WORDS GUY ALLEN PHOTOS NATHAN JACOBS
Regularly voted as the best-looking car, ever, it’s impossible to dislike the profile of an E-type Jaguar. Back at launch in 1961, the looks were backed up by an impressive list of specs: monocoque chassis, disc brakes, independent suspension and performance topping out at a heady 150mph (240km/h).
Anyone who has watched the classic car market over the last decade will be aware of the meteoric rise in E-type prices, particularly if they are Series I cars. Effectively add a zero to the number you first thought of if it’s a factory lightweight.
What often gets forgotten in the buzz about the lightweights and their contemporaries is that as a customer you could order a very special and very quick car, built by the wizards at the Browns Lane workshop. This is an example of that handiwork.
Owner Anthony McMahon takes up the story: This was a special order by Jack Bryson, who was the distributor for Jaguars in the 1960s and seventies. It was a special order for his son, Hugh Bryson, so it was factory modified over in the UK, in Browns Lane, and it was to be raced.
The car arrived on May 23, 1965, and it was raced the next day. It was run in that night by Norm Crowfoot and Hugh, up and down the Calder Highway (in Vic). It was on the track the next day and came second behind a Le Mans Lotus Elite.
The car was then entered in the Surfers
It was eventually sold and had two or three owners, before my late father Lance purchased the car in 1973. It has spent much of its life sitting in a garage under blankets, which is why it’s in this condition, with original paint and interior. It’s incredibly rare to find an example this age that hasn’t undergone a significant restoration.
The factory modifications are comprehensive: lightened flywheel; high compression pistons; ported head; competition cams; competition clutch; close-ratio gearbox; lowered final drive ratio (3.54:1); altered exhaust system; wider chassis track than stock; lightweight E-type suspension incorporating alloy lower wishbone fixing arms; beefed-up anti-roll bars; upgraded brakes to Mk IX spec; cooling ducts in the bonnet for the front brakes and scoops for the rear brakes; triple-lace wire wheels (six rather than five-inch width); Dunlop “Green spot” competition tyres (the spare is still there!).
Inside, there are additional instruments, plus a tacho that reads to 8000rpm rather than 6000.
It’s a lovely piece of history. A lot of E-types suffered from bad rust, but this one, because it never gets wet, has never had a dot of it.
What’s it like to drive? Lovely. It has a very tall first gear – it will hit 100km/h – but it will do 13.4sec down the quarter, so it’s pretty quick for a car of this era.
The car did very few kilometres for many years, it just sort of sat around. So I had a fair bit of work done about six years ago. Essentially mechanical recommissioning, replacing seals, rebuilding brakes – that sort of thing.
It’s all spot-on, now. No oil leaks and it drives the way it should.
BODY: 2-door coupe – steel
ENGINE: twin overhead cam 3.8lt inline six
POWER: ~257kW @ 6500rpm
TORQUE: ~426Nm @ 4750rpm
TRANSMISSION: 4-speed manual
SUSPENSION: Front – indep. wishbones torsion bars; Rear – Indep. coils.
BRAKES: Disc front and rear, power assist.
WEIGHT: approx 1010kg