Well-known UK E-type tuning house, Eagle has spent 8000 hours to recreate a Jaguar E-Type Lightweight.
Jaguar planned to build 20 E-Type Lightweights for the 1963 racing season but only got around to making 12. Jaguar then recently had a crack at it and turned out a handful of cars and now Eagle has spent 8000 hours to build its version.
It all starts with a Series 1 E-Type which is stripped back to nothing and then a bunch of stuff will undoubtedly be binned. “We wanted to retain that special feel of a 60s competition car from an incredible era in British motorsport, but with the comfort, refinement and reliability that would make it an exhilarating daily driver or long-distance GT,” said Eagle founder Henry Pearman.
The Lightweight GT is not the first specialty E-Type that Eagle has turned out, there was the Speedster, Low Drag GT and Spyder GT but it is it’s most extensive build. For instance, every panel is replaced with modern-grade lightweight aluminium more suited to road use than the paper-thin stuff on the original Lightweights. More than 2500 hours goes into forming the body to a standard that Eagle claims is “many times more demanding than those specified by Jaguar’s Competition Department”.
And there have been a couple of changes too, like the deeper rear ramp angle, deeper sills and increased screen rake front and rear with bespoke glass. Wheel arch size has also been enlarged to accommodate 16-inch peg-drive magnesium alloy wheels, modelled on the original Dunlop racing wheels but wider, with a little more offset and one inch taller to allow more modern tyres.
The process begins with a 100 per cent strip-down of an original Series 1 E-Type. Every panel is replaced with lightweight aluminium of a modern grade more suited to road use than the thin, fragile material of the original Lightweights. Specialist craftsmen invest more than 2,500 hours forming the sensual curves, then fitting them to a tolerance many times more demanding than those specified by Jaguar’s Competition Department.
The famous Lightweight profile is faithfully recreated, with subtle enhancements to aerodynamics including a deeper rear ramp angle, deeper sills (which also increase chassis stiffness and allow the driver to sit lower, improving headroom and lowering the centre of gravity) and increased screen rake front and rear with bespoke glass. Wheel arch size has also been enlarged to accommodate 16” peg-drive magnesium alloy wheels, modelled on the original Dunlop racing wheels but wider, with a little more offset and one inch taller to allow more modern tyres.
The design of the floorpan, pedal mountings and the rear bulkhead have been tweaked to dramatically increase legroom in the E-Type’s notoriously cramped cabin while the seats are redesigned to improve safety, retention and long-term comfort. The remarkable attention to detail has even increased finger room around the seat adjusters, using the latest 3D printing techniques to create bespoke control levers.
The Eagle Lightweight GT is intended for race track and road use. Eagle said it wanted to avoid giving the Lightweight GT an exhaust note that shouts ‘race car’ or a track-focussed suspension calibration. “Far more challenging is to combine taught, sportscar dynamics with the ride quality and refinement of a world-class Grand Tourer,” said technical director Paul Brace.
Under the bonnet is Eagle’s 4.7-litre “evolution” of the straight six that ran in the C-, D- and E-Types. Factory Lightweights were specified with an aluminium block replacing the iron block of road cars, an upgrade replicated by Eagle. A bespoke crankshaft, pistons and conrods improve responsiveness and durability, while a wide-angle head, as specified for factory Lightweights, accommodates larger valves and a higher lift camshaft for improved breathing.
Pearman said the Lightweight GT is a classic supercar that fuses the character and charm of the original Jaguar E-Type with the intoxicating thrills of a 1963 factory Lightweight, thoughtfully and comprehensively re-engineered to ensure the new owner enjoys every mile, every day. For enthusiasts wanting to wrap the intense flavours of ‘60s motorsport in the sumptuous, hand crafted comforts of a luxury GT, “this,” he states with confidence, “is as good as an E-Type can be”. What do you think?
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