A Real Lightweight: Photo Essay
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"Is she fast? She won the Gran Prix last year! I bought her off Simonelli's widow for 200 quid." Fred Astaire, On the Beach

I recently had the opportunity to examine the Bob Jane Lightweight (no. 10). The car was delivered to Australia in November of '63, where it took the Australian GT Championship at Calder in it's first outing on December 8, 1963. In short order, Jane took the Production Sports Handicap at Catalina, the New South Wales Touring Car Championship, then continued on to win at Warwick Farm, setting track records in the process. 1964 began with Jane winning again at Calder, before settling for third place at the Sports Car Scratch. Then followed another victory at Warwick Farm, followed by a couple of victories in the Tasman series (shown below).


As the 1964 racing season in Australia came to an end, the car was shipped back to Europe for a season of GT racing. In preparation, the car was fitted with a huge long-range fuel tank and was sent back to Brown's Lane for a ZF five speed transmission (it had initially been equipped with a D-Type 4 speed). The racing season in Europe produced no victories, but the car ran well against stiff competition.

In the 1965 season, the Lightweight finished third in the New South Wales Improved Production Sports Car Race, then followed with an outright win at Bathurst.At Catalina, the car was involved in a spectacular accident, but was not seriously damaged. On July 17, at Warwick Farm, the aluminum block engine blew up, The car returned to racing on September 26, finishing third at Sandowne. November 14 it finished fourth in the Australian Touring Trophy.

The car made it's final racing appearance on September 18, 1966 at Warwick Farm, winning the Country Club GT Trophy, pressed hard by Lotus (above). Following this, the car spent many ignominious years as an advertisement for Jane's tire (tyre) franchises. At some point, the big ZF gearbox was disposed of, and a Moss four speed was installed. Other modifications included standard E-Type bumpers, fore and aft. The wheels, which are magnesium, were stripped and buffed to a high polish. The roof vent was removed, and the roof sealed for better weatherproofing (below).

The car has evidently been partially restored since this period, the bumpers have happily been stripped and the paint is done in Cunningham team colors (Bob Jane ran with red and yellow stripes). Above are some frontal views of the car. The bumpers have been removed, revealing the original clean lines. There are no chrome surrounds on the headlamps, and the covers are perspex. I have attempted to show the oil cooler scoop in the low shot, without much success. The oil cooler is located behind and below the radiator, canted downward at about a 45 degree angle. A scoop under the radiator support directs air up and through it. Note the camber of the front wheels, the upper control arms have been relocated to make this possible. There are no exterior mirrors. The Cunningham stripes are NOT original to the car, somebody's idea of a restoration.

This is the rear view. The most dramatic feature of these cars are the roof and boot vents. The roof vent is intended to cool the cabin. The boot vent is intended to allow cooling for the rear brakes. As can be seen in several of these photos, the car is only painted where you can see...no need adding the weight of paint to the interior of the trunk or the underbonnet areas! There are five holes in the boot floor, just above the rear axle. Also note that there are air scoops on the inboard brakes. Air funnelled by these scoops cooled the brakes, blew up throught the holes in the boot floor, and out the vent in the lid. The odd shaped cleats are designed to retain a spare tire, which was required for certain types of endurance racing.Note also the huge long range fuel tank, installed in preparation for the 1964 European campaign. Evidence of body damage near the tank sump may be the remains of the accident at Catalina in 1965.Finally, note the lower control arm: the arm is a Mark X arm, "cut and shut" to provide a wider track. Unseen, the rear brakes are Mark X units.

A few shots of the interior. It is very much an ordinary E-Type on the inside, It's hard to say whether this was all original. The center dash is standard Series I, except it only has switches for headlights, panel lights, wipers, and washers. There is also a control knob for the cabin ventilator (which will be discussed shortly). The seats are clearly original...these are the aluminum frame racing seats installed into all the lightweights. There is evidence of a five point seatbelt having been installed on the driver's side only. Note the transmission is a Moss box...the various access holes cut into the tunnel are evidence of the D-Type box and ZF which preceded it. The speedometer is a 160mph unit, perhaps a late replacement from a Series II car, as is the tachometer. Neither is functional. Note the simple roll bar. At LeMans, Salvadori was thrown out the rear window in the accident which wrecked 5116 WK...that must have hurt! The side windows are perspex, and have no winding mechanisms...they are held in place by friction, and are slid up or down with handles screwed right through the perspex.

A couple of under bonnet shots, illustrating the cabin ventilation arrangement. Note the odd aluminum casting on the bulkhead. There is a flap inside of this controlled by the knob on the dash. Note the mating casting on the bonnet. this is extended to the "mouth" with simple tubing. There is a similar tube on the right which allows cold air in for the induction system. Note also that the windshield washer has been repositioned.

Some additional underbonnet shots. Note the large drysump tank. The center shot shows some of the complex dry sump plumbing: the pump is internal, driven directly by the crank. The exhaust is a tri-y tube manifold, it appears to be original. Note the modifications to the front suspension, there is almost nothing remaining common to the original E-Type. The tires, front and rear are 6.50L15, they may have been larger during it's racing career. The wheels are magnesium pin drive Dunlops. The brakes are modified Mark X units, the upper control arm has been lowered, fulcrum shaft lightened, there are uprated torsion bars and sway bar, and the rack is hard mounted. The radiator header tank is aluminum. The radiator appears to be stock E-Type. The temperature sensor connects to an odd right-angle fitting, there was not otter switch fitting in evidence. There is no engine cooling fan: you really don't need one at 170mph!

The odd arrangement of brake fluid bottles is apparently intended to prevent excess fluid from overflowing onto the track. The entire pedal arrangement is unique to the Lightweight. There is no power booster, the pedal manually operates two master cylinders, one for front and one for rear brakes. The car was one of the first to use Lucas fuel injection. This is an all mechanical system, and operates sequentially. This car has butterfly throttles, the earlier Lightweights had a slide throttle.

This Australian Motoring and Motorsport Webring site owned by Michael Frank.
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