Jaguar Land Rover continues its push to the upper echelons of the market with the announcement of its most exclusive production car to date, the new Lightweight E-type. Built entirely by JLR's Special Vehicle Operations, a department dedicated to all kinds of customer requests, however outré, the Lightweight E-types make a neat bridge between the company's racing past and its ongoing expertise in the field of aluminium construction.
SVO gives the company license to embellish its designs and provide a more personal service. Within SVO sits another new venture, Jaguar Heritage, which will hand-make the cars in a new facility at Jaguar's historic Browns Lane site. Many marques maintain a close link with their heritage. Mercedes-Benz runs a Classic Centre in Fellbach, while Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell keeps post-war cars ticking over. Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, Bentley and more all keep tabs on the glories of their past. Actually recreating the past from scratch is a far more specialist occupation, usually the preserve of small workshops, deep pockets and an inner circle of collectors.
Jaguar can lay claim to some of the most significant sporting victories in motor racing history and the cars' that achieved then have ascended to legendary status. Few are more evocative than the original E-type, and few E-types are more collectable than the 196x Lightweight. Just 12 cars were made, out if a planned production run of 18, and today they are the Rothkos of the classic car market, scarce and hugely valuable.
Now the final six cars - and one prototype for itself - are being lovingly built from scratch by a dedicated team in Jaguar Heritage. Six lucky customers - all of whom have been carefully sourced - will soon be eligible for all manner of classic rallies and racing thanks to the rigorous attention to detail going into these 'new' cars, and the fact they'll bear the missing chassis numbers from the original run.
The original cars were pioneering in their use of aluminium and the six modern iterations have been derived from a carefully scanned original. The resulting digital model ensures absolute fidelity to the original design. Historic fidelity is everything, right down to the classic racing graphics (should the customer desire), ensuring these six cars are an authentic new chapter in the E-type story.