1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition: 2017 Bonham's Scottsdale Sale Feature Car
Lot 24, S/N S850667, Sold at $7,370,000
White/blue over black interior. 3.8-liter, 293-hp, DOHC I-6. 4-speed manual transmission. Repainted once in the early 1980s but otherwise highly original with factory-installed interior and bodywork showing the patina of decades of use on both track and street. Less than 4,000 miles indicated on odometer.
The Jaguar E-type Lightweight is a legend in its own right. Built with lightweight aluminum bodywork and a fixed hardtop that, along with the modified tail, provides aerodynamic advantages over the standard E-type bodywork, the car also features significant performance modifications to the engine, transmission, brakes, and suspension. These transform the standard E-type into a competitive race car on an international level.
Lightweights were built by the factory early in E-type production partly as a means of helping to promote the new Jaguar XKE through victories on the race track. Although plans existed to produce 18 of these factory-built racers, just 12 were made, with this car being the 10th example to leave Coventry.
This car was actively campaigned from new by its first owner, Robert "Bob" Jane, a racer, tire store owner, and Jaguar importer based in Australia. Under his ownership, Lightweight E-type serial number S850667 competed in events throughout Australia and Europe over the next several years, including winning the 1963 Australian GT Championship race. During its career, the factory engine block was damaged significantly enough to need replacement. A factory-fresh block was supplied by Jaguar, which the car retains to this day.
By the end of 1966, the Lightweight had been retired. It was used as a promotional piece for Jane's tire stores before it was put into storage, where it sat until it sold in 1980.
The second owner repainted the car in the current white/blue livery and used it occasionally through the next two decades on the road and in Jaguar club and vintage race events. The car's third owner purchased it in 1999 and has used it sparingly since, judging by the low miles.
Bonhams marketed this Jaguar E-type Lightweight as perhaps one of the most original examples in existence today, owing to its original bodywork and interior, in-period factory replacement engine block, and period factory modifications (including a 45-gallon fuel tank for longer European-style endurance races). These Lightweights tended to be used often and hard when they were new, as they were race cars from the outset and incurred all the wear, tear and outright damage common to competition cars. As a result, it's difficult to find a Lightweight today that still wears so much of its original equipment.
Clearly, the high bidder felt the same way, smashing the world record for Jaguars sold at auction with a $7,370,000 sale price. While Jaguar is building (and has already sold) a new run of six neo-Lightweights to complete the original production goal of 18, there's nothing like owning the real, '60s-built deal.