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1963 Jaguar E

Story and History

1963 Jaguar E Type 3.8 Lightweight by Zealia Engineering

When presented with a car built and prepared by someone as respected as Brian Wilkinson, it's difficult to refuse

For those unaware of his engineering prowess let us please just cover a little of his background

As a Kiwi coming to this country, loving cars and racing he naturally fell into the field of Club racing in the 1960's (it has been said to me that he actually worked with Bruce McClaren in the F1 pits)

Whilst in the midst of the racing circle he met John Aley and with him, in 1964, they designed the first Aley roll over bar

In 1971 the FIA made safety roll cages mandatory in motorsport and so Brain set up the famous Safety Devices company in 1972

So well conceived and made were these roll cages that the company had grown to 50 employees by 1975 (a severe recession affected the UK economy from 1973 - 1975) so impressive growth indeed

The Camel Trophy people insisted that Brian and his team provide the full cages for the 4 x 4's on their initial adventure to the Amazon in 1980 - and they worked together on all future expeditions

In the mid 1980's Vauxhall contracted Safety Devices to prepare and run, the fiendishly fast Pentti Airikkala in his Astra GTE on the WRC

As you can see, Brian certainly was a highly capable and respected engineer

Looking for new challenges Brain set up Zealia Engineering specifically to make his own Lightweight E Types - only 10, we believe, were completed in total

Each was painstakingly put together and 'ours' took 3 years to complete

it is based upon a nice early car from 1963 which would have had the early metal dash plate and console cover too

Chassis 879798 was supplied abroad in LHD when new and still retains her original engine - well in as much as the block is the same. As you'll see below and from the photo's she has been appropriately modified to suit her new purpose

Finished in the original primrose yellow with correct black leather seating the vision Brian had, was to create a Lightweight in homage to the very famous and early version of John Coombes, known by its' registration number of 4 WPD

Moreover they chose to create a facsimile of the earliest period of the cars extensive racing history

Light and fast was a prerequisite, so too was, as safe as possible

There is the inevitable metal safety roll cage to cater for the latter and all outer panel work, except the tub are made of GRP to cater for the former (we can convert this to alloy for anyone desirous thereof)

So famous is 4 WPD, driven by the greats of the time, that an auto biography has been written in more recent by Philip Porter

A fabulous conversion, about which we can wax lyrical and list bits here and bobs there - but enough of parts listings

3.8 litre engine built to competition specification

5 speed Getrag gearbox

Original body tub, reinforced as per the original lightweights

Full roll cage by Safety Devices (as you would have guessed)

Head rests

Correct pattern peg drive lightweight wheels

Racing rubber

Dry sump lubrication

Ventilated boot floor for inboard disc cooling

Correct black hardura to floors, sills & gearbox tunnel

45 DCOE side draught Webers

These bits are the important things to us - more info' is kept here at the shop for those keen enough to find out more, or even to buy her

To quote from a previous long term owner "As a young man I heard a Hawker Hunter described as the E Type of the air. Well, to me the Zealia Lightweight is certainly the Hawker Hunter of the road. The glorious sound of the Jaguar engine lingers in the senses for hours like a fine glass of claret or a beautiful woman."


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