A rare post-war Jaguar D-Type road racer in beautiful British racing green looks set to smash an Australian auction record and become the nation’s most expensive car.
The 1955 Jaguar D-Type, the only model of its kind to be found Down Under, is going under the hammer at Melbourne’s Motorclassica Auction on October 14 and it is expected to fetch up to $9 million.
The D-Type, long considered the most beautiful and iconic sports racing car ever built, was developed to win the most prestigious of motor racing events of the day – the Le Mans 24 Hour rally.
Having launched the Jaguar XK 120 at the London Motor Show to tremendous acclaim, it was the XK engine that would prove so successful during the 1950s with firstly the C-Type (C for competition) and ultimately the legendary Jaguar D-Type, the marque’s first pure racing car which was to sweep all before it.
The DOHC inline six-cylinder 3,442 cc engine produced 250 bhp and the Jaguar D-Type featured triple Weber 45 DCO3 carburettors, four speed manual transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle trailing links and transverse torsion bar, with all-round disc brakes.
Jaguar D-Type’s aerodynamic aircraft principles
The bodywork for the Jaguar D-Type was crafted by Chief Designer and aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer.
Sayer, utilising the skills and techniques learned from his time at the Bristol Aeroplane Company, applied the principles of the aviation industry and aerodynamics to his thinking.
The construction of the purpose built riveted aluminium-magnesium alloy monocoque design was not only aerodynamically practical, it also created one of the most sublime and attractive shapes possessed of any post-war car.
Despite winning the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hour race with a C-Type and leading home Jaguars to three of the top four places, it was evident that further development was needed if Jaguar was to stay in front of the pack.
Therefore, in 1954 the Jaguar D-Type was unveiled.
Jaguar D-Type is a “sculpture on wheels”
The model up for auction has been owned by several well-known collectors including the extrovert former Le Mans champion Duncan Hamilton.
It has raced around the world and more recently it has been on display at the Donington Park Museum.
Handling the sale, Mossgreen auction house boss Paul Sumner said: “Along with impeccable provenance and competition history, the Jaguar D-Type is gorgeous, an absolute work of art, a sculpture on wheels, one of the most beautiful cars ever made.
“It’s the most valuable car to ever go to public auction in Australia, and no doubt will set new records on auction night.”
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