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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

This C-Type Racer Helped Put Jaguar on the Map



In 1951, Jaguar returned to Le Mans with a modified XK120, called the C-Type, with the “C” standing for competition. With that car, Jaguar won the famed endurance race and began the great racing legacy that continues with the company to this day. However, after that first win, Mercedes-Benz brought out the 300SL and quickly took Jaguar’s crown.

From there, Jaguar was so far behind the pace of the 300SL, that the engineers essentially had to go back to the drawing board for their next racecar. Therefore, for 1953, Jaguar designed a special series of three cars that would hopefully take the fight back to M-B. Using a lightweight aluminum body, 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes, better carburetors for increased throttle response, and other upgrades, the 1953 C-Type Works Lightweight was born.


Due to all those upgrades, Jaguar took three of the top four places at Le Mans with company’s new car. Fast forward almost 70 years later, and the C-Type has transformed itself from a lowly, grimmy racecar to one of the most sought after classics from its time.

 This particular C-Type will be coming up for auction in just a few short weeks at the RM Sotheby’s Auction in Monterey, California for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and remains one of the best of the three built.


This car, chassis number XKC 052 claimed 4th overall at Le Mans in 1953, and it is number two of the production run of those three Works Lightweights. After its stint at Le Mans, the car was sold off to the Ecurie Ecosse race team and was then raced through 1954, winning a handful of other races. Now, after a complete restoration to its former Le Mans specification, this Jaguar is set to cross the auction block. Currently, the pre-auction estimate is almost $11 million, which, if proven accurate, would set a new record price for a British car at auction.