Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations has revealed a new Lightweight E-Type prototype, preceding a line of only six due to be built.

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The car was handbuilt by Jaguar craftsmen at a new facility at the Browns Lane site in Coventry. This site is focussed on Jaguar Heritage. The prototype, titled Car Zero, was built following the announcement from Jaguar in May this year that it would be building six new lightweights.

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These cars will be built to the specification of the 1964 line of Lightweight E-type cars. Jaguar says that these are the ‘missing six’ cars from the original Special GT E-Type project, which began in February 1963.

Only 12 of the 18 planned aluminium-bodied Lightweight E-Type cars were built, which the last six chassis were left unfinished. Yet the current project picks up where the chassis were last left off.

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Managing director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations John Edwards said: “The E-type is an iconic car, and the Lightweight E-type the most desirable of all. To be able to complete the intended production run of 18, some 50 years after the last Lightweight was completed, was an opportunity we couldn’t miss.”

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The cars will be marketed as vehicles for period competitions and are set to be approved by the FIA for use in historic motorsports events.

Car Zero has an aluminium bodyshell as well as an aluminium trunklid, hardtop, bonnet and doors. Its six-cylinder XK engine is meant to replicate the power units of the original cars, along with its aluminium block, wide angle aluminium cylinder head and dry sump lubrication.

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To create the car, Jaguar called on engineers and technicians from its various departments and all were keen to get involved. Some were even connected distantly to the original E-type line, such as one master technician whose family were working for the marque when the cars were produced.

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Speaking about the team, director at Jaguar Heritage Business Derek Weale said: “The building of six new, meticulously crafted Lightweight E-type period competition cars by Jaguar Heritage is testament to the unique skills within the team. To know those same skills can also be utilised to the benefit of existing classic Jaguar owners means this is a very exciting time for Jaguar Heritage.”

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The aluminium body of the Lightweight E-Type cars is one of the things that set the line apart from its standard counterpart. It replaced the steel used in the production E-type and, as a result, shed 114 kg.

This characteristic helped engineer to get closer to the original design of the E-Type. The F-type and XJ models that are currently on sale also utilise aluminium bodywork as a means of reducing their weight. Jaguar is actually a global leader in the manufacture of cars with aluminium bodies.

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Yet the engineers refused to use modern techniques, such as aluminium alloys and bonded structures in the design of the new cars as they say that this would not have been true to the original design. For this reason, these cars would also not be allowed to take part in historic racing events due to FIA regulations.

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Car Zero is set to be unveiled on August 14th at the Pebble Beach Automotive weekend.

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