1955 Jaguar XKD-type Sports Racer

This is the first production D-type, out of long and dedicated ownership,
unspoiled and still in its original form

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XKD 509, the first “production” D off the line in 1955, has a long and interesting history. It was supplied new to New York distributor Chuck Hornburg, who sold it to Albert R. Browne of Menlo Park. At the time, its new price in the U.K. was £2,500 ($6,957).

After unsuccessfully approaching Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby to drive it, Browne turned to French-born veteran Lou Brero. The XKD-type Sports Racer appeared at Sebring, its British Racing Green replaced with a shocking new livery of matte dark blue stripes over white, unlike anything seen on a D-type before, but intended to make the car more visible in the night sections of the 12-hour race.

That ended with clutch failure after 58 laps, but later the car managed a quite extensive American racing history, including a second overall in a 150-mile race at Elkhart Lake, beaten only by Shelby in a 4.4-liter Ferrari.

By 1957, Brero had acquired the D and won at Stockton. After the car suffered engine failure at Dillingham Field, Hawaii, on the weekend of April 20-21, he lost his life following a fiery accident racing a substitute Chevy V8-engined Maserati A6GCM. The D-type passed to his son Lou Brero Jr., who admitted to a hippy existence, “sometimes driving the car along the beach in the sun.”

In 1974, by which time the car appeared battered and in bare aluminium, he was persuaded to sell to visiting British dealer Brian Classic of Cheshire. Despite years of neglect and poor storage, 509 was complete and mostly unspoiled, though the body had been chopped about to fit a roll hoop. Classic entrusted the rebuild to his brother-in-law, historic racer Willie Green, and recalls many happy road miles in the car, plus some club race meetings at his local Liverpool circuit, Aintree.

About this time Nigel Moores became interested in the car and bought it. Moores was the nephew of Sir John Moores, founder of Littlewoods Football Pools [a soccer lottery], but maker of his own fortune in electronics, forestry, and the hotel business-and highly regarded on the historic racing scene. But Moores lost his life as a passenger in a road accident in southern France in 1977, after which his cars were maintained by his long-time mechanic Paul Kelly, some being displayed in the Lakeland Motor Museum and the Jersey Motor Museum.

The collection was dispersed in the late 1980s-by much of the team now working for Bonhams-but XKD509, Moores’s favorite D-type, was retained for his son James.

At some point during its history, maybe around the time it was in Jersey, 509’s original engine 2015-9 was swapped with that from one of Moores’s other Ds, chassis XKD512. It now has its original motor back, rebuilt in 2003 by marque specialist Pearson Engineering, and block and head bear the correct number, matching the chassis data plate riveted to the bonnet panelwork. Gearbox and body numbers match as well.

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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