The C-Type Lightweight from 1953 is a transition model preparing the 1954 D-type. In 1955, the D-Type Long Nose carries the expectations of the brand. In the same year, for meeting the requirement to engage commercially available models in competition, Jaguar begins to produce in series the D-Type model with its 1954 "short nose".
The first two commercial D-Type, chassis XKD 501 and 502, are delivered in 1955 to Ecurie Ecosse, a private team that works closely with Jaguar. Due to an accident, XKD 501 cannot participate at Le Mans in its first year.
The disaster of Le Mans significantly changes the game. Mercedes-Benz will not return. In 1956, a regulatory limitation of the fuel creates a headache for high volume engines. The XKD 501 of the Ecurie Ecosse wins the race one lap ahead of an Aston Martin. The feat of the Ecurie Ecosse is of high merit because the car is equipped with a big 3.4-liter engine.
Still more important changes are being considered in the rules. In 1957 Jaguar terminates its racing team. In 1958 Le Mans limits the size of engines to 3 liters, precipitating the end of career of the glorious chain of the C-Types and D-Types. It is funny to note that "C" meant Competition while "D" is simply the next after C in the alphabet.
XKD 501 was maintained in its configuration and its engine of the 1956 Le Mans victory. Its condition is certainly the most authentic among the five Jaguar that won at Le Mans in the 1950s. It had been fitted before Le Mans with the engine from the third D -Type of Ecurie Ecosse, XKD 561, a car that the team mostly used as a spare.
XKD 501 is estimated $ 20M for sale by RM Sotheby's in Monterey on August 19, lot 114. In its class, glory brings an added value : in very good condition, XKD 561 was sold for £ 2.6M including premium by Bonhams on December 1, 2013. Please watch the video shared by RM.
SOLD for $ 21.7M including premium