'Most individual' road-going E-Type Jaguar rolls into Goodwood cars sale

Bonhams has announced consignment of a very special car for its Collectors' Motor Cars and Automobilia Sale at the Goodwood Revival Meeting on September 16. 

In the 50th anniversary year of the E-Type Jaguar, the consignment is none other than the ex-Sir Robert Ropner 'Semi-Lightweight' E-Type. 

The Cunningham team car - which was driven in period by American road racing superstars Walt Hansgen and Ed Crawford - is widely regarded as one of the finest of all surviving Lister-Jaguars.

For the 1963 International motor racing season Jaguar built a now legendary batch of 12 Grand Touring competition cars known as the 'Lightweight' E-Types.  These Ferrari-baiters featured monocoque chassis which were aluminium-skinned - instead of steel-skinned - together with aluminium body panels and aluminium-block 6-cylinder 3.8-litre fuel-injected engines.

Two special road-going cars were also built by the five times LeMans-winning Jaguar marque, a roadster with hardtop and a coupe. The more prominent of the two was that now being offered for sale by auction at the Goodwood Revival Meeting.

It was sold to north-eastern shipping company magnate Sir Robert Ropner, and featured a production-type steel-skinned monocoque chassis with weight-saving aluminium bonnet and boot lid, plus numerous other definitive racing 'Lightweight' features. 

The ex-Sir Robert Ropner 'Semi-Lightweight' E-Type

It was powered by a special iron-block, wet-sump engine that featured the '35/40 wide angle' cylinder head made famous on the Le Mans-winning D-Type sports cars of 1955-57.

This special cylinder head had its inlet and exhaust valves disposed at a wider included angle than the standard production units, greatly enhancing gas flow and consequently power and torque.

The Ropner Jaguar's engine also featured polished crankshaft and connecting rods, a lightened flywheel and high-lift camshafts, and it breathed through three twin-choke Weber carburetors. Drive to the 'Lightweight' alloy Dunlop wheels was via a five-speed ZF 'box and Tork-Lok limited-slip differential.

The new car perhaps most distinctively featured neither bumper bars nor external bonnet handles, but wore the hardtop of the definitive 'Lightweight' competition cars.

On the open road Sir Robert Ropner's semi-Lightweight E-Type was capable of 165mph and he famously used its prodigious performance to the full whenever the traffic thinned and the opportunity presented itself.

This unspoiled and most individual of all essentially road-going E-Type Jaguars is offered after some thirty years in the same sympathetic and highly enthusiastic ownership.


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