UK – The six vehicles from Jaguar Heritage, which operates within the OEM’s Special Operations division, will be built in a new facility at Browns Lane, using a mixture of traditional handcraftsmanship and computerised technology. A prototype, Car Zero, has already been completed and will be revealed at the Pebble Beach automotive event on August 14.
“The E-Type is an iconic car, and the Lightweight E-Type the most desirable of all,” said John Edwards, managing director, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Special Operations. “To be able to complete the intended production run of 18, some 50 years after the last Lightweight was completed, was an opportunity we couldn't miss.” The cars will be assigned the remaining chassis numbers from the Special GT E-Type project in 1963.
Each E-Type will have an aluminium body shell 114kg lighter than the steel equivalent. JLR has decided to avoid high-strength alloys and bonded structures in favour of traditional materials. However, it has deployed advanced scanning technology to digitally map the bodyshell down to a fraction of a millimetre and check how the assembly of the 1960s can be engineered today. This detailed control will enable the accurate reproduction of even the unseen components in the 230 total.
The vehicle-maker says that 75% of the aluminium panels will be manufactured in-house, with only a few large stampings supplied by external specialists using Jaguar-designed tooling. The bodies will be completed to the specifications of the original Lightweight E-Type No.12, by which time key areas of the shell had been strengthened. In addition to the body, the hard top, bonnet, doors and boot lid will all be aluminium.
The unibody will be built at JLR Whitley, where it will be mated to a tubular engine subframe stiffened with gussets. Painting will take place at Gaydon, before Browns Lane will complete the installation of the powertrain, suspension, brakes, steering, electrical items, instrument panel and soft trim.
The original Lightweight E-Type was powered by a highly tuned Jaguar XK inline-six engine, with chain-driven, dual overhead camshafts and an aluminium head with hemispherical combustion chambers. The unit used for the Lightweight E-Type is based on the 3,868cc engine in the D-Type, featuring a similar cylinder head but an aluminium block with steel liners in place of a cast-iron block.
The new Lightweight E-Type is the first vehicle to be recreated by Jaguar Heritage. Once the testing and promotional activities are completed, Car Zero will join the permanent collection at the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust.