The Ex-Dan Gurney/Walt Hansgen, Sir Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren
1960 Jaguar E2A Le Mans Sports-Racing Two-Seater Prototype
Registration no. VKV 752
Chassis no. E2A
Engine no. E5028-10, 3.8-liter installed, EE1301-10, 3-liter PI offered with car
Bonhams & Butterfields is thrilled to offer here one of the most significant surviving major-motor industry prototype cars ever to come to public auction. This unique and celebrated prototype Jaguar E2A - as driven by no fewer than four of the worlds greatest racing drivers, Dan Gurney, Sir Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren and Walt Hansgen is offered here direct from one long-term family ownership which has not only endured for the past 40 years, but which is also the cars first ownership ex-works. Jaguar E2A is offered here in wonderfully original and unspoiled ex-works condition, as last repainted and prepared cosmetically for sale to its private enthusiast owners.
By 1960 Jaguar had won the worlds most prestigious motor race, the Le Mans 24-Hours, no fewer than 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 had decreed that it was time for this phenomenal sporting pedigree to benefit production with an all-new semi-monocoque chassised design which was to emerge in 1961 as the now legendary Jaguar E-Type.
One prototype for this model the missing link between D-Type and E-Type emerged as E2A, a powerful fuel-injected 3-liter sports-racing two-seater that was to be raced by famous American sportsman Briggs Cunninghams experienced team at Le Mans in 1960.
The new E2A was to test several features of the forthcoming E-Type production model, not least its independent rear suspension system in place of the live-axle featured in both the C-Type and D-Type designs. Visually the new cars contemporarily tail-finned rear bodywork recalled the charismatic D-Type, while its handsomely proportioned one-piece forward bodywork presaged the lovely lines of the forthcoming E-Type.
The Jaguar experimental department at Browns Lane, Coventry, completed the car in February 1960, powered by an aluminum-block fuel-injected 3-liter 6-cylinder engine. It was subsequently finished for the Cunningham team in their famous American racing colors, white overall with two parallel centerline stripes in dark blue.
In the 1960 Le Mans 24-Hours, that June, Cunningham entrusted this unique beauty to the incredibly strong driver pairing of the contemporary BRM Formula 1 teams ex-Ferrari star Dan Gurney and veteran multiple SCCA Champion Walt Hansgen. Dan Gurney today revered as one of the most charismatic of all Americas great racing drivers and as creator of the enduring All-American Racers Eagle operation recalled of E2A:
The drive in that Jaguar was a big pearl for me. And it was a privilege to be sharing it with Walt Hansgen, one of my heroes. But wed had some difficulty with the cars handling. It was new, this was its first race, and the Jaguar engineers running it regarded Le Mans as their specialty.
But at first that car had been difficult to drive just down the straightaway. The least disturbance would send it into a series of tank slappers. My co-driver Walter Hansgen was such a faithful Jaguar man he didnt criticize, but I guess I was only interested in trying to win. I felt that if we left the car the way it was and it rained, wed be in real trouble.
So I made myself unpopular by tenaciously asking Cant we find why it is doing this? with Walter standing quietly like it didnt bother him. Through my constant questioning we finally found that theyd set up the car at the MIRA test ground with a fair amount of toe-out on the rear wheels. If the car leaned just a little, one way or the other, it was leaning on a wheel which would direct the tail in a different direction. We got them to change it, and it became a normal, good handling car
Dan Gurney and Walt Hansgen got along really well and as recorded in the wonderful biography Walt Hansgen, by Michael Argetsinger (David Bull Publishing, 2007) Walt himself noted: After talking it over with Mr Heynes and Tom Jones Bill Heynes being Jaguars chief engineer and Tom Jones one of E2As creators
it was decided to try
⅛-inch toe-in and 2° negative camber
at 12.30 Friday night the car was tried down the Mulsanne Straight. The handling was completely transformed and I was able to go down the road with one hand on the wheel, yet completely relaxed
As a matter of fact once the car was broken (away) or committed into a turn the road holding was excellent. In practice I crossed the car up on purpose going through the Indianapolis turn and was very pleased with the recovery
With the car handling so much better, both American stars were very quick and the car was said to be fastest along Mulsanne. But Jaguar had never had much luck with its XK 6-cylinder engines in 3-liter form as the FIAs Sports Car World Championship regulations had demanded since 1958 and now the jinx afflicted even E2As very special 3-liter aluminum-block unit with its Lucas fuel injection.
Walt Hansgen had taken the start, blasting away from the pit apron perhaps twelfth, yet blaring back across the timing line to complete the opening lap third amongst the works Ferrari 250 Testa Rossas and Camoradi team Birdcage Maseratis
and going like gangbusters!. But almost immediately he found E2As engine flat above 6,000rpm. Ending lap 3, he hustled into the pits. A split injector pipe was replaced but E2As engine had lost its edge, a piston perhaps compromised by running too-lean. Walt and Dan pressed on into the dusk with both car and weather deteriorating, but after six hours E2A had to be withdrawn due to a failed head seal and burned piston.
Today Dan Gurney recalls of Hansgen: I had enormous respect for Walter and hed earned it. He was certainly among the best American drivers in his time. He sort of made a statement with his foot more than most. He wasnt a braggart he had everyones respect.
After Le Mans, E2A was returned to Jaguar, where it was fitted with a 3.8-liter engine which the Cunningham team could run in American SCCA racing. The all-independently-suspended prototype car was then dispatched to New York in August and Briggs Cunningham immediately entered it for a minor event at Bridgehampton, Long Island.
Walt Hansgen preferred narrow-section Firestone tires there to Dunlops finest, and drove E2A to a dominant race win, from Cunningham team-mates Bob Grossman (Lister-Jaguar) and Bill Kimberly (Maserati Birdcage).
The team then prepared this unique Jaguar for the challenging Road America 500 on the fabulous Elkhart Lake road circuit in Wisconsin. As recounted in Mike Argetsingers superb book Walt Hansgen, the American hero recorded that race like this: A spare gas tank had been installed in the rear boot area behind the spare wheel
We carried 46 gallons and planned to use one fuel stop
.transfer of fuel from the auxiliary to main tank was to be switched on after 22 laps. The leading Maserati had lapped me by the time I switched over to the spare tank
the Maserati couldnt endure this type of performance for 500 miles (nor did it!). Dick Thompson, driving the General Motors Sting Ray, lapped me on the 30th only to spin
he (then) overworked the car; the brakes failed and he was out. I thus found myself second
with the 3-liter Ferrari driven by Augie Pabst leading.
Before refueling, the Jag had been circulating at 2:58 and 2:59. Mr Momo (Alfred Momo, Briggs Cunninghams chief engineer and team manager)
then realized that the leading Maserati was to stop only once for fuel and gave me the speed up sign. My times were then bettered to 2:54 and 2:57
By 100 laps (of 125)
we were over one minute behind, but the sky was darkening fast with threatening rain clouds. This provided me with a flicker of hope and I planned to make the most of it
The increasing rain resulted in numerous accidents. The second car went off the road
I was able to gain several seconds a lap in the rain, nevertheless found myself 21 seconds behind at the finish. Instrument readings were oil pressure 45 to 50lbs, water temperature 80°C, oil temperature 110°C, axle oil temperature 110°C to 120. When the rain started it went down to 80 so I turned the pump off. There were six remaining gallons of fuel in the tank at race end.
The engine performed better as the race progressed. My lap times improved even though the brakes became less efficient and I became more tired
.I was a bit vigorous with the gearbox. The only change I noticed in its performance was that it freed up some. Had we had a brake booster, I feel that I could have lapped
2:47 to 2:52 which would have been ample to have won the race
Mike Argetsinger records out that at the end Walt Hansgen was charging hard through the rain with E2As lights blazing, only for a small off on the final lap to leave narrow victory to Dave Causey/Luke Stear in their lightweight Maserati Birdcage, with the Ferrari TR/59 of Augie Pabst/Bill Wuesthoff second (just). As driven by Walt Hansgen, Jaguars unique E2A had given Maserati and Ferraris contemporary finest quite a fright.
The major West Coast professional road races followed, the big-money Los Angeles Times Grand Prix at Riverside, and the Pacific Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. Neither circuit was at all ideal for the tailor-made Le Mans E2A, which amongst the latest stripped, lightweight rear-engined sports-racing cars from Lotus, Cooper and Scarab was very much a thoroughbred race horse amongst greyhounds. But Times GP promoter Glenn Davis had invested $5,000 in newly crowned double-World Champion Jack Brabhams presence, and he was seeking a high-profile car for him.
Briggs Cunningham himself recalled: The Jaguar factory board heard about this and they got very eager to have Jack drive a Jag because it was a great chance to publicize the (forthcoming) new E-Type. We had (E2A) in New York, but it belonged to the factory, so Alfred (Momo) talked to them and we shipped it to California.
Amongst such a specialized sports-racing car field, Jack Brabham initially failed to qualify for the GP until a special consolation race was run to get him in. Significantly the only Cunningham team car which lapped faster than E2A was Hansgens 2-liter Maserati Tipo 60 Birdcage. Walt reported: Jacks gear ratio was changed from 3.54 to 3.31
better performance down the straight but hampered some through the twisty parts. Jacks Jaguar used 600x15 in the front and 700x15 in the rear (Dunlop D9). Jack finished second (in the preliminary). He then did well to bring E2A home 10th in the Times GP itself.
Sir Jack recalls: That Cunningham Jaguar was good looking but Riverside wasnt the place for it
nonetheless an interesting car
His Formula 1 Cooper team-mate Bruce McLaren then took over E2A for Laguna Secas Pacific Grand Prix. The grueling race was run in two 53-lap Heats over the tight little 1.9-mile circuit. As Phil Hill would later say of driving his Sharknose Ferrari round Monte Carlo in pursuit of Mosss Lotus 18 It was like trying to see which is quicker round a living room, a race horse or a dog!. Bruce was assailed by all kinds of problems with, but finished 12th in one Heat and 17th in the other.
Thereafter, Cunningham shipped E2A back to the British factory, where she was adapted to test the Dunlop Maxaret anti-lock braking system, or WSP Wheel Slide Protector. This was the system featured on the 4WD Ferguson P99 Formula 1 and InterContinental single-seater, the last front-engined car ever to win a contemporary Formula 1 race, and of course the first 4WD car ever to do so. In achieving that success the Fergie was driven by none other than Sir Stirling Moss. Today E2A still retains a dash button marked SHOT FIRING PULL to chalk-mark the road during Maxaret testing.
The great car then slumbered in storage until 1966-67 about the time poor Walt Hansgen was killed in a Ford GT Mark II at the Le Mans Test Weekend - when Jaguars 4-cam V12 mid-engined prototype the XJ-13 began testing. To deflect press attention, old E2A was dusted down, its headrest fin removed and in XJ-13-matching British Racing Green paintwork it ground round and round the MIRA test track at Lindley to bore any nosy press men into not paying the XJ-13 any attention whenever it might emerge.
Now enter veteran racing photographer-cum-wheeler dealer-cum Brooklands habitué Guy Griffiths. He and his daughter Penny had accumulated a splendid array of important Jaguars at their contemporary Camden Car Collection in the English Cotswolds. When they first acquired a Lightweight E-Type they couldnt persuade it to run properly so Penny had taken it to the factory, where she met her future husband, Roger Woodley who looked after customers competition cars. Penny recalls: Roger just loved E2A he always said its just like a fighter plane, its so beautifully built. But one day he came home horrified, saying Theyve decided to scrap it, theyre going to saw up E2A weve just got to save it.
There would have been nothing unusual in E2A as a redundant prototype being scrapped. That was standard industry practice. But we really had to save it if we could. Roger went straight to Lofty England then CEO of Jaguar Cars Ltd - and persuaded him that E2A should also join the Collection on public display rather than be cut up. Lofty eventually agreed to sell us the car on the strict understanding it was not to be used competitively. He agreed to have all its storage bumps and knocks made good, and to respray it in original Cunningham white and blue. It initially came to us without an engine, Lofty thought that was the best way a deal could be reached, but later we got a wide-angle head 3.8-liter engine for it. Lofty must also have supplied the chassis plate as that engines number - E5028-10 - is stamped on the plate. We asked about an original 3-liter aluminum engine as at Le Mans and one day Lofty said discreetly There is one you could have. Its Mr Heyness at the moment
but he will be retiring soon! And finally that aluminum-block engine arrived, complete with its Lucas fuel-injection system (no. EE1309-10). Amongst the other bits accumulated, weve even got the original buck for the tail-fin. The car still retains its factory respray paintwork, and the only mod weve made has been to fit a small aluminum fuel tank because we wouldnt trust the original bag tank after this length of time.
And so this remarkable non-missing link has been preserved to this day in a really loving home. Poor Penny lost Roger Woodley to cancer, since happily marrying yet another Jaguar man, Jim Graham. And so this only prototype sports-racing Jaguar ever to escape the factory has spent the past 40 years in one family ownership. Another nice touch was Penny managing to obtain for the car the UK registration number VKV 752, as this was the factorys trade plate number applied to the car in period. In 1970 Penny drove the great Swiss Formula 1 star driver Jo Siffert around Brands Hatch in it during the driver parade preceding that years British Grand Prix. She took the car to Le Mans in 1996, and its uniquely beautiful allure has shone as it always does at both the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Revival Meeting.
Describing E2A our much-missed friend, the Jaguar marque historian Andrew Whyte declared: As one-off engineering exercises of the kind at which Jaguar excelled, E2A is a classic. The build quality achieved by Bob Blake and his colleagues was exceptional indeed.
Jaguar E2A survives today as absolutely one of the most charismatic and significant prototypes ever produced by mainstream motor industry. It is neither a cobbled-together rough-cut, nor a merely vapid show car. And what other prototype of such a significant production model has ever had a racing history to match this one? As the only surviving taproot of the iconic E-Type Jaguar series, E2A towers in stature for that alone.
But add its racing history of the Le Mans 24-Hours, the win at Bridgehampton, the superb showing in the Road America 500-Miles. And superimpose its finger-printing by four such all-time greats as Sir Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Dan Gurney and the SCCAs revered Walt Hansgen and E2As charisma just grows with every thought.
We offer before you one of the most important Jaguars arguably the most important Jaguar produced.
Refer to Department for estimate
- Please note, this lot is applicable to an import duty calculated at 2.5% of the hammer price. This duty will be invoiced to the purchaser but may be refunded if the lot is exported within certain criteria.