High-performance automobile manufacturers eager for reputation directed the attention of their most gifted engineers towards the Le Mans GP d’Endurance 24-hours races in the 1950s. Well-
organized, often richly-endowed factory teams battled for supremacy in a series of epic battles. Jaguar’s magnificent legend was built and established at Le Mans where their initial C-type specialized roadsters first won in both 1951 and 1953. For 1954 a far more sophisticated sports racing car was developed and became known as the D-type.
At Le Mans that year, the leading Jaguar factory-team car of Rolt and Hamilton ran a gallant second behind the mighty 4.9-liter Ferrari V12 of Gonzales and Trintignant. The winning speed average at Le Mans was 105.1 mph, but Jaguar quickly had their revenge a few weeks later when the D-types came in first and second at the 12-hours of Reims at an average of 104.55 mph. In the 1955 Le Mans, the Jaguar factory returned to claim first and third places and returned to Le Mans in force in 1956, knowing this was to be the last year that the factory would run a team of long nose D-types. Two team cars crashed in the damp conditions and the third was hampered by a misfire, however the Ecurie Ecosse team from Scotland saved the day for Jaguar with their short nose D-type. The car pictured, driven by Flockhart and Sanderson, was victorious winning the 24-hours classic; a feat the private Scottish team was to repeat in 1957 with a remarkable clean sweep.
This D-type hat-trick of GP d’Endurance victories against the strongest opposition sealed the Jaguar marque’s charismatic image. D-types have been acknowledged ever since as one of the greatest classic sports racing cars. While the Le Mans race attracts the greatest attention, the D-type was highly successful both as a works entry and in the hands of private owners in innumerable races throughout the world. In addition to its outstanding and long competition record and capabilities, the D-type can also be used as a remarkably docile yet extremely exhilarating road car.
This car must be considered to be the most original, most authentic, most unaltered D-type in the world, and hence perhaps the most desirable. It will be the pinnacle of any collection, no matter how exceptional the other cars around it may be.