With Jaguars factory race team announcing retirement following a run of victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans during the late 1950s, Jaguars attention focussed on replacing the XK150 with a state of the art monocoque sports car. Despite having not officially launched the E-Type, Jaguars director Lofty England recognised the importance of racing to the brand and offered early production roadsters to several close friends of the factory to be entered into race events by privateers.
In 1962 the 250 GTO was introduced immediately surpassing the competition roadsters. In late ’62 John Coombs owned both a competition roadster and GTO, and so lent his GTO to Jaguars experimental department to help them prepare the new lightweight E-Type to rival the mighty GTO. After the initial ‘lightweight’ version constructed with a lighter steel monocoque, Jaguar would produce 11 further ‘lightweight’ cars with bodies constructed entirely from aluminium and combined with a 300bhp alloy block 3.8L engine, vented boot lid, a wider rear track with revised suspension geometry and Dunlop alloy wheels. These 12 examples became known as Jaguar’s last true racing cars for a generation and are today recognised by many as extremely significant racers.
This superb 1961 example was subject to a total conversion to lightweight specification. Completed in 2014, the lightweight aluminium body/chassis was constructed by industry expert Rod Jay of Jaguar Racing Panels, Nuneaton. Marque specialists Valley Motor Sport assembled and prepared the remainder of the car including the engine, built by Phil Hepworth. The top specification engine was built with no expense spared at a cost of circa £60,000 and adopts a Crosthwaite & Gardiner alloy cylinder block, wide-angle head, arrow steel crankshaft, Cosworth pistons and triple Weber carburettors producing circa 365bhp. In addition, it is fitted with RS Panels peg drive wheels, trimmed carbon Tillett racing seats and a Valley Motorsport long range fuel tank. A full photographic record of the most comprehensive build/restoration accompanies the car.
Since completion, it has been shaken down and tested with both the engine and gearbox receiving minimal use. This fabulous 60's sports car is race ready and comes accompanied by full and valid FIA/HTP papers. Eligible for a number of major events, this sale represents the perfect opportunity to enter the Spa Six Hours in a front running car.