There is nothing like an E-Type Jaguar, for style, pizzazz or sheer high-performance beauty.
When it was launched in 1961, the E-Type took the auto world by storm. Old men wished they were young again, young men wished they had the cash to buy one, and everyone declared them drop-dead sexy beasts. And this was well before Austin Powers came along.
Even Enzo Ferrari, never known to heap praise on competitors, called it “the most beautiful car ever made.”
The E-Type Lightweight is another iteration of this famous roadster, a racing version stripped to its shorts to save weight, yet as identifiable as any E-Type. Autoart’s gorgeous opalescent dark green model in 1/18 scale sets a high bar for detail, and its $220 price tag indicates its preciousness.
Jaguar’s E-Type Lightweight was born of necessity to create a lighter weight racer, but just 12 complete cars, and two extra bodies, were made. E-Types were successful club and SCCA racers, but unlike their predecessors, the Jaguar C-Type and D-Type, never won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The D-Type, which the E-Type was based on, won Le Mans three times from 1955 to 1957.
Even a base E-Type would do 150 mph and leap from 0 to 60 mph in less than seven seconds. The car featured disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering and independent suspension front and rear. Yet its monocoque construction was its unique feature. It used a subframe up front to carry the engine and then that along with the front suspension and bodywork were bolted right to the body’s tub.
Naturally the Lightweight was of similar design, but it was a bigtime user of aluminum alloy for body panels. Most also were open-top racers, with a roll bar built in for safety. The Lightweight’s 3.8-liter engine block was lighter too, again made of aluminum and cranking 300 horsepower, up from 265 in the street car.
The Lightweights originally came with four-speed gearboxes, plus three Weber carbs, and a Lucas mechanical fuel injection system.
There’s a rear-opening hood with what appear to be leather straps holding it down, but they aren’t connected, just overlap with fake straps on the car’s lower portion. So the hood easily tilts forward to reveal a beautifully detailed engine with six exhaust ports, a black battery, the various liquid containers needed for lubrication and braking, and all the wiring and plumbing you’d expect along with the monocoque’s support bracing.
Under the trunk lid is a giant steel gas tank with the gas cap sticking up through the vented trunk lid. Down below are long thin chrome dual exhausts too.
Lights front and rear are beautifully executed with black trim around the headlights and the gaping mouth on the nose is ringed in white paint, a nicely detailed mesh piece guarding the radiator. Red and white Jaguar logos are printed on the nose and tail and there are white circles printed on the hood and doors where a racer’s number could be placed.
In addition to the opening hood and trunk, the Doors open here too and include chrome-rimmed window frames and a green flap to aid airflow while racing. The windshield looks sharp too with a chrome center support that holds a mirror and black window frame. Three, yes, three chrome windshield wipers are poised to keep the windscreen clean too.
There’s also a hardtop you can affix to the racer, complete with a rear window. But it’s easier to see inside without it in place. And inside, the Jag’s cockpit is particularly sharp with two black racing seats equipped with full shoulder and lap belts and clasps. There are tall chrome shift and brake levers and a wood-look steering wheel with chrome three-spoke hub, each spoke including five drilled holes. The dash is exquisite too with six detailed gauges, a bevy of buttons and red handles to set off the floor-mounted fire extinguisher.
Wheels are standard racing fare with spinners while the tires are treaded, but not branded.
A stellar effort by Autoart that bridges the gap between nicely detailed curbside models and the ultra-extreme detail of say a CMC kit, at less than half its price.
Vital Stats: Jaguar E-Type Lightweight
Stock No.: 73648