They really do have 9 lives: Jaguar reincarnates the 1963 Lightweight E-TYPE

Carmakers often try to recapture the magic of past products with retro styling and nostalgic names, but it’s uncommon for one to literally rebuild one of these legendary models.

Yet that’s exactly what Jaguar is doing with the Lightweight E-TYPE, a racing version of the iconic sports car that debuted in 1963. Instead of ripping the sound insulation out of an F-TYPE, Jag will actually bring back it ’60s forebear for a limited production run.

The Lightweight E-TYPE was built for European GT racing, and featured an aluminum monocoque chassis, as well as aluminum body panels and an aluminum hard top. Its 3.8-liter straight six featured an aluminum block for further weight savings. The finished cars weighed around 250 pounds less than a standard E-TYPE.

It sounds like the recipe for a successful racer, but it was not to be. While the Lightweight was raced by greats like Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill, it was soon outclassed by more advanced cars like the Ferrari 250 GTO.

Jaguar didn’t exactly need a racing program to promote the popular E-TYPE, so only 12 of the planned 18 cars were produced. Eleven of the originals are believed to survive today.

That’s where Jaguar’s new scheme comes in. The company views it not just as a plan to reproduce these rare cars, but also to complete the original production run by building those “missing six”.

The six cars will be hand-built by Jaguar to the original specifications, and will feature the same 3.8-liter straight-six engine. It’s unclear what will be done with them once they’re completed, but expect to pay a lot to put one in your garage.

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