If it was Norman Dewis who started to fastidiously formalise Jaguar’s testing programme in the 1950s, it was his protégé Richard Cresswell who took testing from the roads around Coventry and MIRA to an international operation. Joining Jaguar in 1966, Cresswell soon became a key figure in the testing and development of the XJ6, before founding Jaguar’s North America proving ground. Creswell set up VBE Restorations in the early 1990s, restoring Vintage Bentley’s. However, his passion for high speed development led him to freelance work that included the development of the Mclaren F1.
This E-Type was Richard’s own car, built by him when he heard that there was to be a new Jaguar E-Type race series. Reasonably enough, he thought he was in a good position to build a pretty decent car! A 1961 Flat Floor LHD Fixed Head Coupe was found in California. Between 2009 and 2012, Richard set about building the car in the VBE workshops utilising all of his Jaguar knowledge to ensure it would be one of the most tractable and best handling cars on the grid.
Purchased by the current owner in 2019, the car has been further developed and in 2020 underwent a full update to current specification by renowned Jaguar specialist Brazell Engineering. This involved rebuilding the brakes, a rebuild and crack testing of the suspension components, refreshing the differential and updating all of the safety equipment in the car.
Since then car has been continuously maintained and developed with the most recent major work being an engine rebuild producing 304bhp which was completed in January 2023.
The car has a detailed history file and Period F, FIA papers dated until December 2029. Of course being a 1961 example the E-Type would also be a suitable candidate for pre-63 races, subject to minor modifications such as fitment of SU Carburettors.
This is without a doubt one of the best handling and driving E-Type’s we have come across, which is hardly surprising considering Richard Cresswell’s thousands of hours of highspeed testing!