Between 1963 and 1964 Jaguar built 12 Lightweight E-Type Jaguars with six cylinder engine blocks, monocoques and bodies all made from aluminium which saved 250 lbs / 114 kgs over the standard E-Type.
Today’s featured Ligthweight E-Type, chassis #S850659, is the seventh of the 12 to be built and was delivered to Briggs Cummingham in time for him to enter it into the Sebring 12 hours for Bruce McLaren and Walt Hansgen to drive.
Bruce and Walt finished the race in 8th place one place and one lap down on the class winning Kjell Qvalle lightweight E-Type #S850660 driven by Ed Leslie and Frank Morrill.
The cars next appearance was at Le Mans in 1963, where Walt Augie Pabst replaced Bruce McLaren to share driving the #14 with Walt. By this time Briggs has acquired two more lightweight E-Types to make up an impressive 3 car team.
After just 8 laps Walt retired the #14 with a broken four speed gearbox, the sister #16 manged just 40 laps before Paul Richards and Roy Salvadori retired with fire damage after an accident. Team Patron Briggs and Bob Grossman also had to pit after loosing it’s bonnet in an accident, but rejoined the race to finish 9th overall and second in class to the AC Cobra driven by Peter Bolton and Ninan Sanderson.
After Le Mans #S850659 was fitted with a 5 speed ZF gearbox by the factory and driven to a third place finish by Walt Hangsen in the 1963 Bridgehampton 500 kms.
The car seen in these photographs, by Geoffrey Horton at the Blackhawk Museum, last year was tested by Simon Taylor in 1996 when he described it as a “pussycat” to drive, a racing car one “could go shopping in”.
Thanks for joining me on this “Weight Saving Pussycat” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for “Ferrari Friday” tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !