Simon Dunford
(Click on any photo to enlarge)
"It's all just a little bit of history repeating" Shirley Bassey, theme from Jaguar Ad

My car started life as 879127, a 1963 OTS. It had the usual start in life as someone's prized drive. Eventually, it fell into harder times, was raced a bit, and finally ended up in a Massachusetts wrecking yard. When I purchased it, it was little more than a box full of rust, just a donor car with little more to donate than it's identity. A new body was in order.

Simon Dunford's Classic and Sports Cars is a neat little company in East Sussex. His team of craftsmen turn out all-aluminum replicas of C-Types, D-Types, Low Drag Coupes, and Lightweight E-Types. They've recently picked up the manufacturing rights to the Kougar sports roadster. Most parts are made in-house, patiently rolled out on an English wheel. Assembly techniques are as close as possible to the originals. The availability of this type of craftsmanship give 879127 a chance to be reborn as a Lightweight E-Type

This is the new body, almost ready to ship. The body is completely made of aluminum panels, including the floorpan. The dull areas aren't lead, they are areas which have been sanded down after hand made aluminum panel sections have been joined or worked. The headlight covers are rimless perspex, as original. Steel has only been used for reinforcement, all in keeping with the factory cars. There are a few subtle modifications: some extra steel has been built into the rear axle area where the originals are prone to cracking. The front frame has been reinforced to make the structure more rigid. Should the car ever be seriously raced, special provision has been made to integrate the front and back subframes with a full roll cage. As delivered, it will have a simple roll bar, copied from the original.

Let's have a peek into the boot. Notice the detailing. The floor is riveted...the art of aluminum welding wasn't perfected in 1963, so Simon copied the original riveting pattern. The spare tire cleats are exact copies...a spare tire was required for certain types of endurance racing. Rather than simply perforate the boot floor above the rear axle, Simon has installed a removable cooling hatch. This will make it more comfortable to use the car on the road, while actually improving rear brake cooling for racing. The long range fuel tank is being trial fitted. This is a 35 gallon fuel cell, with a high quality Aston cap, precisely as original. My sidewindows will be sliding perspex panels.

Some more views of the car. Note the heavily reinforced picture frame, intended to provide a more stable front suspension. You can see the high quality of work on the interior. The transmission tunnel has been built to accommodate a big ZF five speed, as the original, although I will be using a modern five speed. Simon's folks are automotive scholars, here a workman pauses to consult Porter on a small detail.

Some additional details. There were several patterns of vents used in 1963, even though there were just twelve cars built. High mount, low mount, large and small vents were all possible. I liked the aggressive look of the large, high mounted vents on the Bob Jane car. The dry sump tank is a dummy, just for show, my engine will have a wet sump. The tank can be easily removed to save weight when racing. Simon creates or can obtain replicas of other parts, and can supply aluminum engine blocks and wide angle heads, if desired. My car will be equipped with pin drive wheels from Dunford's parts bin. These aren't just cheap multi-part alloy imitations, but real cast magnesium wheels. The molds were made from vintage Lightweight wheels.

Simon's Team

Text and Photos Copyright©2000 Michael Frank, all rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission.
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