Jaguar E-Type Lightweight #15 – Spark

 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight #15
 Pilots: B. Grossman, B. Cunningham
 Team: B. S. Cunningham
 Race: 9th overall (2nd in GT 4.0 class) at Le Mans in 1963
 Spark - S2104 (resin) 

Published 03/23/19

Jaguar Cars Ltd produced the E-Type (called  XK-E in North America) between 1961 and 1975. Based on the Le Mans winning D-Type, it carried over quite a few characteristics from the race car. For instance, the front subframe supported the engine, something new for the early 60’s. Also, the front suspension and front bodywork were bolted directly to the body tub. With that, the car was quite light, without loss of rigidity. After three consecutive victories at La Sarthe, by 1957 Jaguar retired the D-Type, and even dismantled their racing department.

The Lightweight’s aluminum body made a lot of difference in terms of weight.

But with E-Type production in full swing, in 1962 Jaguar offered its racing customers factory support. Briggs Cunningham was one of three such owners to enter an E-Type coupe at Le Mans that year. And the car showed great potential: Cunningham’s #10 finished in 4th place overall. With the encouraging result, Jaguar set out to build a race-specific E-Type. Jaguar designated this model the E-Type Lightweight.

E-Type Lightweight
From afar, the Lightweight looks almost exactly like a regular hard-top E-Type.

To retain the E-Type’s homologation as a GT car, the body could suffer modified but not the chassis. So though the stock steel monocoque stayed, the car got a brand new aluminum body. Up front, Jaguar swapped the stock steel XK straight-6 for one in aluminum. Displacing 3781 cm³, it counted on 12 valves, DOHC and Lucas fuel injection to produce 344 hp. In the end, the Lightweight version was around 300 kg lighter than the passenger car. Jaguar planned to produce 18 units but ultimately only a dozen were reportedly built. For 1963, Cunningham got three Lightweights for La Sarthe, and they were pretty quick on classification. But on race day things didn’t go as planned: two of the cars were out before the 40th lap. However, Cunningham’s own #15 persisted to the end, even after a crash, and finished in ninth overall.

E-Type Lightweight
Though much more successful, the D-Type gets trampled by the E-Type in the looks department.

This #15 is chassis #S850659, and the car only raced that once at Le Mans. That was also Cunningham’s last go at La Sarthe. The car still exists to this day, in the hands of a private collector. The E-Type Lightweight was a great car, but it arrived too late. If Jaguar had released it earlier it could have been a serious contender for an overall win.

I have to say, this is one of the best looking cars of the 1960s.

But fortunately for the W-143 Garage, Spark invested in the car, and in model form it’s perfect. And, this model also gives me a certain taste of revenge. Back in my 1:18 days I had one, but had to make do with a gawd-awful Bburago version. Jezzuz Tap-Dancing Christ, now that was a stinker of a model… 🤢

Spark definitively avenged me 😎.

2 thoughts on “Jaguar E-Type Lightweight #15 – Spark”

  1. Adorei conhecer seu site/blog! Eu não tinha parado para ver antes. Super!!!!! Me deu saudades do outro 😃

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *