1956 Jaguar D-type Roadster

Jaguar’s magnificent legend was enhanced at Le Mans during the 1950s, where their initial C-type specialized roadsters first won the 24 Hour race in both 1951 and 1953. For 1954 a far more sophisticated sports racing car was developed, which became known as the “D-type.” Entered at Le Mans as factory team cars in 1954, the first D-types were only narrowly beaten by a much larger-engined Ferrari V12. Jaguar quickly got their revenge a few weeks later when the D-types came in first and second at the 12 hours of Reims at an average speed of 104.55 mph. The works team won the 1955 Le Mans and this was repeated twice more by the private Ecurie Ecosse team in 1956 and 1957.

This D-type hat-trick of Le Mans victories against the strongest opposition sealed the Jaguar marque’s charismatic image, and these handsome machines have been acknowledged ever since as one of the greatest classic sports racing cars. In addition to its outstanding competition capabilities, the D-type can also be used as a remarkably docile yet extremely exhilarating road car.

XKD530 was tested in October 1955 at the Motor Industry Research Association track. Finished in the traditional colors of British Racing Green and suede green upholstery, it was dispatched on February 13, 1956, via the Finnish agents Suomen Maanviljeligain Kauppa to the well-known sportsman Kurt Lincoln of Helsinki. Correspondence throughout Lincoln’s ownership is held on file and makes fascinating reading.

Throughout the next four years the car was actively campaigned as part of Lincoln’s Scuderia Askolin. Files with the car include race programs and even videos of the significant events.

In May 1959, apparently disappointed with his results, Lincoln returned the car to Jaguar, later remembering he sent the car with a tag on the engine asking for 100 more horsepower. The engine was bored out to 3.8 liters, a Thornton Powerlok differential was fitted, and the car was repainted to a white Finnish livery.

During the following two years, the car was raced successfully, on a number of occasions by a young Finnish driver Timo Makinen, who later became a world-famous rally driver in Austin-Healeys.

Between 1961 and 1965, the car was raced in Finland by a succession of three owners, with full race and ownership records on file.

In 1966 the Jaguar was sold to Nigel Moores in the UK. Paul Kelly, the mechanic and curator for Moores, later described the external bodywork on its arrival in the UK as “deplorable and hardly recognizable as a D-type.” The body had suffered extensive damage and modifications, including cutting out the cockpit and cutting off the back like a bobtail Cooper.

Consequently, the bodywork, including monocoque, hood and tail were sent to Williams & Pritchard, who were commissioned to rebuild the car in the form of a long-nose D-type. Usable metal and the original body tag were attached to a new monocoque. In addition, a new 3.8-liter D-type engine was fitted, dating from 1957 and built for use in XKD530 for the Sebring race but not used.

The original engine and remains of the damaged bodywork were retained in the back of the stores by the Moores collection. In 1982, the remaining parts of the damaged monocoque and tail were sold to John Harper who used them with a new subframe from Lynx Engineering to build another D-type (which ultimately made claim to the same serial number, XKD530).

After Nigel Moores’ death in 1988, his collection was sold to Evert Louwman. Six months later, XKD530 was sold to its present owners and in 1990 they commissioned Nash Morgan & Co. Ltd. to remake the nose and tail in its original short-nose configuration.

The engine and part of the gearbox originally fitted to XKD530 were also sold and were fitted to the D-type build by Harper. Making claim to the XKD530 chassis number, a subsequent owner sold the Harper car at the Brooks Monaco sale in 1990 to a long-time Jaguar enthusiast in the US who still owns it.

After some dispute, FIA papers were issued to both cars claiming the XKD530 chassis number, one set from the British FIA to the car on sale today, and one set from the American arm of the FIA to the US-owned car.

Owing to the fact that D-types can essentially be split into two halves, on more than one occasion two cars have evolved claiming the same identity. However, the car on sale today is offered with the benefit of a continuous and documented chain of ownership.

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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