1960 Jaguar E2A Le Mans Sports Racer

It was left in a corner to be junked, but Guy Griffiths, the father of vintage racing everywhere, talked the factory into selling it to him

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By 1960, Jaguar had won the world’s most prestigious race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, five times-twice with its original competition-tailored C-type and three times with the tail-finned D-type. At that juncture, company head Sir William Lyons decreed that it was time for this sporting pedigree to benefit production with an all-new semi-monocoque design, which was to emerge in 1961 as the E-type.

One prototype for this model-the “missing link” between D-type and E-type-was “E2A,” a fuel-
injected 3-liter sports racing two-seater that was to be raced by American sportsman Briggs Cunningham’s team at Le Mans in 1960. The new “E2A” was to test several features of the forthcoming E-type, not least its independent rear suspension system in place of the live-axle of both the C- and D-type designs. Visually, the new car’s contemporary tail-finned rear bodywork recalled the charismatic D-type, while its handsomely proportioned one-piece forward bodywork presaged the E-type.

The Jaguar experimental department at Brown’s Lane, Coventry, completed the Jaguar E2A Le Mans Sports Racer in February 1960, and it was powered by an aluminum-block, fuel-injected, 3-liter, 6-cylinder engine. It was subsequently finished for the Cunningham team in its American racing colors, white overall with two parallel centerline stripes in dark blue.

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

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