'Most individual' road-going Jaguar E-Type car sells for undisclosed sum

Bonhams has reported its sale of the immensely rare ex-Sir Robert Ropner 'Semi-Lightweight' E-Type Jaguar

The car was offered in Bonhams Collectors' Motor Cars and Automobilia Auction at the Goodwood Revival Meeting on 16 September, and is now sold for an undisclosed sum. 

The Jaguar will remain in the UK.  In addition to the Jaguar, a further number of motor cars were sold over a busy weekend that collectively raises the sale total comfortably in excess of £6.5m.

The Ropner Semi-Lightweight could trace its lineage to the now legendary batch of 12 Grand Touring competition cars known as the 'Lightweight' E-Types. 

The car was unique in this specification.  Sir Robert Ropner, a north-eastern shipping company magnate, was a good customer of Jaguar and, in consultation with their Chief Engineer, Bill Heynes, a tailor made special order car was produced incorporating many Lightweight features.

The Jaguar featured a production-type steel-skinned monocoque chassis with weight-saving aluminium bonnet plus numerous other definitive racing 'Lightweight' features. 

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.

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

The Ropner Jaguar also featured polished crankshaft and connecting rods, a lightened flywheel and high-lift camshafts and 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.

Described as "mouth-wateringly unspoiled and most individual of all essentially road-going E-Type Jaguars," the car was offered after some 30 years in the same sympathetic and highly enthusiastic ownership.

"The Goodwood Revival auction was very satisfying for us on the day, but now even more so with the successful sale of the star car," said James Knight International Managing Director of Motor Cars at Bonhams.

"The Semi-Lightweight has been acquired by an enthusiastic British collector and will continue to be used and enjoyed much like it has been for the past 47 years."


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