The 8,000-hour process to build an Eagle Lightweight GT starts with stripping down an original Series 1 Jaguar E-type and replacing its original steel bodywork with aluminum in a more durable grade than the original Lightweight E-types. This alone takes nearly 2,500 hours, Eagle says. Other changes are made for improved drivability, including deeper side sills which increase torsional rigidity, larger wheel wells to house wider 16-inch wheels, and a 4.7-liter straight-six engine that Eagle touts is an “evolution” of the original “XK” mill and produces 380 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. A new alloy block, big valves, and special crankshaft, pistons, and connecting rods make the power gain possible.
Other details include making various castings out of lighter magnesium, including the gearbox and differential cases, the rear-hub carriers, and the oil sump. The gearbox is a five-speed full-synchro unit, and the suspension includes bespoke spring rates, Ohlins adjustable dampers, and various lightweight parts. The brakes use modern four-piston calipers.
Eagle says that unlike the original Jaguar Lightweight E-types, the Eagle Lightweight GT is designed first and foremost as a car to use on the road, making it far more livable than the race-spec, Jaguar-built cars, while still likely being a quicker car. To that end, the interior is trimmed luxuriously in leather, and Eagle says its customizing of the rear bulkhead and floor pans provides more head room and leg room for taller drivers. Again, Eagle doesn’t specify a price, but rest assured the 8,000-hours of specialist restoration work doesn’t come cheaply. Add to that the cost of a solid Series 1 E-type to begin with, which would run well into the five-digit range alone, even as just a shell.
Meanwhile, Jaguar Classic just announced it will now offer brand new 3.8-liter XK engine blocks as fitted originally to the E-type. The XK engine blocks are made from cast iron, as they were in-period, and customers who wish to purchase one for an existing E-type can have their XK engine block serialized correctly if they provide ownership documentation on the car it is going in. The XK engine blocks will cost approximately $17,914 each, and will receive a one-year warranty from Jaguar.
Original Jaguar E-type Lightweights were intended primarily for use as race cars in the mid-1960s and were stripped down, alloy-bodied cars with little regard for comfort or provisions for regular road use. Jaguar planned to build 18 of the cars, but as the E-type became less competitive in international sports car racing, the manufacturer only built 12 examples. Several years ago, Jaguar Classic decided to build six continuation E-type Lightweights in the same vein as the original cars in an attempt to finish the series. The cars sold out quickly at a reported cost of $1.6 million, and are today fully eligible for many vintage racing events.