type
Transmission and Driveline
Transmission: Jaguar 4-speed all-synchro close-ratio gearbox
Final drive casing: Cast iron, Powr-Lok limited slip differential, axle ratio 3.31:1
Gearbox oil: Castrol
Clutch: Single dry plate
Suspension and Steering
Front: Double wishbone, LWE torsion bars, uprated anti-roll bar
Rear: Jaguar independent rear suspension lower wishbones/driveshaft links, radius arms, anti-roll bar (C/O Standard E-type rear springs with uprated shock assemblies)
Steering: Standard E-type rack-and-pinion, adjustable steering column
Brake discs (front): 12in Dia (305mm)
Brake discs (rear): 11.25in Dia (286mm)
Handbrake: Production E-type
Wheels and Tires
Magnesium disc wheels: Front: 15in x 7.0J, Rear 15in x 8.0J
Tires: Dunlop (Front – 6.00L15 CR65, Rear – 6.50L15 CR65)
Battery: 12v – 62 amp / hour
System: 12v negative-earth
Lighting: Tungsten headlamps and standard rear tail-lamps
Instruments: Smiths Industries
Generator: Production E-type
Starter: Production E-type
Control Box: Production E-type
Wiper motor and blades: Production E-type
Exhaust and Cooling
Exhaust: Fabricated steel manifold, steel exhaust system with centre silencer box and twin polished tail pipes
Cooling: Aluminium E-type radiator, aluminium expansion header tank, engine oil cooler, oil sump tank
Length: 175.3in (4,453mm)
Width: 66.9in (1,700mm)
Height: 46.5in (1,181mm)
Weight: 2204.6lbs (1,000kg)
Wheelbase: 96.1in (2,440mm)
Front Track: 50.0in (1,270mm)
Rear Track: 55.0in (1,397mm)
Body in white & closures
Aluminum monocoque with stiffened front sub-frame for race engines above 300bhp
Riveted and welded aluminum construction
Aluminum body closures (hood/doors/trunk-lid)
Aluminum detachable hard top roof
21 louver hood air intakes
Black powder-coated roll cage
Front brake cooling ducts integrated with bonnet structure
Side bonnet-release handles
‘Long range’ aluminum quick release fuel cap
Body color cabin ventilation air intakes
Protective car cover (non-waterproof)
Centre bonnet catch
Oval door mirror upgrade
Aluminum bucket seats with increased backrest angle and padded cushions
Leather selection from Connolly palette
Wood-rimmed steering wheel
Aluminum gear knob and standard hand brake
Machined metal toggle and push button starter
Five-point seat belt
Black instrument panel with glove box
Bonnet and boot stands
Clear laminated front screen
Perspex side windows and rear screen
Manual slide side windows