Bonhams to sell two significant Jaguars at the Revival

Early, headlining entries at Bonhams' Goodwood Revival sale include an ex-Briggs Cunningham 1958 Lister-Jaguar - chassis BHL-101, the first of two 'Knobbly' Listers supplied to him - and a wonderful 'Semi-Lightweight' E-type formerly owned by Sir Robert Ropner.

The latter was on display at this year’s Goodwood Festival, where Bonhams’ highly successful 1 July sale grossed £7.25m. Unlike many historic E-types ‘on active service’ in historic racing today, the pale grey-green roadster (with hardtop) is in very original condition, exhibiting marvellous patina and exuding a charismatic aroma of aged leather, Wilton carpet and ‘engine’.

The car was delivered to the North-Western shipping magnate, Sir Robert Ropner, as one of only two ‘Semi-Lightweight’ E-types, the other being a FHC and both utilising some parts incorporated in the 12 ‘full-on’, racing Lightweights, such as an aluminium bonnet and boot, a 5-speed ZF gearbox and Dunlop alloy wheels.

The regular iron-block engine carries many Lightweight-spec components including a '35/40 wide angle' D-type cylinder head, polished crankshaft and connecting rods, a lightened flywheel, high-lift camshafts, and triple, twin-choke Weber carburettors.

The car is coming out of long-term ownership and represents one of the last chances for collectors to buy a genuine, works-modified-in-period Jaguar E-type.

The Lister is from an earlier era, when the famous Cambridge company built sports-racing cars ideally suited to the hurly-burly of short-distance racing, frequently beating equivalent works entries from Ferrari, Aston Martin and Jaguar. American multi-millionaire Briggs Cunningham was a staunch supporter of Jaguar as a marque, entering first D-types and then Listers and Lightweight E-types on an international (Sebring, Le Mans, etc.) as well as national level.

BHL 101 carries the early ‘Knobbly’ Lister bodywork and was a regular mount for frequent winner Walt Hansgen and Ed Crawford over the 1958 – 1959 seasons.

Commenting on the new entries to the Goodwood Revival sale, James Knight, International Managing Director of Motorcars at Bonhams said, "In recent years we have been privileged to have offered some very important Jaguars such as E2A and a customer D-type and we are thrilled to offer two more.

“This ‘Semi-Lightweight’ has never been offered for sale at auction before. From the initial interest received, we know it has struck a chord with top-end collectors who covet this unique and bespoke factory-supplied E-type. It is as close as you can get to the Competition Lightweights and is perhaps the ultimate road-going Jaguar.

“For those who covet a Lister, this example is the ideal combination and ticks every box on the wish-list: a car run in period by a well-known and respected team, Jaguar power, and ‘Knobbly’ body. You could not ask for more."

The Bonhams Goodwood Revival sale will take place on Friday, 16 September. See www.bonhams.com.

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Bonhams


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