1961 Jaguar E Type FHC Chassis no 860035 Semi Lightweight Flat Floor - an historically significant car

A recent addition to the fold has given me the chance to complete the creation of a replica of a very famous Jaguar

Howard Watts
By Howard Watts

Jaguar's E-type is Britain's greatest-ever sportscar. And CUT 7 is arguably the most famous of all E-types. Back in 1962 CUT 7 was twirled around Mallory with considerable gusto by its first owner, Elmer Richard 'Dick' Protheroe. Jaguar's valued privateer took his new toy to its first overall victory in the Easter Trophy there, then starred again on his return to the Leicestershire speed bowl on Whit Monday. During a packed season of action Protheroe would claim five overall wins around the country, an impressive sixth in the Goodwood TT and then sign off with class honours at Snetterton's Autosport Three Hours. It was his final fling in this, the original CUT 7. But his association with one of the best-known registration numbers in Jaguar folklore had only just begun.

As a personal friend of Sir William Lyons and a respected Jaguar dealer (County Motors in Leicestershire) it is not surprising that Protheroe was one of the first to get his hands on an E-type in 1961. The first right-hand drive examples were all Roadsters, delivered to the likes of John Coombs, Tommy Sopwith, Peter Sargent, Robin Sturgess and Jack Lambert. The first rhd Fixed Heads followed later in the summer: Protheroe got the fourth one.

Jaguar records show that the car, chassis 860004, was registered to his wife Rosemary Massey (of the famous tractor manufacturing family). Protheroe wasted no time preparing the car he had registered as CUT 7 for racing. 

The Jaguar received an additional pale blue flash across its nose in what was thought to be a reference to one of his first race cars – a much-loved Type 37 Bugatti acquired in 1947,

He gave the CUT 7 number its competition debut at Snetterton in March 1962, and finished third.

Mallory Park 1962
Mallory Park 1962

Protheroe owned and raced three CUT 7s. Despite his successes of 1962, Protheroe sold his Fixed Head Coupé in January of the following year. A new, lighter CUT 7, personally built from parts specifically ordered from Jaguar for the task, would carry him into the new season. But not far: he crashed heavily on its debut at Snetterton. A rebuilt version was sold to 18-year-old Roger Mac, who would gain experience with the car (now registered 256 CJU and actively used in historic meetings).

The second CUT 7 barrel rolls three times at Snetterton in 1963
The second CUT 7 barrel rolls three times at Snetterton in 1963

Meanwhile, Protheroe got his hands on the car that would become the third and final bearer of that familiar registration plate: the unique Low Drag Coupé. That he was able to prise it out of storage from a corner of Jaguar’s experimental department is proof of how much sway he had at the company. First of an intended team of cars for international GT racing; lighter gauge steel body with Sayer-designed ‘low drag’ roofline; the project had proceeded very slowly and the car was first run on 17/1/62. However after gathering dust in the Experimental Department, the car was sold to Dick Protheroe in mid-1963

The low drag coupe takes an early bath
The low drag coupe takes an early bath

The original CUT 7 had been pensioned off as a road car, complete with new registration: 636 CJU. Protheroe sold it to a Mr Clive Castle of London, stating in a letter to him, dated February 11, 1963, that the car “is going to a good home.” He also quoted performance figures: at 5,500rpm it was good for 140mph, at 6,000rpm 152mph. “I am sure that these speeds will be ideally suited to your purpose,” he continued, “and I know you will have lots of very long-pointed-car fun!”

While the the first CUT 7 has also enjoyed a new lease of life in historic racing, its originator never made it past the 1960s: Protheroe was killed in a Ferrari 330P during an untimed practice session for the Oulton Park TT of 1966.

The car as first seen by me in Alan Collins workshop
The car as first seen by me in Alan Collins workshop

I came across the car in the workshop of Alan Collins. Chassis no 860035 had painstakingly been part rebuilt by Alan over the last twenty years to recreate the first CUT 7. It was about 40% complete with some of the remaining parts accompanying the car.

My intention is to complete the build remaining true to the original car as far as possible. Being one of the oldest authentic E Types remaining I am looking forward to driving and showing this car on a regular basis.

Work underway building the front suspension and brakes
Work underway building the front suspension and brakes

I would be interested in any history of this car, chassis no 860035, and, in particular, any early racing history, in order to provide a clearer picture of its full history. The identity and originality has been confirmed by various authorities in the Jaguar world including being Jaguar Heritage Certified. 

The car, which bears its original registration no JJK 195, was originally supplied through Henleys of London to the original dealer Willetts Limited of Eastbourne Sussex, date of dispatch 4th December 1961. The first owner was Mr M G W J Mackie of Rochester in Kent.

Engine re-built and installed
Engine re-built and installed
Watch this space for ongoing developments