1952 Jaguar C-Type Roadster

Simon Clay, courtesy of Bonhams
Simon Clay, courtesy of Bonhams

Some 54 C-types were manufactured in all, the majority for customer sale, leaving the model rarer than examples of the replacement D-type family. This Ecurie Ecosse C-type has often been listed as having been intended originally for export to a customer in Argentina named Carlos Lostalo. The order was allegedly canceled due to customs difficulties, whereupon the car was delivered instead to Rossleigh of Edinburgh, Jaguar distributors.

In fact the extensive — and beautifully bound — documentation file accompanying XKC042 reveals a different background story. Señor Lostalo’s planned purchase of the car did not arise until early in 1954, when he agreed with David Murray to purchase the car not as new but second-hand from Ecurie Ecosse. The correspondence includes a letter from FRW “Lofty” England — Jaguar Cars Ltd.’s renowned and immensely respected contemporary service and Works team racing manager — explaining, “Before a car can leave this country it is necessary for us to have a photostatic copy of the import permit and, as you will note from the copy of a letter from our Distributors… this is not yet in the possession of Mr. Lostalo.”

In fact Lloyd Davies, Manager of Ehlert Motors SA of Sarmiento 470, Buenos Aires, Argentina, had written to Jaguar Cars on February 11 as follows: “On receipt of your cable advising that Mr. David Murray reported having sold the XK Competition car XKC042 to Mr. Carlos Lostalo for the sum of £2,200…” — Mr. Lostalo had cabled them “…permit not yet granted but expected any moment, stop.” Mr. Lloyd Davies continued: “…the import permit which Mr. Lostalo has applied for, and which he is entitled to as one of the group of amateur racing drivers to whom permits are being granted on the authority of the Supreme Magistrate, has not as yet materialized… He has asked us to advise you… that his expectations may not be realized as early as he anticipates and for this reason he does not wish Mr. Murray to consider himself bound to the extent of refusing any other offers he may have for the car.”

So it was in fact a year earlier than Lostalo’s involvement that XKC042 now offered here was in fact purchased brand-new by Glasgow motor trader Bob Sanderson as one of the three C-types to be campaigned by son Ninian and his Ecurie Ecosse teammates through 1953.

David Murray — having acquired team title to the car from the Sandersons — then sold it for the 1954 season to amateur owner/driver John Keeling, Ecurie Ecosse replacing its first two production C-Types with the three ex-Works Lightweight variants which had been campaigned during 1953.

Keeling’s most celebrated exploit with the car would come at the 1954 Coupe de Paris meeting at Montlhéry, France. John Bolster, Technical Editor of Autosport, was there, and he described how Keeling, upon, “entering a downhill corner stock-car style — by which I mean backwards at high velocity… passed a Citroën, shot up an almost vertical bank, and plunged tail-first into a deep ditch.”

Bolster and Denis Jenkinson, Continental Correspondent of Motor Sport magazine, were among those who then muscled 042 out of its resting place on the outside of the Epingle du Faye corner, whereupon owner/driver Keeling was delighted (and amazed) to find the car virtually undamaged.

Subsequent owner David Elkan hill-climbed the car and used it on his honeymoon.

Mr. Elkan eventually returned to London but decided the car was not suitable for street parking and sold it to noted Jaguar collector and restorer Nigel Dawes, who restored it to Ecurie Ecosse condition and livery before campaigning it widely in historic events through the 1970s. During that period 042 became one of the most familiar and best-known of all the surviving Ecurie Ecosse C-type Jaguars.

Paul Hardiman

Paul Hardiman - SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Paul is descended from engineers and horse thieves, so he naturally gravitated toward the old-car marketplace and still finds fascination in the simpler things in life: looking for spot-weld dimples under an E-type tail, or counting the head-studs on a supposed Mini-Cooper engine. His motoring heroes are Roger Clark, Burt Levy, Henry Royce and Smokey Yunick — and all he wants for next Christmas is an Alvis Stalwart complete with picnic table in the back and a lake big enough to play in.

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