Designed by Malcolm Sayer, it was intended to be the very first of a team of competitive Jaguars to feature in international GT races. 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.
At the end of the 1961 racing season praise from drivers such as Sopwith, Sears, Salvadori and Hill for the ‘standard’ car added impetus to the efforts to create an optimised racing E-Type, with reduced weight and a further enhanced aerodynamic profile for the factory-supported 1962 racing season.
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 Low Drag was left behind as the Lightweight took the ascendant position, and it took a privateer driver, Dick Protheroe (a friend of William Lyons) to see the potential missed in the shift to the Lightweight.
He registered the car as CUT 7 and along with Coundley, it raced in the 1963 and 1964 seasons with some success.
In 1965 it was purchased by David Wansborough, and ownership of this legendary Jaguar has changed several times. Finally it was acquired by Viscount Cowdray where it’s ownership remains today. It can often be seen at the Goodwood Revival Meeting every September.