HomeThe MarketCoveted 1963 Jaguar E-type ‘lightweight’ racer set for auction

Coveted 1963 Jaguar E-type ‘lightweight’ racer set for auction


The Jaguar E-type Competition Lightweight racing in period | Bonhams archive
The Jaguar E-type Competition Lightweight racing in period | Bonhams archive

In 1963, Jaguar built just 12 of its celebrated “lightweight” E-type race cars, and today they are considered something of a Holy Grail of British competition cars.

One of those original factory lightweight cars will be auctioned at Bonhams’ Scottsdale sale in January, the 10th one produced. The auction house describes the car as an “exceedingly well-preserved and documented championship-winning example.”

“Well-documented and exceedingly original, it has less than 4,000 original miles and has had just three owners from new,” Bonhams said in a news release. “This car is, without question, one of the best, most original examples of the factory lightweights in existence.”

The factory lightweight is said to be in highly original condition | Bonhams
The factory lightweight is said to be in highly original condition | Bonhams

The estimated pre-auction value of this rare cat is $7.5 million to $8.5 million.

Jaguar created the 12 E-type Lightweight Competition cars following the strong success of the automaker’s Le Mans-winning C- and D-type sports racers, although this time the designers used a production car, the newly introduced E-type, as the template.

With lightened aluminum bodies and engine blocks, reduced drag and fuel-injected, dry-sump versions of Jaguar’s 3.8-liter straight-six engines, the lightweights achieved much success in sports racing, even known to dominate the reigning Ferrari 250 GTOs on short tracks.

This one, chassis S850667, is the 1963 Australian GT Championship-winning car and has been out of the public eye for most its life, recently coming out of a private collection where it has been since 1999, according to Bonhams. Said to be highly original with most of its factory finish and interior, its emergence is a special event for Jaguar enthusiasts.

“It’s an honor to represent such an original and genuine example of these epic and legendary cars,” Jakob Greisen, Bonhams’ head of U.S. Motoring, said in the release. “Not only is this an incredible car by any measure, but it’s also the first time a lightweight E-Type has been offered in the U.S. for more than 17 years.”

The Bonhams’ Scottsdale auction takes place January 19 at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more information, visit the auction website.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. Funny how almost-completely unsuccessful race cars have become “icons” in modern auction-speak. Lightweight XKE’s only won races where there was no or nearly no real competition, because (1) they were underpowered (2) they weren’t much if at all faster than a well-prepared Corvette (3) DB4GT’s were faster and mostly (4) they couldn’t beat a stock Ferrari 250GT, much less a “SEFAC” Berlinetta Competizione and certainly never a GTO.

  2. Spirit: you are absolutely correct. These e-types were not prolific on the track. But there is no more buetiful car in all the history of auto making. Plus people LOVE the rallye wheels and bumperless racing config. Add in the rarity, early production year and lightweight components and you begin to justify the price.

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