Such was the huge demand for the 'E' Type at the time of its launch that the first cars were only made available for purchase to suppliers or close friends of Jaguar Cars. William Lyons and 'Lofty' England of Jaguar very much encouraged initial owners to compete with their cars, and YRP 999 ticks both of those boxes having been campaigned from new and being one of the earliest RHD E-Types in existence.
First owner Derek Wilkinson acquired "YRP 999" (chassis #850020) in early 1961. The car was driven for Derek by John Bekaert, an extremely popular and capable driver of the time, already well-known for his exploits in HWM and Lister-Jaguar sports cars. "YRP999" car is not only one of the very earliest cars built but also one of the very first E-Types to have been raced from new and was even entered into the very first race that any E-Type took part in at Oulton Park in 1961 (a race that the car did not start but was won by the famous ECD 400).
After its energetic racing career in the hands of John Bekaert, the car passed to fellow enthusiast John Woolfe for 1963-64, Woolfe becoming well-known in later years for his Woolferace wheels project and 7-litre competition Cobra. It is believed that Woolfe was responsible for a Le Mans style tank, extensive use of aluminium panelling and other modifications including adoption of the 'D' Type chronometric tachometer helping bring the car to early semi lightweight specification.
In March 1969 "YRP 999" was purchased by Terry McGrath who ran a D-Type, Connaught, Crossley and a Lola T70 under the Concross Racing Team Banner. "YRP 999" was still in its green livery when purchased and it was repainted dark blue. Mr. McGrath has confirmed that at the time the rear discs were cooled by some interesting unique vertical slots in front of the rear wheel arches and the car had already been fitted with the long-distance alloy factory Le Mans fuel tank with filler cap mounted in the boot lid.
Bob Vincent bought the car that November, and his mechanical modifications in addition to the extensive items already carried out (confirmed by Martin Ryan, who frequently raced the car during Mr. Vincent's ownership) included lowered and stiffened suspension, modified brakes ducted both to the boot lid vents and to the rear wheel arches via an alloy tower over the rear axle, and the modified tail treatment with increased underside rake to reduce lift. In 1971, Bob Vincent had "YRP 999" resprayed signal red and Martin Ryan then bought it purely for competition use, campaigning it widely, and successfully. During 1972, he returned it to HSCC specification by reducing amongst other things the flared wheel arches.
In 1973, Martin Johnson bought the car, which Mr. Ryan continued to race. In 1974, "YRP 999" passed to the collector Alexander Boswell in whose hands it lay unraced for five years until 1980 when it was acquired by Mr. T. White and his brother-in-law, Mr. A. Crossingham, who began lengthy restoration. The bodywork was resprayed as original in opalescent green but in 1991 when Charles Good acquired the car, the restoration was still incomplete. "YRP 999" received its finishing touches and was made road useable by Lynx Motors under the instruction, "not to change any original parts or period modifications unless required". Between 1995 and 2005 "YRP 999" was campaigned carefully and regularly at a number of senior events, including the Silverstone Historic Festival twice and both the Donington 35th and 40th anniversary E-Type races.
"YRP 999" came into the care of the current custodian approximately seven years ago. It has been continuously (but sympathetically to retain its original charm) maintained by Martin Stretton to make the car absolutely on the button and race ready. The result is a car that whilst it retains a great deal of charm and unique features it is a front running car and a regular contender at the best events such as the Goodwood Revival. To say the preparation has been at no expense spared would be an understatement right down to the latest specification Crosthwaite & Gardner engine (the period engine remains with the car but not fitted to preserve it). The owner has enjoyed many two driver races with friends and guest drivers and most recently shared the car at the Goodwood Revival in the TT race with John Cleland in 2012 - its sixth TT in the last seven years!
Today the car retains many desirable period features and unique modifications that have over the years brought it to its current specification. "YRP 999" was in period and has always been a regular and competitive contender at some of the most famous race meetings there are; a trend that must continue.
"YRP 999" represents a unique opportunity to acquire a significant race-ready part of E-Type history.
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