Tasked with designing a Jaguar E-Type that could rival the track prowess of its contemporary rivals, Jaguar designer Malcolm Sawyer got to work. A new roofline was developed to reduce drag and improve top speed on track, something particularly important at events such as Le Mans with its long Mulsanne Straight. The special roof line was 2 inches lower and was designed to cut through the air with greater ease, leading to the ‘Low Drag’ moniker.
Three ‘Low Drag Coupés’ were developed with the help of three different racing teams resulting in variations of the same theme. Registration 49 FXN turned out to be the fastest and most successful when driven by Peter Lumsden and Peter Sargent. Thanks to some aerodynamic tweaks, and further modifications to the engine and suspension, 49 FXN won the Coupe de Paris at Montlhery in 1964.
A light gauge steel was used to create the body shell, with the bonnet, doors and differential castings made from aluminium and lighter suspension components were added. The fuel tank was replaced with a 30 gallon ‘bag’ housed in a box section over the rear axle. This approach had been used in the Lightweight C-Type that ran in 1953 at Le Mans.
In conjunction with the development of the Low Drag, Jaguar were also putting focus into the all-aluminium ‘Lightweight’’ E-Type, with uprated engines, suspension and brakes. 12 were developed, and they soon became the focus of the racing development at Jaguar. This rather left the Low Drag in the shade, and although development continued as an ‘after hours’ project, much more focus went into the eventual 12 Lightweights.
Sayer had tested the Low Drag in a wind tunnel whilst the early focus was there, and discovered that the shape was more aerodynamically efficient that a Ferrari 250GTO (10%) and the standard E-Type (20%). What was apparent after the development shift to the Lightweight was that the Low Drag was also 7.5% more efficient than the ‘replacement’.
The creation of the Evolution E-Type Low Drag was to be a testament to the vision of Malcolm Sayer and would embody every facet of what we have learned over our thirty year focus on the Jaguar E-Type.
Evolution’s Low Drags closely mimics the original Low Drag Coupé and is actually based upon a Fixed Head Coupe model. Great lengths have been taken in order to create a very close representation of 49 FXN. A hand-built aluminium monocoque is the linchpin of this car, a task completed by the specialist team at Evolution E-Types and in partnership with Penso Group.
The development of the Evolution Low Drag Speedster and Roadster had shown that with the right focus, inspiration and meticulous effort, a truly outstanding aluminium-bodied E-Type could be developed. The creation of these cars has only one objective, to build the best E-Type possible that retains the spirit of its namesake but evolves them to new levels of refinement and the expectations of a modern resto-mod based on a Series 1 or 2 E-Type.
Built as a sports tourer, the Evolution Low Drag was designed to have the ‘long legs’ and comfort of a European GT. Performance from the 4.7 litre XK engine would offer high torque, long distance cruising ability and of course, an exceptionally thrilling drive.
If you have questions to be answered by our expert team, please email us and we will be happy to help. If you would like to find out more about an Evolution E-Type or our other services, please telephone to make an appointment.