Britain has made some dominant race cars over the years, but few could hold a candle to the Lightweight E-Type – a car so legendary that decades later, Jaguar couldn’t help but complete the original production run.
The six continuation examples and the original twelve bring the total up to eighteen of these “GTO killers” that were known to beat the legendary Ferraris around most tracks. The example you see here is quite possibly the most exceptional, and now it’s going up for auction.
Chassis number S850664 was campaigned at Le Mans in 1963 on Jaguar’s behalf by the legendary American racer, constructor, and team owner Briggs Cunningham.
The car unfortunately did not finish the race, after one of the other Cunningham-fielded Lightweight E-Types (driven by Roy Salvadori) spun out on oil leaked from Bruce McLaren’s Aston Martin, crashing down on its own roof and bursting into flames. It was an unfortunate race for a noteworthy team, but the Cunningham E-Types became the stuff of legend just the same.
After competing in a handful of other races, the car became part of the collection at the Cunningham Museum in Costa Mesa, California, until its liquidation. It’s since past through the hands of several well-known collectors, but now it’s looking for a new home. It’s set to headline the Bonhams auction at the Quail Lodge in Carmel during Monterey Car Week this coming August.
No word on how much it’s expected to sell for, but Bonhams sold the last one of these (without Cunningham’s pedigree) to come up for auction for over $7 million in Scottsdale earlier this year, so don’t be surprised to see this one fetch an even higher price.
This year’s high-water mark, incidentally, stands so far at $7.7 million brought in for a ’59 Bugatti Type 57S at Amelia Island, and the top price achieved by a Jaguar (or any other British car) at $21.78 million for a D-Type at Pebble Beach last year.
(Photos courtesy of Bonhams/Litwinski and GP Library)