07a Jaguar D Type at workNow here’s an odd thing. Back in 1955 Jaguar developed its famous D-Type, a flat-out racing car that was the precursor to the far more famous, road-going E-Type of 1961. The D was at the heart of Jaguar’s golden days in racing, winning the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1955, 56 and 57. When it was launched the factory announced it would build only 100 of them, but in fact production stopped after just 75 had been made. So you have to think there were at least 25 frustrated would-be Fangios out there somewhere waiting for production to start again. And now, just 62 years later that’s about to happen.

Surviving D-types from 1955 and 1956 are of course valuable. A ‘re-creation’ D-type – that is, a replica – was last year auctioned by Shannons in Melbourne with an estimated price range of $750,000 to $850,000. It wasn’t even a real one. It was passed in.

07a Jaguar D-type 2018 dAnd Now Jaguar has announced it’s going to build those remaining 25 D-types. They will be completely accurate to the original (so forget satnav and air conditioning – you can even forget airbags) and won’t be road registerable. The engineering prototype was unveiled at the Salon Retromobile show in Paris in February.

The 25 D-types are being hand-built at Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Warwickshire, England and will be ‘period-correct’ to the authentic specifications laid down by competitions manager Lofty England and his engineers in the 1950s. Buyers of the ‘new’ D-types can choose either 1955-specification Shortnose or 1956-spec Longnose bodywork.

07a Jaguar D-type 2018 cEvery aspect of the D-types built for the clients of 2018 will be authentic including the six-cylinder XK engine. The project is the third continuation vehicle from Jaguar Classic, complementing the six missing Lightweight E-types completed in 2014-15 and nine XKSSs built in 2017-18.

The engineering prototype unveiled in Paris is built to the 1956 Longnose specification, identifiable by its extended bonnet, characteristic tail fin behind the driver’s head, wide-angle cylinder head and quick-change brake callipers.

Pricing has not been announced, but expect it to be somewhat north of the Shannons’ ‘re-creation’.

Published February 2018

 

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