Jaguar XKE Series 1 3,8 Lightweight

Car producer : 

Jaguar

Model:

XKE Series 1 3,8 Lightweight

Year:

1961-1963

Type:

Coupe



The Series 1 was introduced, initially for export only, in March 1961. The domestic market launch came four months later in July 1961. The cars at this time used the triple SU carburetted 3.8 litre six-cylinder Jaguar XK6 engine from the XK150S. Earlier built cars utilised external bonnet latches which required a tool to open and had a flat floor design. These cars are rare and more valuable. After that, the floors were dished to provide more leg room and the twin bonnet latches moved to inside the car. The 3.8-litre engine was increased to 4.2 litres in October 1964.

The 4.2-litre engine produced the same power as the 3.8-litre (265 bhp;198 kW) and same top speed (150 mph;241 km/h), but increased torque from 240 to 283 lb·ft (325 to 384 N·m). Acceleration remained pretty much the same and 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) times were around 7.0 seconds for both engines, but maximum power was now reached at 5,400rpm instead of 5,500rpm on the 3.8-litre. That all meant better throttle response for drivers that did not want to shift down gears. The maximum speed was 153 mph (246 km/h), the 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time was 7.6 seconds and the 1⁄4 mile (402 m) from a standing start took 15.1 seconds.

All E-Types featured independent coil spring rear suspension with torsion bar front ends, and four wheel disc brakes, in-board at the rear, all were power-assisted. Jaguar was one of the first vehicle manufacturers to equip cars with disc brakes as standard from the XK150 in 1958. The Series 1 can be recognised by glass-covered headlights (up to 1967), small "mouth" opening at the front, signal lights and tail-lights above bumpers and exhaust tips under the number plate in the rear.

3.8-litre cars have leather-upholstered bucket seats, an aluminium-trimmed centre instrument panel and console (changed to vinyl and leather in 1963), and a Moss four-speed gearbox that lacks synchromesh for first gear ("Moss box"). 4.2-litre cars have more comfortable seats, improved brakes and electrical systems, and an all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox. 4.2-litre cars also have a badge on the boot proclaiming "Jaguar 4.2 Litre E-Type" (3.8 cars have a simple "Jaguar" badge). Optional extras included chrome spoked wheels and a detachable hard top for the OTS.

A 2+2 version of the coupé was added in 1966. The 2+2 offered the option of an automatic transmission. The body is 9 in (229 mm) longer and the roof angles are different. The roadster and the non 2+2 FHC (Fixed Head Coupe) remained as two-seaters.

Less widely known, right at the end of Series 1 production and prior to the transitional "Series 1½" referred to below, a very small number 10 to 20 Series 1 cars were produced, with open headlights in the uk, these series one cars that had their head lights modified by removing the covers and altering the scoops they sit in, the headlights differ in several respects from the "production" Series 1½, the main being they are shorter at 143mm from the production Series 1½ at 160mm .Production dates on these machines vary but in right hand drive form production has been verified as late as March 1968. The low number of these cars produced make them amongst the rarest of all production E Types.

Following the Series 1 there was a transitional series of cars built in 1967–68, unofficially called "Series 1½", which are externally similar to Series 1 cars. Due to American pressure the new features were open headlights, different switches, and some de-tuning (using two Zenith-Stromberg carburetters instead of the original three SUs) for US models. Some Series 1½ cars also have twin cooling fans and adjustable seat backs. Series 2 features were gradually introduced into the Series 1, creating the unofficial Series 1½ cars, but always with the Series 1 body style. A United States federal safety law affecting 1968 model year cars sold in the US was the reason for the lack of headlight covers and change in switch design in the "Series 1.5" of 1968. An often overlooked change, one that is often "modified back" to the older style, is the wheel knock-off "nut." US safety law for 1968 models also forbid the winged-spinner knockoff, and any 1968 model year sold in the US should have a hexagonal knockoff nut, to be hammered on and off with the assistance of a special "socket" included with the car from the factory. This hexagonal nut carried on into the later Series 2 and 3.

An open 3.8-litre car, actually the first such production car to be completed, was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1961 and had a top speed of 149.1 mph (240.0 km/h) and could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in 7.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of 21.3 miles per imperial gallon (13.3 L/100 km; 17.7 mpg-US) was recorded.

Receptive nevertheless to the challenge of competing with Maranello's new thoroughbred, Jaguar moved a step further with the development of S850006, using it as the mold for 17 more competition cars. First entering the build process in October 1962, the racing E-Type also incorporated elements of an earlier works car known as the Low-Drag Coupe, for which Malcolm Sayers had revised his E-Type coachwork to feature a more aerodynamic roof and tail, including trailing exhaust vents

The new cars were lightened with aluminum alloy bodies and an aluminum hardtop that strengthened the shell's rigidity. The 3.8-liter competition engines were further upgraded with Lucas fuel injection and dry-sump lubrication, while the chassis was modified with a revised suspension geometry and myriad other competition parts.

Other than the development example, cars began numbering with S850659 and proceeded sequentially to S850669, all within the standard E-Type numbering. The only signifier of a Lightweight within the chassis number was the S prefix. As Jaguar didn't intend to build enough cars for the Lightweight to be homologated separately, the model was passed off as part of the production E-Type family even though very few parts were shared, and it was never formally marketed or acknowledged in sales materials. The lack of factory marketing has only contributed to the model's increased cachet over the decades, lending it a shroud of mystery.

The first two purpose-built Lightweights were completed in time for the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 1963, and team owners Briggs Cunningham and Kjell Qvale each acquired a car. While Bruce McLaren and Walt Hansgen finished 8th overall and second in class for Cunningham, Ed Leslie and Frank Morrill placed 7th overall and first in class for Qvale.

At the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, Cunningham entered three Lightweights with official support from the factory. While the two cars respectively driven by Hansgen and Augie Pabst, and Roy Salvadori and Paul Richards each retired early, the car piloted by Bob Grossman and Cunningham, himself, finished 9th overall and second in class. One can only speculate how well the car might have finished were it not for a two-hour delay caused by a brake issue.

Results in non-endurance events during 1963 were even better, with four victories by Hill and a multitude of top-three finishes by Salvadori and Peter Sutcliffe at venues like Goodwood, Silverstone, Mallory Park, and Snetterton. In total, just 12 examples of the E-Type Lightweight were built, with production never actually reaching the original target of 18 cars.

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