The period competitor to Ferrari’s 250 GTO and 250 LM and the Shelby Daytona Coupe
One of the 12 original Lightweight Competition Roadsters produced
Raced at the Nürburgring 1000 KM, Reims 12 Hours, Spa 500 KM, RAC Tourist Trophy and Kyalami 9 Hours and winner of the 1964 Prix de Paris
Fabulously documented, with copies of period correspondence between the Jaguar factory and first owner Peter Sutcliffe
The Lightweight Jaguar E-Type
Jaguar built the Lightweight E-Type Competition Roadster as a follow up to the hugely dominant D-Type, which claimed victory at the famed Le Mans 24 Hours three years consecutively! These Lightweights featured revised bodywork, which was manufactured from aluminium instead of the standard steel E-Type panels, and fitted with a race-tuned aluminium block with a ‘wide-angle’ cylinder head and a Lucas fuel-injected, 3.8-litre, straight six-cylinder engine, which could produce in excess of 300 bhp!
For the standard road-going E-Type, Jaguar chose to fit a steel body to reduce costs, allowing the car to be more accessible to a larger audience and leading to increased sales. It was important for Jaguar that the E-Type road car was a success; however, when the car took to the circuit, the steel proved to be too heavy, especially when the car was lined up next to the aluminium-bodied Ferrari 250 GTO, Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato and Shelby Daytona Coupes! For the competition-focused Lightweight E-Type, Jaguar built a special aluminium monocoque with aluminium doors, bonnet and boot lid, making the car an impressive 250 lb lighter than the road car and, importantly, 100 lb lighter than its Italian rival, the Ferrari 250 GTO. To increase rigidity further, Jaguar fitted steel reinforcements in several locations, along with an aluminium hardtop, which also gave the car a fabulous, low, sleek and purposeful look — not that a standard E-Type is lacking in the looks department!
The Lightweight E-Type was a completely different car to the standard offering, as it was a weapon with one target: race victories!
Not only was the body heavily enhanced, so was the engine, with the block now cast from aluminium, not iron, which significantly reduced weight. The engine modifications also included a ‘wide-angle’ aluminium head with larger inlet and exhaust valves, a dry-sump oil system and competition flywheel. State-of-the-art Lucas fuel injection was also fitted, which led to an increased power output in excess of 300 brake horsepower, which was fed to the road through a four- or five-speed close ratio gearbox and limited slip differential. To save further weight, the wheels were manufactured from magnesium, really showcasing the weight-saving approach Jaguar took with these cars — they really were a cost-no-object project.
In competition, the Jaguar Lightweight E-Type was formidable, with greats including Graham Hill, Briggs Cunningham, Jackie Stewart, Dan Gurney, Roy Salvadori, Dick Protheroe, Bruce McLaren, Jack Sears, Walt Hansgen and Brian Redman choosing to take to the wheel!
The Ex-Peter Sutcliffe Jaguar E-Type Lightweight
The Lightweight presented here, chassis S 850666, known internally at Jaguar as Lightweight E-Type No. 9, completed assembly in July 1963 and was sold new to Peter Harry Sutcliffe.
A British textile manufacturer from Huddersfield, Sutcliffe was not only an enthusiast but also a successful racing driver, despite his competition career being briefly interrupted by national service! Sutcliffe took to the wheel of a variety of machinery, including a Jaguar D-Type, this Lightweight E-Type, a Ford GT40 and a Ferrari 330 P4, and regularly competed at the highest level, including the famed Le Mans 24 Hours as a Works Ferrari driver, the Nürburgring 1000 KM and the Grand Prix de Paris.
Sutcliffe was first presented the opportunity to purchase this Lightweight by Lofty England, the manager of Jaguar’s sports car racing team, at the 1963 Easter Monday meeting at Goodwood. Sutcliffe recalls that England towered over him in the paddock, offering the chance to buy one of Jaguar’s latest sports racing cars, as a result of Jaguar having watched his progress and performances over recent years in his D-Type, chassis XKD 504.
Sutcliffe ordered this Lightweight E-Type through Coombs and Sons Ltd in Guildford and chose to employ the Jaguar factory themselves to maintain the car between events. On 12 July 1963, this Lightweight was registered in the UK and assigned the licence YVH 210.
1963 Competition Debut
The first event for S 850666 was the BRSCC Grovewood Trophy Race at Mallory Park on 13 July 1963, with Sutcliffe recalling he drove to and from the event on the road in the Lightweight. An impressive first outing saw Sutcliffe finish 4th overall, being beaten only by two sister Lightweight E-Types driven by Graham Hill and Roy Salvadori, along with the Ferrari 250 GTO of Jack Sears in 2nd, whilst beating two other 250 GTOs and a 250 SWB Berlinetta. Impressively, the following day Sutcliffe and this Lightweight drove to Snetterton for the Archie Scott Brown Memorial Trophy Race, where they not only set the fastest lap but also took victory! As first weekends go with a new competition car, Sutcliffe must have been happy with one win, one fastest lap and a 4th place!
The following weekend saw Sutcliffe and this Lightweight once again take to the track, this time at Silverstone for the International GT and Sports Car Race, a support race for the Formula One Grand Prix. This race saw stiff competition, with drivers including Jack Sears, Roy Salvadori, David Piper and Michael Parkes, and Sutcliffe crossed the line 5th in class.
The 1963 season continued, with Sutcliffe and this Lightweight competing at Brands Hatch and Goodwood and a win to close the season at Mallory Park. Once the season was complete, the car was returned to Jaguar for some work and a respray in the original Opalescent Dark Green before being displayed at the 1964 Racing Car Show at Olympia in London.
The 1964 competition season saw Sutcliffe and this Lightweight spend more time on the continent, the first of which at the Spa 500 KM in May, where the pair finished 2nd in class. The next race was the Prix de Paris a week later, after Sutcliffe took the Lightweight to Jaguar agent Royal Elysées in Paris for a service before the race. Contained within the car’s impressive history file are copies of correspondence between Mr Leaver of the Jaguar Service Division and Mr Jourdain, the service manager of Royal Elysées in Paris, ensuring Sutcliffe was to be visiting and that the final drive ratio would need to be changed before the Prix de Paris.
1964 Prix de Paris
The 1964 Prix de Paris was held at the Circuit de Linas-Montlhéry, just outside Paris. Wearing race number 40, Sutcliffe and this Lightweight joined a field consisting of a Ferrari 250 GTO and several Ferrari 250 GT Berlinettas and Porsche 904 GTSes. Sutcliffe started on the second row, quickly storming into the lead, where he remained unchallenged for the remainder of the race, crossing the line in 1st place overall, with future Formula One World Champion Jackie Stewart finishing 4th!
1964 Nürburgring 1000 KM
For the third weekend in a row, Sutcliffe and this Lightweight entered a race, this time the Nürburgring 1000 KM, round seven of the World Sportscar Championship. For this event, the Lightweight wore race number 91 and Sutcliffe shared driving duties with Richard “Dickie” Stoop, previously a pilot of Hawker Sea Hawks during World War II — a fearless man.
Having qualified ahead of no less than four Ferrari 250 GTOs and the sister Lightweight E-Type of Peter Lumsden, Sutcliffe and Stoop were optimistic of a strong result. Sadly, in the race, the Shelby Cobra of Tommy Hitchcock went off at Wahrheiten and Sutcliffe was unable to avoid the car, leading to his retirement. After the race, the car was returned to Jaguar, where it was quickly repaired.
1964 Reims 12 Hours
A few weeks later, on 5 July, Sutcliffe and this Lightweight once again took to the track, this time at Reims for the 12-hour race, round 10 of the World Sportscar Championship. Wearing race number 17, Sutcliffe was joined by fellow Brit William “Bill” Bradley. The pair qualified as the leading Lightweight, ahead of the sister car of Dick Protheroe. The 12-hour endurance race started at midnight on Saturday, with this Lightweight crossing the finish line 2nd in class after a gruelling race! This was yet another great result for the Lightweight, which was continuously proving itself to be consistently competitive!
1964 Grand Prix de Limbourg
After another stop at the Jaguar factory for service work, and a race at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix meeting, Sutcliffe and YVH 210 returned to the continent for the Grand Prix de Limbourg at Zolder, Belgium. Lining up 5th on the grid, Sutcliffe could see his path to the front and immediately made his way to 3rd, before passing the Lotus of Buerlys, to cross the line an incredible 2nd overall! Behind Sutcliffe were three Ferrari 250 GTOs, two Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinettas and the Ferrari 250 GT/L ‘Lusso’ of Charly Muller, which we are also very familiar with, having sold the car last year.
After the successful Zolder meeting, Sutcliffe and this Lightweight returned to the UK, where the pair competed at both Brands Hatch and the RAC Tourist Trophy race at Goodwood in September. At the end of September, a 4th place finish at the Autosport 3 Hours at Snetterton was the final result before Sutcliffe returned the Lightweight to Jaguar for work in advance of shipping the car to South Africa, where he would compete over the European winter months.
During this service, and without Sutcliffe’s knowledge, Jaguar upgraded the four-speed gearbox to a five-speed ZF unit, enlarged the rear arches to fit wider rear wheels and tyres and fitted a differential oil cooler. Although these were performance-orientated improvements, Sutcliffe himself confirmed to us that he was surprised he had not been told of the updates; however, it does show how important it was to Jaguar that these Lightweights continued to be impressive in competition around the world.
1964 South African Tour
The first event in South Africa for Sutcliffe and this Lightweight was the Rand Daily Mail 9 Hour Endurance Race, better known as the Kyalami 9 Hours. Sutcliffe chose friend Dickie Stoop to once again join him, with the pair qualifying 4th on the grid. At precisely 2:00pm, the flag fell, marking the start of the race, with Sutcliffe immediately making progress, crossing the line at the end of the first lap 2nd overall, only headed by the sports-prototype Ferrari 250 LM of David Piper. Once Sutcliffe handed over driving duties to Stoop, the car developed small issues with the cylinder head, which led to a loss of three laps; however, after three hours of racing, Stoop was leading his class, holding 3rd place overall, a position which was held until the chequered flag fell at 11:00pm! Class victory at the Kyalami 9 Hours was a massive result, especially considering it bested a Shelby Daytona Coupe!
An assessment of the engine after the nine-hour endurance race showed the block as being cracked, a common failure on these lightweight competition alloy engines. With the next race only four weeks away, Sutcliffe urgently contacted the Jaguar factory and requested a new block be sent to South Africa immediately. The factory obliged and arranged for the block to be sent, with copies of this correspondence included in the car’s remarkable history file.
South Africa proved to be a successful expedition for Sutcliffe and this Lightweight, for at the next race, the Rhodesian Grand Prix at Bulawayo Raceway, the pair finished 2nd in class in race one and 1st in class in race two! Then, at the Rand Grand Prix at the Kyalami circuit in early December, there was another class win. Races in early January at the Kyalami and Killarney circuits saw one more race victory and three 2nd place class finishes!
At the end of January 1965, Sutcliffe returned to Europe with this Lightweight and advertised the car for sale in Autosport magazine. The advert read, “Lightweight E-Type. Last of these cars made. June 1964. Maintained only by factory. Fitted every modification. Wide wheels, special fuel injection system, 5-speed box. This car has had a 100 per cent reliability in racing. Placed 1, 2 or 3 in last 8. Car now being serviced by Jaguar and will be race ready for a full trouble-free season. Suitable also as a fantastic road car. A quantity of spares are also available — sensible offers to P. Sutcliffe, Greystones, Birkby, Huddersfield. Phone: 20479.”
Charles Bridges, Richard Bond & The Red Rose Racing Team
Charles Bridges of the Red Rose Racing Team bought the car from Sutcliffe, in a deal put together by Richard “Bondini” Bond. The Red Rose Racing Team repainted the car red, to match their team colours, and ran the car for Richard Bond to compete with throughout the UK. Bond recalls, “I think we had some brilliant results. Virtually every time we went out, we were placed, even if one didn’t win. We did virtually every club race that was available at Oulton Park, which meant every other weekend. I went to Silverstone, Aintree occasionally — I think those were the main ones.” At the first meeting at Oulton Park, Bond and this Lightweight took two race victories and set the fastest lap time!
In September 1965, this Lightweight was entered in the five-hour relay race at Oulton Park, with Bond joined by Charles Bridges and John Cuff behind the wheel. The team performed faultlessly, finishing 1st overall — over two laps ahead of the 2nd place finisher!
Robert Vincent & Mike MacDowel
In October 1965, the car appeared once gain for sale in Autosport magazine and was then bought by Robert “Bob” Vincent in Lancashire, England, who re-registered it on the UK licence RV 7. Charles Bridges recalls, “He was just a gentleman racer, Bob. He did it for the fun of it, and he had obviously got money to buy it and to run it. Collar and tie job, it was with Bob — he was a great guy. He certainly looked after that car and prepared it well, especially from the presentation side of it. The underside of the bonnet was just like a mirror. He must’ve spent hours and hours at that — the whole presentation of the car was fantastic. He had a garage and a hotel.” Being related to the Vincent motorcycle company probably explained his interest!
In early January 1966, Vincent wrote to Jaguar, confirming his ownership of this Lightweight and asking for any information or literature relating to the car. Again, copies of this correspondence are included in the car’s history file. Having competed at several events, regularly finishing on the podium, Vincent sent the car to Jaguar for work, including an engine and brakes check and a gearbox rebuild.
The year 1967 saw Vincent enter the GT race at Oulton Park on 1 April, before the car was again sent to Jaguar for service and maintenance work. Shortly after this, the car was sold to Robert “Bob” Jennings for £3,000. “I did 30 sprints and hill climbs that season,” claimed Jennings, “and I think I was only beaten once by a guy with a 250 Ferrari. That was the only time I was 2nd in class. I had a delightful season. I bought it for £3,000 and I sold it to a guy for £5,000 — the only time I ever made a profit on a racing car.”
Jennings shared driving the car with Mike MacDowel, a racing driver who previously competed for Maranello Concessionaires in a Ferrari 250 GTO. MacDowel was also appointed director at Coombs of Guildford. The pair enjoyed many successful events together, claiming victory at many national hill climbs, with Jaguar regularly working on the car and supplying spare parts.
The Bryan Corser Collection
In August 1968, this Lightweight was sold to Shrewsbury solicitor Bryan Corser, famous for his fine collection of Jaguars, including an XK120, XK140, XK150, C-Type, D-Type and XKSS! Corser had the car repainted dark green, as he did his entire collection, and re-registered the car with licence SVM 740. A copy of the UK log book from this time and corresponding MOTs are contained within the accompanying history file. Corser regularly used his cars, although they did not lead a strenuous life in his ownership.
The Walter Hill Collection
In 1976, this Lightweight visited its third continent and formed part of another sizeable and important Jaguar collection, this time with new owner Walter Hill in Florida, USA. Hill also owned two XKSSes, two Jaguar C-Types, a D-Type, four XK120s, twenty-seven E-Types, two Group 44 XJR5s and a Ford GT40. Painted on his wall was the following: “Their sweet lines all but take my breath away, and I desire them as much for their beauty as for their use.” Early during his ownership, Hill had the car fully restored, painting the car green with red leather seats. In 1983, the car was also featured in Car Collector magazine, a copy of which accompanies the car’s history file.
Returning to Europe & Winning Ways
This Lightweight remained part of the Walter Hill Collection for a staggering 29 years, until it was sold to Juan Barazi, who returned the car to England. Barazi is an enthusiastic and accomplished racing driver, having competed at the Le Mans 24 Hours six times; however, it is with this Lightweight that Barazi experienced his greatest competition success. Having entrusted the car to competition specialist DK Engineering, the car was sympathetically restored, with the body being sent for repaint in the original Dark Metallic Green. David Cottingham of DK Engineering commented, “It’s a very good car — much easier to drive than other E-Types. It’s not unsettled when you put the brakes on — shock absorbers, spring rates — it’s got a very good limited slip differential in it too.”
Barazi competed at the 2006 Goodwood Revival RAC TT race. Partnered with Michael Vergers, Barazi and this Lightweight not only set the fastest lap but also claimed victory — a victory the pair repeated a year later in the same RAC TT race! Back-to-back victories at Goodwood’s premier event is a tremendous accomplishment!
Juan Barazi commented, “They not only have to be pretty, they have to go well too, so this is how I came to start racing this one. I have driven a lot of race cars and road cars, and this one is very, very good to drive. It just handles very beautifully, both in the dry and in the wet. It’s fast, nimble. It’s fun. It’s a really top car.”
In 2010, this Lightweight was reunited with its original UK registration, YVH 210, before being sold to Jonathan Turner. A Yorkshireman, Turner commented, “The chance to bring the highly successful Sutcliffe car back to Yorkshire was one too good to miss.”
With its current European owner for five years, this Lightweight has been maintained by Pearsons Engineering, having received very little use. Amazingly, in period John Pearson even worked on this car for Peter Sutcliffe at various events. With it’s current owner, it has joined a superb stable of competition cars, including a Sauber-Mercedes Group C, Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT 3 and TT 12, Ferrari 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ Competizione and Ferrari 512 BB LM.
Today, this Lightweight Competition E-Type is presented with a freshly rebuilt engine, ready to be enjoyed on either the race circuit or on the open road, exactly as its first owner, Peter Sutcliffe, did in the early 1960s! Having regularly and consistently beaten the Ferrari 250 GTO and Shelby Daytona Coupes in period competition, this alloy-engined Lightweight E-Type represents a magnificent opportunity to own one of the most historically significant and most successful Jaguar Lightweight E-Types.
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