One of the world’s most iconic sports racing cars must surely be the Jaguar C-Type. Derived from the sublime and successful XK120, the C-Type (C for competition) was born for a single purpose, to win the Le Mans 24 hour race, which it duly did first time out in 1951 when XKC003, driven by Peter Whitehead and Peter Walker, crossed the finish line some 77 miles ahead of the second placed car. This victory ushered in a period of domination by Jaguar in sports car racing that few other marques have equalled, initially with the C-Type and subsequently with its cousin the D-Type.
While based on the mechanicals of the XK120 and superficially resembling its progenitor, the C-Type was substantially different in its construction with a lightweight tubular frame devised by Jaguar’s chief engineer William Heynes and an all-aluminium aerodynamic body developed by Malcolm Sayer, Jaguar’s in-house designer. The engine was tuned and the front and rear suspension thoroughly developed. Perhaps most importantly, however, was the development of disc brakes which Jaguar developed with Dunlop and used to great effect in the 1952 Reims sports car race where Stirling Moss, driving XKC005, scored the first victory of a car fitted with such brakes. Further refinements continued and in 1953 a factory-entered C-Type (XKC 051) driven by Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt secured Jaguar’s second victory at Le Mans with the other team cars finishing in second and fourth place.
The car offered here was constructed over a two year period by JD Classics to emulate this Le Mans winner, which must be the ultimate evolution of the works cars. The design brief was uncompromising down to the last detail and the finished result is spectacular.
The car incorporates a number of original C-Type components and was built around a tubular chassis frame to original C-Type specification and features original front and rear adjustable torsion bar suspension as on the original cars, rack and pinion steering with adjustable column, a fully adjustable pedal box and adjustable shock absorbers. An original 3.4 litre XK120 engine was rebuilt to fast road competition specification, which includes a custom-made baffled sump, lightened and balanced crankshaft, polished connecting rods, Omega pistons, ultra-light and balanced flywheel, competition clutch, high capacity oil pump, high capacity water pump, custom made oil filter housing, fully ported and polished big valve head, triple 45 DCO3 Sandcast Weber carburettors, period competition rubber bag fuel tank, competition distributor with twin coils, competition leads and C-Type HT spreader.
The car also features a C-Type radiator, the correct braking system powered by a Plessey pump driven off the gearbox, concealed electronic ignition as well as an aluminium dashboard, finished as per the original cars with period correct clocks, gauges and flick switches. The cockpit is fitted with aluminium driver and passenger seats, covered in high quality Grey West of England cloth. Heat resistant silver matting covers the transmission tunnel and gearbox shroud.
The hand crafted body is dimensionally correct, constructed from 16 gauge aluminium with a single driver’s door. Particular attention was paid to the underside of the bonnet, bonnet scoop and overall finish. The car is finished in Ecurie Ecosse Metallic Blue with body coloured wire wheels.
With a total production of just 53 cars (55 if one includes the two experimental chassis) any original C-Type is an incredibly rare and desirable car which will command a correspondingly high price. This fabulous example provides a unique opportunity to acquire the next best thing to an original, a hand built race ready JD Classics C-Type, which is near identical to the 1953 Le Mans winning team car and offered at a fraction of the cost.