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Jaguar E-Type Lightweight

Updated on March 14, 2011

LIGHTWEIGHTS - The Racing E Types. Graham Hill scored the first racing checkered flag for an E Type in April 1961. In respect to the E type it should be remembered that its racing profession initiated with normal like cars in 1961, and that it continued with some success with the E Type lightweight racers and went on to control in various classes for almost a decade. The first racing E type lightweights were practically showroom models, complete even with cigar lighters and radios.

Initially in designing the E-Type, aerodynamics was of the most prime concern. That gave a great leap for the E-Type lightweight to be used as a racer. Modifications in racing E Type lightweight were varied such as, an almost six straight banana type exhaust manifold were fitted to some racers, resulting is a very satisfying engine giving around 30 hp more than the standard E Type, using triple two-inch SU carburetors.

Removal of the front thin discs and thicker ones placed in, extra oil temperature gauge for the engine’s safety, all very sensible and acceptable modifications. Light alloy was used wherever possible by private racers, except for parts vital to strength, like suspension sub frames. Suspension geometry was varied, stiffer torsion bars and springs were used, Spax or Koni shock absorbers were substituted and antiroll bars up rated and competition wide rim wire wheels.

The easy interchangeability of parts in various jaguar models made it easy in acquiring tougher components for the E Type lightweight. The back suspension of some lightweights got parts from the heavier Mark X saloons, to give it more strength and sometimes a ZF differential was fitted in place of the cast iron.

Some private race car companies that modified the E Type into the lightweight had the whole body made in an aluminum lightweight shell. They won a variety of races against the Astons and Ferraris, and the E Type lightweight was weighed in at a bit under a 920kg, 50kg lighter than the Ferraris and 230kg lighter than the standard steel E types.

They proved to be competitive on speed, but not on reliability and lacked factory improvement, they were all well above the 300hp mark, and a special one boasted out 344 hp with the fitting of a Lucas fuel injection and special long exhaust system.

The 4.5 liter racing units were only just starting to approach these power outputs more than twelve years later. The V12 engine first ran in 1962, eventually through the years producing more than 500 hp at 8,000 rpm in 1967.

Jaguar E Type (Jaguar XKE)

It is known as the Jaguar E Type in Europe and commonly referred to as the Jaguar XKE in North America. Get more information on the Jaguar XKE Lightweight:


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