BACK HOME WITH THE IN-CROWD
Stratstone’s Jaguar Lightweight E-type was turning heads at the Shelsley Walsh Championship Challenge, fresh from its race debut at the Le Mans Classic in July
Sunday, 21st August 2016 With the roar of racing cars in the background, and a sparkle of sun from above, Stratstone’s Lightweight E-type shone in the spotlight as it took centre stage at the Shelsley Walsh Championship Challenge. It was the perfect homecoming for Lightweight E-type No. 15 after its race debut at the Le Mans Classic weekend in mid-July.
Sitting alongside the third of Jaguar’s ‘Missing Six’ was one of its elder siblings – Lightweight E-type 4868 WK, one of the original 12 cars that were built back in the mid-1960s for loyal Jaguar customers to race.
4868 WK was initially bought by German Jaguar importer Peter Lindner, and was heavily modified with Jaguar aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer’s streamlined Low Drag bodywork at Lindner’s request, then was raced at the 1964 Le Mans 24 Hours by Lindner and his fellow German, Peter Knocker.
Only a few weeks later, Lindner was tragically killed in the car in an accident at the French circuit of Montlhery, and the car was impounded for 10 years. In 2011, it was comprehensively restored by the Classic Motor Cars firm of Peter Neumark – a process which took four years and 7,000 hours of work, but retained an astonishing 90% of the car’s original aluminium panels.
As you’d imagine, two such iconic pieces of British automotive engineering certainly caught the attention of the crowds. And, with this the first opportunity for many of the public to see Stratstone’s reborn Lightweight E-type in the flesh for the first time, we asked a few of them to give their impressions:
Motorsport enthusiast from Warwickshire
“This is my annual pilgrimage to Shelsley Walsh. I’m a real motorsport fan and a long-time Jaguar enthusiast – I used to love the Jaguar Mark 2 and XK120s, and I saw Jaguar win at Le Mans back in 1988 and 1990. The E-type was so far ahead of its time when it was introduced in 1961 – it was as fast as the Ferraris, but cost about half the price. It offered real sportscar performance for everyone – or those that could afford it. That iconic long bonnet that put it completely apart from what had gone before. It was a real breath of fresh air.”
Lawyer with DAC Beachcroft
“DAC Beachcroft are the lawyers for the Pendragon Group. I was kindly invited here today and as I’m a bit of a petrol-head, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. I really appreciate a classic car when I see one – especially one that has been built and maintained to a high standard, such as this. It’s those classic E-type lines that make it stand out. That elongated front-end; the cabin pushed right back to the rear end. It’s the perfect balance. It’s a gorgeous looking car. I’ll have to look down the back of the sofa to see if there are enough spare pennies to buy something similar.”
Stephen & Ann Goffe
Shelsley Walsh members from Bewdley, Worcestershire
“I’ve always been obsessed with Jaguars and E-types. It was the dream car for me when I was young, but I’ve never had the good fortune to own one. I just love them. They’re so elegant and timeless. It’s still such a lovely design – you can’t fault it. Stratstone’s Lightweight E-type is particularly lovely – it’s too nice to race! But it’s lovely to see it out on show today, and out being raced and being pushed hard. They were built to race, and should be raced.”
Motorsport enthusiast from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
“I love coming to Shelsley Walsh. It’s a two-hour trip from Aylesbury, but worth it. I learnt to drive in 1968, and I remember following a gunmetal E-type coupé along some country roads. I thought it was absolutely lovely. I can understand why Jaguar brought the Lightweight E-type back. Having been around when the original Lightweights were competing, they were a bit knocked about, and never looked quite as beautiful as this. Graham Hill drove one, Roy Salvadori another. You rooted for them because it was clearly a semi-private effort, compared to Ferrari. The E-type was never meant to be a serious race car, and I always backed the underdog.”
Graham and Trish Loakes
Competing on the hillclimb in a Porsche-engined Lola T492
“We’ve been Shelsley Walsh regulars for 26 years. When you’re my age, the Ford GT40 and the Jaguar E-type were what dreams were made of as a kid.
We’ve been to lots of races at Spa and Silverstone, and seen E-types tearing round in a pack, so it’s great to see one standing still, and up-close. The nice thing about this Lightweight E-type is all the racing details – the vents, the wheels, the aerodynamics, the triple wipers. Plus, race cars always look better with the slightly off-white race number roundel. It adds a bit of old-world charm. You can see the swoosh of the pencil when it was originally designed on the drawing board. In this stretched out, competition mode, it’s absolutely unbelievable. It’s a fabulous car that you can totally fall in love with.”