1961 Jaguar E-Type Series I Fixed Head Coupe

Built by legendary Jaguar test driver Richard Cresswell to fast road, FIA specification

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. The specification is as follows:


Rebuilt by Dave Butcher to Club Race Spec.

10.0:1 Compression ratio, Half Race cams, Tripple Weber 45 DCOE Carbs.

Lucas non-electronic ignition system. Lucas dynamo and Starter – Dry cell battery.

Hayward & Scott full race stainless exhaust system.

Fully baffled wet sump with 13 Row Covrad oil cooler.

Twin Facet fuel pumps from a 16 gallen aluminium tank.

Dyno showed 320 Bhp


Jaguar 4 speed all synchro, fully rebuilt with close ratio gears.

Lightened flywheel with twin plate clutch and Tilton co-axial slave cylinder.

Jaguar/ Salisbury PowerLok diff fully rebuilt with new 3.54 final drive.

Chassis & Body

Original rust free shell (ex USA) fully overhauled by Rod Jay.

Only modifications – replace both front floors with later drop panels for improved foot room

Rear arches reworked minimally for tyre clearance.

Quick action hatches for rear brake access.

New Aluminium bonnet with brake cooling ducts.

Uprated torsion bars and adjustable Spax dampers and coil springs.

Brakes & Wheels:

Jaguar MkIX solid front discs

Alloy calipers and racing pads.

Adjustable front/rear balance. Big resevoirs.

Lighweight pattern alloy 5 stud wheels with Avon Road/Race tyres


FIA Roll cage and Luke Racing harness.

Steel doors.

Lightweight pattern seats.

Leather trim.

Full set of racing instruments to

Cooling air ducts and Aero outlets.

This is without a doubt one of the best handling and driving E-Type’s we have come across, which is hardly suprising considering the experience of the man who put it together. Richard Cresswell had hundreds of thousands of hours of highspeed testing under his belt, and it shows.

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