Eagle has unveiled a heavily upgraded version of the Series 1 E-Type, which pays homage to the 1963 factory Lightweight E-Type racer. It’s called the Lightweight GT and Eagle says it’s the most extensively modified Jaguar E-Type ever built, with the firm’s team of engineers sinking more than 8,000 hours into each example.
The process begins with a full strip-down of an original Series 1 E-Type. Eagle then swaps all of the car’s panels with hand-beaten lightweight aluminium replacements and adds a range of cosmetic upgrades, which are inspired by the original Lightweight model.
Revisions include a more steeply raked tail, an aero vent for the boot lid and deeper sills, which Eagle says improves chassis rigidity and allows the driver to sit lower down in the cabin, thereby improving the car’s centre of gravity.
Eagle has also enlarged the E-Type’s wheel arches, which has allowed space for larger, yet lighter, 16-inch peg-drive wheels. They’re made from a magnesium alloy and are modelled on the original Lightweight’s Dunlop racing wheels, albeit with a little more offset. In all, the body modifications take around 2,500 hours to complete.
Like the Eagle Speedster, the Lightweight GT is powered by a 4.7-litre straight-six, which is an evolution of the 4.2-litre engine used by the Jaguar C- D- and E-Types of the 1950s and 1960s. It features an aluminium block, triple Weber carburetors, a bespoke crankshaft, larger pistons, unique conrods and a new cylinder head with larger valves and a higher lift camshaft – all of which Eagle says has improved the engine’s breathing.
The engine has an output of 380bhp and 508Nm of torque and power goes to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. Wherever possible, Eagle has also swapped the original E-Type’s cast steel drivetrain components for magnesium replacements. The list includes a new gearbox case, bell housing, differential case, sump and rear hub carriers.
Thanks to Eagle’s extensive use of aluminium, magnesium, Inconel and titanium, the Lightweight GT tips the scales at just 1,017kg, which gives the car a power-to-weight ratio of 374bhp per tonne. Eagle also says it’ll sprint from 0–60mph in under five seconds, before reaching a top speed in excess of 170mph.
Despite these figures, though, Eagle says the Lightweight GT wasn’t designed to be a stripped-out racer – but rather a comfortable long-distance cruiser. As such, buyers get air conditioning, leather upholstery, more heavily bolstered seats and a comfort-biased Ohlins suspension system.
Eagle also tweaked the original E-Type’s pedal box and moved the car’s rear bulkhead to create a little extra legroom, which is a common complaint for the original car’s cabin. What’s more, the firm’s engineers even took the time to increase the amount of finger room around the seat adjuster, to make the car easier to live with on a daily basis.
Prices are yet to be confirmed. However, Eagle has said that it’s only going to build two examples of the Lightweight GT each year.
What do you make of the new Eagle Lightweight GT? Let us know in the comments section below…