D-Type Jaguar

1955 Jaguar D-Type

Offered by RM Auctions | London, U.K. | September 8-9, 2013

1955 Jaguar D-Type

The Jaguar D-Type is one of the all-time classics. It comes from the Golden Era of Le Mans competition – the mid-1950s. D-Types, while a descendant of the earlier C-Type, look radically different from just about everything else on track in those years. That big fin was mounted at the rear for stability while it blasted down the Mulsanne Straight. It uses monocoque construction and a lot of aluminium.

The engine is a 3.8-liter straight-six pushing out in the neighborhood of 300 horsepower. Production began in 1954 with a debut at the ’54 24 Hours of Le Mans. Production continued through 1957 with road-going versions (called XK-SS) built as well. This particular example was a works tester from the start. It was the first of five long-nose cars built by the factory in 1955. It didn’t race at Le Mans that year (it was the backup car) but was campaigned by Jaguar on at least two occasions (both were retirements).

In 1957, it was sold to Ecurie Ecosse and they ran it all season. Some of it’s racing history is as follows:

  • 1957 1000km Nürburgring – 11th (with Ivor Bueb and Jock Lawrence)
  • 1958 12 Hours of Sebring – 61st, DNF (with Bueb and Ninian Sanderson)
  • 1958 1000km Nürburgring – 34th, DNF (with Bueb and Sanderson)
  • 1958 24 Hours of Le Mans – 54th, DNF (with Sanderson and Lawrence)

There were many more races, but those are the biggest. Later in ’58, it was sold into privateer hands and raced in more minor events. In 1963 it was crashed in destructive fashion and had to be sent to Jaguar for a new frame (from a Le Mans-winning D-Type, which it has today). It was used as a road car in the mid-to-late-60s. It’s been rebuilt a few times over its life but it looks good now and has both successfully and unsuccessfully competed in historic events.

Of old race cars, this is one of the big ones. It’s a must-have for serious collectors (I think) and they are exceptionally rare and almost never come up for sale. RM is selling another one in Monterey with an estimate between $4,000,000-$5,000,000 – but it was not a Jaguar factory team car nor a long-nose example. This one has an estimate between $8,600,000-$10,100,000.

Only 11 long-nose variants were built of the total of about 71 D-Types built (not counting XK-SS). 18 of the 71 were factory team cars. You can read more here and see more from RM’s Mercedes-heavy London sale here.

Update: Not Sold. High bid of $6,292,000.

S/N: XKD 504.

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