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.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1952 Jaguar C-Type Roadster
Number Produced:54
Original List Price:$2,330
Tune Up Cost:$900
Distributor Caps:$30
Chassis Number Location:Bulkhead in engine bay, above right shock tower
Engine Number Location:Above oil filter housing
Club Info:Jaguar C- and D-type Register
Investment Grade:A

This car, Lot 005, sold for £2,913,500 ($4,774,182), including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ December Sale in London on December 1, 2013.

The Ecurie Ecosse Collection sale was always going to be big news. Arch-collector Dick Skipworth had spent 20-odd years assembling as many cars from the successful Scottish racing team as he could get his hands on — and, record-breaking transporter aside (see “Collecting Thoughts” on p. 30) — the C-type was the jewel in the crown, as well as one of the first cars to join the collection. It was also one of his favorites.

As Janos Wimpffen said of the last C-type we profiled, the ex-Phil Hill 007, the C-type was “the epitome of understated elegance and remains one of the purest examples among automobiles of the marriage of form and function.” Massively enjoyed, XKC042 stood proudly in the sale room, not quite dead-straight but ready to go and take on anything.

A long, enjoyable history

To say this historic Jaguar has been enjoyed is something of an understatement, for XKC042 has been used in a tremendous number of events by Skipworth and his sons Chris and Steve — as well as being raced in the Monaco Historics by Skipworth’s regular hotshoe, Barrie Williams. It has participated in the Mille Miglia Retro, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival Meeting, the Classica Italia and The Woodcote Trophy. It has been publicly demonstrated by both Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart in homage to his late brother Jimmy, who was one of XKC042’s original, in-period Ecurie Ecosse drivers.

When Skipworth first encountered the car, it was owned by Campbell McLaren, having been sold to Australia by Adrian Hamilton, after Nigel Dawes had restored it back to Ecurie Ecosse color and spec.

In the C-type Register, Skipworth wrote: “I was first introduced to XKC042 in 1991. Campbell McLaren drove me from Glasgow to Troon, where I was to join our trimaran for a trip back to Hamble. Some 18 months later I was able to buy her… (More like a second marriage than a purchase) Since that time she has competed in numerous races and tours. She has been driven on many occasions by celebrities Sir Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks and Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams. I have come to regard her as the second lady in my life, always responsive, impeccably mannered, exciting when provoked, gracious lines, totally reliable, not too expensive to maintain, well mannered in traffic but prefers the open road, holds her own in younger company. I guess that there is not much wrong with either…”

At one stage, XKC042 was fitted with an uprated 3.8-liter XK engine, but it is now back to 3.4-liter specification, with its original engine recently rebuilt by Sigma Engineering to fast road specification. This engine has less than two hours running time — it was offered with the car and displayed in the sale room on a pallet behind it. The roll bar and period wrap-around windscreen were off the car but were included along with four race wheels.

C-type values racing along

When János Wimpffen profiled the Hill car XKC007 (SCM October 2009, p. 36), he felt the values were as follows: “Of the 40 examples remaining, perhaps 20 are garden-variety average examples and are well cared for. Their values seem to hold steady in the $700k–$900k range. Another dozen or so have more noted backgrounds in terms of either drivers or race success. Figure a 75%–100% premium for those. Edge into the $2.5m range for the three existing Works cars, while the 1953 Le Mans winner (although now rebodied) would fetch a tad more. It seems that the emotions over the still-recent passing of the great American champion were enough to tilt XKC007 into the realm of the exemplary Jaguar C-type. While the buyer may have led a bit with the heart, the head says the market is likely to follow. The other good C-types are now poised to garner a bit more interest the next time around.”

And that held good for XKC042, which sold for more than $2m over the Hill car four years later, and a million more than XKC050, which had gained another million by 2012. Okay, we know one (or two) swallows don’t make a summer, but these numbers suggest that the best C-types are gaining ground at an accelerating pace. Prices at this sale were generally strong — no doubt helped along by being part of a major, established collection and enhanced by a sprinkling of Ecurie Ecosse fever — with the anticipation of the world’s most famous and charismatic race transporter to come a little later in the sale.

As the catalog had it, among all the Ecurie Ecosse Collection cars offered in this sale, this C-type was the most pure — and with the best provenance. It fetched more money than the D-type, which ostensibly should have been worth more. But this car had better history — the D’s slightly convoluted past obviously didn’t bother our buyer, as he snapped that up as well as the $2.9m transporter, giving him an instant and self-contained Ecurie Ecosse collection. What a coup.

The bad news for American enthusiasts is that to see them live you’ll have to cross the Atlantic as, for now, the transporter and its two charges are staying in the U.K. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

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