Semi-Lightweight changes hands for undisclosed sum

| 19 Sep 2011

A keenly awaited auction lot that failed to shift at Bonhams' Goodwood Revival sale on 16 September has got a new owner after some frenzied post-event negotiations.

Even though bidding on the ex-Sir Robert Ropner ‘Semi-Lightweight’ E-type Jaguar stalled at £1.35million when it went under the hammer, Bonhams today announced that it had sold post-sale to an unidentified buyer for an undisclosed sum. They did assure us that the car will remain in the UK, however.

Because of the way they are calculated, that sale – along with 10 other post-auction deals – will be included in Bonhams' results for Goodwood, bringing the sale total to an impressive £6.5million-plus.

James Knight, International Managing Director of Motor Cars at Bonhams, said: "The Goodwood Revival auction was very satisfying for us on the day, but now even more so with the successful sale of the star car. The Semi-Lightweight has been acquired by an enthusiastic British collector and will continue to be used and enjoyed as much as it has been for the past 47 years." Some background on the E-type from Bonhams:

The Ropner Semi-Lightweight could trace its lineage to the now legendary batch of 12 Grand Touring competition cars known as the ‘Lightweight’ E-Types.

The car was unique in this specification.  Sir Robert Ropner, a north-eastern shipping company magnate, was a good customer of Jaguar and, in consultation with their Chief Engineer, Bill Heynes, a tailor made special order car was produced incorporating many Lightweight features. The Jaguar featured a production-type steel-skinned monocoque chassis with weight-saving aluminium bonnet plus numerous other definitive racing ‘Lightweight’ features.

It was powered by a special iron-block, wet-sump engine that featured the ‘35/40 wide angle’ cylinder head made famous on the Le Mans-winning D-Type sports cars of 1955-57. The Ropner Jaguar also featured polished crankshaft and connecting rods, a lightened flywheel and high-lift camshafts and three twin-choke Weber carburetors. Drive to the ‘Lightweight’ alloy Dunlop wheels was via a five-speed ZF ‘box and Tork-Lok limited-slip differential. The new car perhaps most distinctively featured neither bumper bars nor external bonnet handles, but wore the hardtop of the definitive ‘Lightweight’ competition cars.

On the open road Sir Robert Ropner’s semi-Lightweight E-Type was capable of 165mph and he famously used its prodigious performance to the full whenever the traffic thinned and the opportunity presented itself. This mouth-wateringly unspoiled and most individual of all essentially road-going E-Type Jaguars is offered after some thirty years in the same sympathetic and highly enthusiastic ownership.