Jaguar has unveiled plans to rebuild its iconic E-type - the first time a new version of the firm’s most famous model will be recreated since the final one rolled off the production line in 1975.
But before any would-be buyers get over-excited, the 2014 version will be confined to a strictly limited run of just six cars - completing a series of special Lightweight E-types the firm failed to finish more than 50 years ago.
The Midland car-maker revealed it plans to build six brand new ‘Lightweight’ E-types – the ‘missing’ six Lightweights that were never built from an intended 18-car series.
The project is Jaguar’s first ever foray into the recreation field and has been made easier by the firm’s ever-increasing use of aluminium in its 21st century cars.
Jaguar already uses the lightweight metal extensively in models such as the XJ and the F-Type, with plans to extend this further with the next generation of models including its compact saloon the XE, which is due to be unveiled next year.
The new E-types, constructed entirely from aluminium, will be assigned the six remaining chassis numbers originally allocated in 1963
All six vehicles will be built as perfect reproductions and to the exact specifications of the original 12 cars - including the 3.8-litre straight-six engine - and the first of the new cars will make its public debut later this summer.
They will be hand-built in the traditional manner by Jaguar’s expert craftsmen.
Jaguar’s Lightweight E-type project originally got underway in February 1963, with the objective of building 18 ‘Special GT E-type Cars’.
Only 12 of the aluminium bodied Lightweight E-types were eventually built by Jaguar’s competition department, the last in 1964, the remaining six designated chassis numbers having lain dormant, until now.
Eleven of the 12 that were originally built are believed to survive today.
The Lightweight weighed in at 250lbs less than a standard E-type, thanks to its all-aluminium body and engine block, a lack of interior trim and exterior chrome work and a host of further weight-saving features including lightweight, hand-operated side windows.
The Lightweight E-types were raced by motorsport legends such as Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart.
Buyers with deep pockets are being given the chance to own one of the six new Lightweight E-types, though Jaguar said it expects “high demand” for the six cars.
In a statement the company said: “Established Jaguar collectors, especially those with historic race car interests, will be prioritised amongst those potential customers who express interest.”
The Jaguar E-type was produced between 1961 and 1975. Just over 72,500 were built.