Cunningham Lightweight E-type heads for the block at Pebble

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A 1963 Jaguar E-type Lightweight Competition Coupé which was campaigned at Le Mans by Team Cunningham is poised to sell for more than $10m when it goes under the hammer at Bonhams’ 20th anniversary sale (18 August) in Monterey. 

The car, which is one of just 12 examples built, took part in Briggs Cunningham’s factory assault on the 1963 Le Mans 24 Hours. The team entered three Lightweights in the race, but only Cunningham’s charge completed the distance: chassis S850664 managed just eight laps, while Roy Salvadori’s entry was involved in a crash that ultimately claimed the life of Brazilian Christian Heins. 

Following its initial foray at La Sarthe, chassis S850664 went on to race at the Road America 500 and later the Bridgehampton 500, where it placed fourth overall. Once retired from racing, the E-type entered the personal collection of Briggs Cunningham and went on display at the Cunningham Museum. It then passed through the hands of a number of notable collectors, including Lord Bamford, Paul Vestey and Campbell McLaren. 

“There are rare, interesting cars, and there are cars that have belonged to rare, interesting people,” said author Richard Holt. “The Briggs Cunningham Lightweight E-Type scores so heavily on both counts that it is difficult to decide which is more of a star. You could make a good argument either way: the ultra-rare racing thoroughbred versus the all-American hero and entrepreneur. But the truth is that thinking about one without the other makes no sense because the Lightweight E-Type would probably never have existed if it hadn’t been for Briggs Swift Cunningham II.”

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