1962 Jaguar E-Type to FIA Semi-Lightweight Specification

1962 Jaguar E-Type to FIA Semi Lightweight Specification

The Jaguar E-Type is one of the great icons of the 1960s. That distinctive silhouette, penned by aircraft designer Malcolm Sayer captivated its audience when first unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 1961. It then won the hearts of any who drove one, for the E-Type was a complete sports car for the road. Smooth and timeless lines, a rival to the best Italians on performance, and an everyday practicality which makes its use so accessible. 

Soon after its announcement in March 1961, Jaguar E-Types began appearing on racing circuits. The first win was scored in the very capable hands of Graham Hill as early as April 1961. These initial racers were very much showroom models, complete with soft top and cigarette lighters, but soon the quest for performance led them to evolve.

More and more E-Types began racing with their private entrants and achieved notable success. One such privateer was Dick Protheroe, whose famous “CUT 7” fixed head coupé was given works support and received components such as a D-Type cylinder head and cams, triple 45 DCOE Weber Carburettors, close ratio gearbox and wide competition wire wheels. “CUT 7” performed strongly against competition from Aston Martin and Ferrari models, and actually won the over 3,000cc class in the Autosport Championship for Production Sports Cars.

However, the heavy weight of the E-Type was beginning to hold it back compared to the light aluminium used in the latest Ferrari models. Protheroe was aware of this and sold his fixed head coupé, although he retained the registration “CUT 7” for use on his next car, a Lightweight E. 

With the change in regulations of 1963, where the manufacturer’s championship was changed from sports to Gran Turismo cars, Jaguar conceived the Lightweight E-Type. Having already helped John Coombs develop his car with special parts throughout 1962, Jaguar set about making the lightweights. A run of 18 chassis numbers were set aside for the project, while only 12 cars were produced in period, all with slight variations.

These Lightweights were all RHD, Roadsters with an aluminium monocoque and steel sub-frames for strength, sporting an aluminium hard top which replaced the standard fibreglass version. Suspension and brakes were uprated to improve road holding performance and lightweight magnesium peg-drive D-Type wheels were used. Engines were often tuned using Lucas fuel injection and development exhaust systems, along with having aluminium cylinder blocks and wide angle heads. 

Although some were turning out as much as 340bhp, the aluminium blocks could prove problematic as they were prone to overheating. The upgraded, and rather large ZF gearbox also caused issues, as it was stiffer than the aluminium block and sometimes led to engines blowing up. 

This large gearbox was in fact so heavy, that some owners preferred to revert back to the cast iron blocks and Jaguar gearbox. All in all this development program meant that the Lightweights were as much as 225kg lighter than a standard Series One.

There was also a “half way house” of racing E-Type, the Semi-Lightweight. A slightly more affordable and robust version of the Lightweight, these featured a steel monocoque and sub frames, with aluminium wheel arches, boot lid, doors, hard top and bonnet. Suspension and braking upgrades were retained, as were the D-Type wheels. Some featured iron block engines, while some had aluminium – a matter of customer preference and all were carbureted.

This particular E-Type started life on 27th June 1962 as a LHD Series One 3.8 Roadster. Painted in cream with a black soft top and black leather, chassis number 877607 was exported to Jaguar Cars, New York, USA where it was then sold to its first owner Mr. George C. Hasford of Lincoln, Illinois, USA.

From there 877607 was sold in the mid 1970s to Mr. Edward E. Sternby of Meadville, Pennsylvania with the soft top and also a hard top. The car was then sold on in the early ‘80s to Mr. Edward B. Corner, also of Meadville, Pennsylvania who is believed to have transported it to Florida. Mr. Corner then sold 877607 to Mr. Frank Migliano of Sunrise, Florida in February 1982. In June 1988 the car was then bought by Mr. David W Marshall of Boca Raton, Florida for the sum of $30,500. It is also understood that the car wore the registration “DFY 99 Z” and had an odometer reading of 68,000 miles.

Mr. Marshall then moved to the United Kingdom in 1989 and imported the E-Type temporarily before being granted a permanent import in July 1990. These documents are present with the car and show a foreign registration number of “EMT 07C”. After this point the car picked up the UK registration of “8429 CZ”. The car is complemented by service invoices stretching over Mr. Marshall’s charge, detailing the maintenance completed in this 22 year period. 

In April 2010, 877607 was then sold on behalf of Mr. Marshall by Classic AutoSports Ltd of Angus, Scotland to the Mr. Andy Dee-Crowne. He commissioned Tester Engineering Ltd. to convert the car into RHD Semi-Lightweight FIA specification, finished in a very dark gun-metal grey, with a view to race the car in historic events. It was fitted with a 3.8-litre iron block, wet sump engine along with all of the Semi-Lightweight upgrades. He also acquired FIA papers, along with a period registration number, “1480 WK”, and registered 877607 to this in August 2010.

In his ownership he raced the car in the HSCC E-Type Challenge, Masters Gentleman Drivers, Birkett 6 Hour Relay, CSCC E-Type Trophy, Kop Hill Climb and ran it in the Tour Brittania where it achieved a class win. In 2011 the block was replaced after a piston failure and around that time the head was also replaced. 877607 was painted red just before we acquired the car in July 2014.

Upon completion of extensive work, including the rebuild of the engine and drivetrain by Denis Welch Motorsport, in July 2015 the car was set up and tested ready for the Masters International Trophy at the 2015 Silverstone Classic. Straight out of the box, the car did not miss a beat finishing in the top 20 in a highly competitive grid of 56 cars and was the 6th fastest E Type against higher spec cars. 

877607 was then bought by the current owner in November 2015, and he had E-Type racing experts Valley Motorsport maintain the car for him. In the current ownership, 877607 has been gradually upgraded resulting in it now having a very competitive specification. A newly built wide angle head, iron block engine was bought from Denis Welch Motorsport, and fitted by Valley. 

Other changes have included fitting the wide track suspension option, Koni dampers, stainless steel silenced exhaust system and a lightweight Tillett carbon bucket seat. The current owner has raced 877607 in England and Europe, including at the 2018 Le Mans Classic where he and his son competed in the Jaguar Classic Challenge races. As the car sits today, the seat is valid until 2022, with seat belts to 2020 and fire extinguisher requiring a service in April 2020. 

The E-Type is accompanied by an extensive history file including 2016 FIA HTPs and UK V5 registration document. This is an ideal entry to the wide array of prestigious race series such as Gentleman Drivers, GT and Sportscar Cup, Guards Trophy, Spa 6 Hours, the Jaguar Classic Challenge and much more. 877607 would also be an ideal entry to the numerous tour events such as the Tour Auto and Modena Centro Ore.