In 1963, Jaguar built a series of lightweight, aluminum-bodied E-Types specially designed for competition. Known as the Lightweight E-Type, just 12 were originally built, with six more continuation examples added to the tally in 2014.
Expert E-Type restorer Eagle has attempted its own version of the Lightweight E-Type, this time designed as a road car rather than a race car. It’s a bit like how Jaguar itself transformed some of its D-Type race cars into the road-going XKSS in the 1950s.
Starting with an original Jaguar Series 1 E-Type, Eagle’s team get their hands on pretty much every piece of the car, tweaking it, retuning it or reworking it to improve performance and decrease weight. The resulting car is known as the Eagle Lightweight GT, and it’s a stunning piece of machinery.
It also has the performance to back up the looks. It weighs just 2,242 pounds dry, and under the hood sits the original-type Jaguar inline-6, tuned here to deliver 380 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, and increasing displacement to 4.7 liters. The engine’s iron block has also been swapped for a lighter aluminum unit.
Coupled with the lightweight body, the engine will see the Lightweight GT run to 60 mph in under 5.0 seconds and top out somewhere above 170 mph.
Those numbers are competitive with modern sports cars, so Eagle has added some modern safety features. These include four-piston brake calipers from AP Racing, independent wishbone suspension with Ohlins adjustable dampers, and 16-inch wheels with modern rubber. The wheels are peg-drive magnesium alloys with aluminum three-eared wheel spinner nuts.
Approximately 8,000 hours go into the build, with more than a quarter of this required for the body alone. Every panel of the donor Jaguar E-Type is replaced with lightweight aluminum pieces, many formed by hand. The subtle design elements of the Lightweight E-Type are all faithfully recreated, including the enhancements to aerodynamics such as the deeper rear ramp angle, the deeper sills (which also increase stiffness), and the increased rake of the windshield.
The interior is also beautifully restored, with subtle changes made to improve comfort. For example, the design of the floor pan, pedal mountings and rear bulkhead are tweaked to increase legroom, while the seats are redesigned to improve ergonomics and impact safety. Even the controls for the seat adjustment are tweaked to make them easier to use.
Eagle’s new Lightweight GT is currently available to order and sits alongside the company’s existing Jaguar E-Type variants consisting of the Speedster, Low Drag GT, and Spyder GT. Pricing was not announced.
This article was originally published by Motor Authority, an editorial partner of ClassicCars.com.