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Jaguar Lightweight E-type 4WPD Book Reviews & Testimonials

jaguar lightweight e-type 4wpd book

Jaguar Magazine, issue 17

…’The book was a real surprise when it landed on our desk, and it has to be said that it sets new standards in terms of presentation, photographs and content.

‘It seems it is the first in a series to come from prolific Jaguar author and publisher Philip Porter, owner of the E-type and XK Clubs.  The large format tome is filled with not just the complete history of 4 WPD, but profiles on many of its drivers and competitors including the Coombs’ Ferrari GTO and Aston Martins, John Coombs himself, Graham Hill, Roy Salvadori, Jack Sears, Tommy Sopwith and so much more. Significantly, although it has 320 pages, this book covers from 1961 until the present day, and is filled with hundreds and hundreds of high quality photographs we have never seen before.

‘Every race the car competed in is outlined, right through until recent Goodwood Revival meetings when it has been heavily crashed on more than one occasion.  The rebuilds too are covered, and no punches are pulled when it comes to publishing images of the extensive damage.

‘If you are looking for one book to entertain you in the long term, this is probably it, even if you don’t have a huge interest in E-types or racing.  It covers a long time-span in Jaguar’s history, is meticulously written, and the images alone will keep you fascinated.  A real cracker of a book.’


Classic and Sports Car, November 2014

‘You’d expect Jaguar authority Philip Porter to do justice to the subject of the ex-Coombs Lightweight ‘4 WPD’, but he has excelled himself with this effort.  The 320-page hardback tells the full story of this illustrious car, one of the first E-types built in 1961 and initially registered ‘Buy 1′.  Race reports chart its results, but it is the detail on how it became the first Lightweight that is most fascinating.  Porter reproduces official correspondence and test notes, and profiles the many drivers who raced it, from Hill to Salvadori, Gurney and Stewart.  Its post-Coombs career with Charles Bridges and Gordon Brown is also covered, as are its appearances with current owner Shaun Lynn.  Highly recommended.’ JP


Classic Cars, December 2014. Review by Sam Dawson, book place 2

‘This book follows Philip Porter’s ‘autobiography’ of 9600 HP, the first E-type road car, but reads very differently. The life and career of 4 WPD – the first Coombs-campaigned ‘lightweight’ E-type – is packed with action, making the book comparable to a racing driver’s memoirs, with chapters on drivers, engineers and races in the way a person might recall cars they’d driven and places they’d visited. As a result, 4 WPD is a character in itself – prodigious, steely and determined in early life, maturing into a tough and experienced brawler. From its maiden race win with Graham Hill in 1961 to its first retirement in 1964, followed by rebirth via restoration and a second career as a historic racer, it’s lived a colourful life.’


Octane, November 2014. Book of the Month. Reviews by Richard Heseltine and Mark Dixon

‘Given Jaguar’s recent announcement that it is to construct a batch of new Lightweight E-types – the arrival of this thumping hardback is rather timely.  Here, however, the narrative concerns just one particular car.  And what a car.

‘Veteran author Philip Porter relates the remarkable story of E-type ‘4 WPD’ in great depth. In near standard form (and registered BUY 1), it was fielded in sports car races by John Coombs with factory assistance, before acquiring a new registration number and a lighter-gauge steel skin for 1962, only to be rebuilt again with an aluminium body for the ’63 season.

'As such there is plenty to cover, Porter outlining the reasoning behind how and why the Lightweight ‘E_ was created in the first place, and how Coombs was able to take the fight to the red cars from Maranello (if only at national level), before outlining a roll-call of wheelmen that included Graham Hill (a prolific winner in the car), Roy Salvadori, and the youthful Jackie Stewart, who won first time out in ’64, a year before his Grand Prix debut….

‘With a breakdown of race entries and results, ephemera that stretches to race programme covers and period ads, there’s much to like here.  The layout and print quality are first-class, too, making the book a joy to handle as well as to read, and it’s reasonably priced….

The good news is that there are more books to come in this ‘Great Cars’ series, with the next focusing on a Le Mans-winning Porsche 917.’


Motor Sport, November 2014

‘Lavish is scarcely the word for this autobiography detailing the life of one single vehicle.  In detail, illustration and presentation it’s of the highest quality. Not only does it tell every moment of the life of much-raced E-type 4WPD, complete with reports and photos of its every event, but it adds background material on its rivals, owners and Jaguar company, even to a layout of the Experimental Dept.  It’s hard to think of a missing fact: as well as comment from all involved since its birth, test reports, diagrams, letters and receipts are all reproduced.’

‘Although not much remains from 1961, 4WPD is a continuous entity from BUY1 to prototype Lightweight, and few cars can have been so comprehensively recorded.  This first volume of Porter’s Great Cars series is an impressive start.’  GC by Keith Bluemel, August 2014

‘The Jaguar E-Type caused a sensation when it was announced in 1961, with its svelte lines developed from the D-Type sports racing model, it was a production sports car the like of which was years ahead of its time, and at a price that undercut its rivals handsomely. The initial price was around £2,100, whereas an equivalent Aston Martin was around £4,500 and a Ferrari weighed in at over £6,000, so it can be seen just what a performance bargain it was, and why it was such a success.

‘This book, by renowned Jaguar expert Philip Porter, traces the life of one of the most famous and most successful racing examples of the model produced, the legendary“4 WPD”, from its roots as one of the first right hand drive examples, sold to preferred client and Jaguar dealer John Coombs, through its transition into the prototype lightweight model, to its current life as a historic race car. The book is an excellent example of extensive and in-depth research, which covers the car’s history in minute detail, with the inclusion of rare factory archive material, contemporary race reports of every race that it contested, its competitors and much more, with a great selection of evocative period images.

…'A book on a single car might seem a bit too specialist for general consumption, but this one paints a vivid picture not only of the individual car, but of the period, the competitors and the various protagonists that made it happen, truly a compelling read.

'The book is available from all good booksellers, whilst if purchased direct from the publisher, the copy bought will be signed by the author.’


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