Jaguar is perhaps one of the few manufacturers during the 1950’s-1960’s that designed each car from the basis of their motorsport success as the platform for a competitive market share on the road. The C-Type and D-Type Success at LeMans and throughout race tracks in Europe and North America provided a strong base for the company to continue improvements and further allocate funds to racing. It was these efforts that brought about the E-Type; a timeless and important part of automotive history. The symbiotic relationship of road cars and race cars at the jaguar factory meant that some very special E-Types were to be built to continue the competitive edge jaguar had recently developed. According to The book: JAGUAR C-type, D-type & Lightweight E-type Register recently written by Terry Larson and accompanying writers, the Lightweight E-Type really started as an idea manifested into a prototype in 1957, Chassis number E1A. This was more of a design exercise and a platform for improvements and further development to replace the XK150 while also contemplating the prototypes competitive edge. While E1A eventually became E2A, and competed at LeMans with a DNF, it easily sparked an idea, and became the basis for further development.
Lightweight number 11, registered as 2GXO in London, 1963, is one of 12 factory-built Lightweight E-Types completed for ordering customers with a sporting ambition. 2GXO was finished at Coventry in Opalescent Silver over Black, dry sump, alloy block, wide angle head, and a variety of other competition features. It raced successfully, in period, at a few hill climbs. After trading a few times amongst collectors, it was also vintage raced quite a bit. 2GXO is the real deal, with clean history, well known and an idolized E-Type that sets the standard for the inspiring recreation offered here.
Chassis # 1E10022 was produced in August of 1964, finished as a Carmen Red over Beige E-Type roadster with no special options, and not destined for competition. While it shared much of its DNA with Jaguar’s track ready alternative, it was still a standard E-Type. Exact early history is not fully known other than by the 1980’s it stayed with its owner until 1995 when it was acquired by its current owner and the inspired custodian who would turn it into what it is today. In 1995, it was a fairly straight, shiny and complete example with numbers matching. It ran and drove and could have easily been serviced up as a driver and/or could have been an ideal restoration candidate. However, as the owner continued to read more, furthering his ambition as a Jaguar Enthusiast, he kept coming back to the 12 Light-Weight cars with intrigue.
In 1998 the research on the build was concluded though far from over and the decision was made to transform this plain E-Type roadster into something extraordinary. The owner correctly disassembled the entirety of the car while cataloging his efforts. A receipt in April of 1999 from Jaguar Expert, Steve Helms of Jaguar Restorations shows the car was completely media blasted, stripped to a shell and metal work started. In April of 2000, an order was placed with Dunford Limited in the UK for All-Aluminum panels to be beaten out by master craftsman. The order included two doors, a hardtop, complete bonnet, boot lid, rear quarters and 2GXO style boot/hardtop vents. Additionally, Dunlop racing wheels, hubs, and a variety of other odds and ends all specific to Light-Weight E-Types was placed on order, all to the tune of nearly $20,000. An additional $36,000 was spent between 2003-2005 with a local Aluminum and Allard specialist further shaping and contouring the metal work for paint prep while on a rotisserie. Shortly after completion the owner entrusted the services of Jaguar Monocoque experts Lindley Motors to complete final paint prep, paint, and finishing for re-assembly. In September of 2005 the car was finally in show quality paint, and ready for reassembly by Steve Helms.
Recreating an engine to the specification of the original which was completed in period with blue-prints by original craftsman is no easy task. Short of casting a new aluminum Block and a wide angle head, or finding one for that matter, the motor was simply built to the highest standards possible. In short, like the rest of the car; there were no shortcuts taken. The goal was to produce an identical experience all culminating with the sound and visceral thrill of the original. An XJ6 block (# 8L48468-9) was sourced as it is nearly identical to the original block though it has bigger oil galleys and various updates over the original E-Type block, thus making it more reliable when handling more power. The engine was built by popular E-Type race engine builders: Hyde Villa Machine Shop of Reading, Pennsylvania. Some details of the build include Venolia +.020 Pistons, Balanced, blue printed, ported, and Polished. New Rods, ISKY Race Cams, aluminum fly wheel, 3 Weber DCOE 45 152 Carburetors, AP Clutch, Stainless Steel Headers and exhaust etc… The list is intensive with only the best utilized for a balance of performance and reliability while retaining the ability to safely run on pump gas, but performing even better on race fuel. An exact list, spec sheet and invoice totaling over $10,000 are available for review.
It should be noted however that the original block and head is included in the sale. The bigger point to be made is that if the original block and head were to be re-installed, it would provide a basis for FIA eligibility in European vintage racing: a very important fact to consider. The car would currently be welcomed to most vintage track events here in North America, along with concours events, tours and rallies. Another positive attribute to an already stunning car.
With the Engine finished, body completed and in paint, re-assembly and post restoration sorting was the only thing left. The entirety of the suspension and braking system was gone through, from start to finish. Wilwood Brakes were added, Spax shocks installed with upgraded suspension bushings, stainless steel brake lines throughout and adjustable torsion bar reaction plates. Again, no expense spared and only the best to accurately perform even better than the originals in some instances. As the car started to look like a car once more, it came down to minute items of accuracy on the exterior of the car that were going to define the project as a success. Items such as the LeMans filler cap, the 2GXO vents, Dunlop wheels, aluminum paneling, correct roll-bar, hardtop, bonnet vents etc… the list is extensive with many little items such as the boot stay, the side latches, the air intakes etc… It was all completed to the highest standards possible, to provide the real look, feel and overall experience that 2GXO might provide.
The build was completed in 2006; minor sorting has been carried out since completion to make sure the car is dialed in. Today, the car is turnkey and event ready with no needs other than a home. Cosmetically, the car shows very well and is easily still in show quality condition. The paintwork is consistent throughout with a very nice luster; the gaps are impressive considering the amount of time and energy spent on perfecting them with aluminum. The panel fitment is great and everything accompanying them such as rubber components and even the ubiquitous aluminum trim strips where the bumpers used to be is all excellent with no issues noted. While aluminum is soft and the car is driven there is one or two minute blemishes to be disclosed including a few chips that were touched up, but nothing warranting any sort of refinishing. There is one faint dent in the driver’s side front of the car, something that would most likely and easily PDR (paint less dent removal). A sawmall scratch on the cowl near the windshield on the driver’s side, and a small less than ¼ inch crack in the shape of an x on the drivers ¼ . Otherwise very much in order, straight down the sides and appearing as superb in every other regard.
Upon entering the interior one can easily note the lightness of the aluminum doors. The interior is very Spartan, as it should be. Aluminum seats wrapped in leather as modeled after the original. An exposed center tunnel, and minimal carpeting with interior comforts that would usually be found on an E-Type. 5-Point harnesses, lexan rear window and side windows give hint to the safety features that were also considered in building an incredibly fast car. The dash is nicely finished, the gauges have been completely rebuilt by Nisonger, including a 6,500RPM tachometer specific to a lightweight, and are in proper working order.
The engine bay shows incredibly well, clean, tidy, and basically as new with nothing out of place. While not a dry-sump Alloy block, wide angle head car, it still is very well built with subtle features of an original light-weight, such as the cabin ducting from an original, the plug wire stay on the valve cover etc… Other improvements can also be noted such as the aluminum radiator and Coolcats Fan. The trunk compartment is of the same consistency, only the wooden slats remain with no spare or any sort of trim work, with the theory obviously applied that “less is more”. The underside is basically the same consistency as that of the engine bay and boot. It is clean and straight with no issues noted and 100% solid.
Turning the key brings systems online and a hum of the fuel pump. Hitting the starter button makes the 10:1 compression quite obvious but with a little play of the throttle the car fires right up. The engine sounds very strong, with very quick throttle response. No smoking, knocking or any issues are present and the engine has already been well broken in with post rebuild valve adjustments being completed. The clutch works well, and grabs hard. The transmission shifts easily as a full syncro box from 1965. The car goes where it is steered with ease and the brakes work better the harder you push, very effective and a huge upgrade over the stock brakes. Power is put to the road via Dunlop Racing tires which are very temperature sensitive and have a period correct look to them as well. The experience of driving this car is not for the faint of heart. It is easily track ready and should be taken seriously for those who don’t have competition driving experience behind them; very fast, very fun.
The reality for most connoisseurs and enthusiasts is that even if one of the 12 original Light-Weight E-Types were to be available on the open market, it would be out of reach. Even the 6 remaining examples currently being built by Jaguar today will be well into the 7-figure range. This is an opportunity for any collector with a racing background or actively involved with vintage racing or events to acquire a semi-lightweight E-Type that has been accurately recreated to the standard of 2GXO. The car embodies the ideals any collector or enthusiast seeks in a thoroughly and properly completed car. One that was restored to a high standard, effort made to reproduce unique aspects of the original, and overall a passion that comes through from the owner’s vision and manifestation of the ultimate E-type.
Available Restoration Photos: (Click on the links below to view the file)