Former RAF pilot Dick Protheroe was no stranger to the Jaguar brand. Stationed in Egypt in 1952, Protheroe acquired his first Jaguar, an aluminium bodied XK120 which he modified and campaigned before returning to England in 1953. Two further XK’s would follow, the final one bearing the registration ‘CUT 6’. Upon leaving the RAF, Protheroe followed his passion and started a Jaguar & Austin dealership called County Motors, out of which he based his small but competitive race team.
Chassis Number ‘860004’, was the fourth right-hand drive fixed-head E-type produced by Jaguar at the famous Brown’s Lane factory in Coventry. Painted in Opalescent Gunmetal Grey with dark blue interior trim, it was aptly delivered to Protheroe on 13thSeptember 1961 by Jaguar Dealer, Sturgess of Leicester. Robin Sturgess had a close affinity to the marque having raced XK’s, C-type, D-type and E-types successfully for many years.
Protheroe and his apprentice mechanics, Bill Cotterill and Pat Wells immediately set about modifying and developing the new E-type for competition use. The engine was modified to run D-type specification wide-angle heads and Weber carburettors, uprated brakes and improved suspension. Often seen testing on the runway at Bruntingthorpe, Protheroe registered his new E-type ‘CUT 7’ and painted its nose pale blue in a nod to one of his first race cars – a Bugatti Type 37.
‘CUT 7’ was campaigned extensively throughout the 1962 season. With victories at Mallory Park, Silverstone, Crystal Palace and Snetterton, Protheroe had his eyes set on securing the Autosport National Championship for Production Sports Cars, and with just one retirement in 10 outings, he won the Over 3-litre class.
A particular highlight was the 1962 Goodwood Tourist Trophy. Protheroe lined up on the grid amongst some of the toughest competition he had faced, including works Ferrari 250 GTO’s, Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato’s and factory-supported Jaguar E-types. With a driver line up including Innes Ireland, Graham Hill, Roy Salvadori and David Piper, Protheroe and ‘CUT 7’ would finish a very credible 6thoverall.
Despite Protheroe’s many successes during the 1962 season, he knew that he needed to try and stay ahead of his competitors hence his decision to acquire another E-type, this time in component form, and return his first E-type to road specification. That car was duly road registered as ‘636 CJU’ and returned to fast-road trim before being sold to make way for his new self-built E-type.
Advertised by Protheroe as ‘The fastest and lightest E-type FHC in existence’, the Jaguar was sold to Clive Castle from London. The history file contains numerous letters between Protheroe and Castle discussing the road going specification that Protheroe was to return the Jaguar to prior to Castle taking delivery at his home in London. The E-type changed ownership three more times during the next thirty years all of which is documented. ‘CUT 7’ was then owned by renowned Jaguar racer – John Young followed by Colin Pearcy.
In 2000, Nick Whale acquired the FHC to use in historic events before selling to Paul Drayson (latterly Baron Drayson) who had embarked on dovetailing some historic racing with his commitments in the American Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Acquired by the current owner in 2013, the decision was made to return the car to its correct Protheroe livery with Bugatti blue nose band. Race preparation and maintenance were entrusted to E-type devotees, Valley Motorsport. ‘CUT 7’ has since been a regular and competitive entrant at the Goodwood Revival RAC Tourist Trophy Celebration race – a highlight of the historic race calendar.
Accompanied by valid HTP Papers, history files and spares package, ‘CUT 7’ is a highly significant and eligible Jaguar E-type that deserves to have its illustrious racing history continued.
Photo Credit: Tim Scott, Fluid Images