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Drive The Legendary Jaguar D Type Returns
Drive The Legendary Jaguar D Type Returns

Rides & Drives

Jaguar’s Legendary Le Mans Winning D-Type Returns

After a 60 year hiatus, Jaguar reintroduces the ‘new’ D-type classic racing car.

By 19th Hole Staff  |  Feb. 19, 2018

Jaguar Classic D-Type

Image: Jaguar Classic

The D-type sparked a golden era, putting Jaguar back on the racing map

The legendary Jaguar D-type is one of the most iconic and beautiful competition cars of all time. With an outstanding record in winning the Le Mans, the world’s toughest motor competition. The D-type sparked a golden era, putting Jaguar back on the racing map.

Jaguar Classic workshop is re-starting production of the Jaguar D-type race car in Coventry, 62 years after the last example was built in 1956. The first Jaguar D-type to be assembled by Jaguar Classic, an engineering prototype, makes its world debut in Paris at the Salon Retromobile show, an international exhibition about classic cars.

Just 25 new examples of the D-type will be meticulously hand-built at Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Warwickshire. In 1955 Jaguar planned to build 100 D-type models. With only 75 completed, Jaguar Classic is now fulfilling the company’s original ambition by creating 25 all-new, period-correct sports cars.

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Jaguar Classic D-Type

Image: Jaguar Classic

Only 25 of these classic Jaguar cars will be hand-built

The Jaguar D-type, which won the Le Mans 24 Hours race three times between 1955 and 1957, was powered by the six-cylinder XK engine. Every aspect of the D-type models built for clients from 2018 will be created to authentic, original specification.

“The opportunity to continue the D-type model’s success story, by completing its planned production run in Coventry, is one of those once-in-a-lifetime projects that our world-class experts at Jaguar Land Rover Classic are proud to fulfill,” said Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director.

The D-type is the third continuation vehicle from Jaguar Classic, complementing the six missing Lightweight E-type models completed in 2014-15 and nine XKSS models built in 2017-18.

Jaguar Classic experts’ painstaking research, with exclusive access to original Jaguar engineering drawings and records, ensures each new D-type will be built to the authentic specifications laid down by competitions manager Lofty England and his engineers in the 1950s. D-type clients can choose either 1955-specification Shortnose or 1956-spec Longnose bodywork.

Jaguar Classic D-Type

Image: Jaguar Classic

The engineering prototype is the 1956 Longnose specification, identifiable by its extended hood, characteristic tail fin behind the driver’s head, wide-angle cylinder head and quick-change brake calipers.

Kev Riches, Jaguar Classic Engineering Manager, said, “Recreating the nine D-type-derived XKSS models was hugely satisfying, and an even bigger technical challenge than the six missing Lightweight E-type models, but lessons learned from the XKSS project have given us a head start on the final 25 D-type models. Each one will be absolutely correct, down to the very last detail, just as Jaguar’s Competitions Department intended.” 

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