1952 Jaguar C-type Ecurie Ecosse

The needle of the rev counter can be wound to the red zone, and each gear takes the car into a new dimension

Designed and built with the sole intention of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the renowned Jaguar C-type was a development of the already successful XK 120.
Though the race car was initially designated XK 120C, in truth little was shared between the two models apart from the drivetrain, and this was uprated with larger exhaust valves, high-lift cams, and larger carburetors.
The race car was designed with rack-and-pinion steering, revised suspension, and a lightweight tubular chassis and bodywork construction. Clothed in the voluptuous C-type curves, the new car’s potency was promptly proven when, just six weeks after its completion, Peter Whitehead and Peter Walker won the 1951 Le Mans race an immense 67 miles ahead of their competition.
Six Jaguar C-types were retained by the works, but the model was also available for sale at some £1,500 plus purchase tax (nearly 50% more than the 120) thus providing a natural progression for privateers already impressed with the XK 120.
One such person was Ecurie Ecosse team owner David Murray, who elected to upgrade to C-types following his successful first season of racing in 1951, and began this process with the purchase, through Ecosse driver Ian Stewart, of XKC 006.
Stewart won his first outing-the Jersey Road Race-and recorded the fastest lap. During that first season, he totalled 14 wins, including his only win over Stirling Moss. For 1953, XKC 006 was painted Flag Metallic Blue to match the other Ecurie Ecosse cars, and racked up another five wins.
The car was then sold to Dutch driver Hans Davids for 1954, in whose hands it notched up several more good results, and to Bryan Corser, who raced it in 1955 and 1956. So far as we understand, it then passed to Mr. Anthony Barrett-Greene of Staffordshire and to American Mr. Robert Allen. At some point a rear Panhard bar was installed.
The car returned to British soil when acquired by the present family owners in 1974. At that time, a sympathetic restoration was undertaken by Lynx Engineering’s owner, Chris Keith-Lucas.
Work included repaint in the original Eurie Ecosse livery, fitting of a longer-legged back axle, uprating the drum brakes to the discs used on the 1952 C-types, and substituting a “more sporting” D-type cylinder head. At the time Keith-Lucas noted the absence of a car number plate-the distinguishing number is also stamped on the chassis-but he wasn’t certain this car ever had one.
The car has belonged to the current owners for some 30 years and was enthusiastically campaigned until the mid-1990s. It has been returned to a roadworthy condition for this sale by Mr. Keith-Lucas.
The 1952 C-type Ecurie Ecosse is eligible for a variety of events, including the Mille Miglia and the Goodwood Revival, and the Le Mans Classic, in which the car is already entered. Unseen for nine years, this fabulously curvaceous and thrilling car will be welcomed wherever it goes.

Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson - SCM Contributor

Gary is also Editor in Chief of The Star, the magazine for the Mercedes-Benz Club of America. He has been active for many years in the Austin-Healey Club USA and is co-author of MBI’s best-selling Austin-Healey Restoration Guide, as well as editor of the Austin-Healey Magazine. An avid vintage race driver, he ran his 1960 MGA in three Monterey Historics, four Wine Country Classics, and the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. He is the author of Motoring: Getting the Maximum from Your New Mini, a comprehensive guide to the new MINI Cooper, available through Amazon.com.

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