The 24 Hours of Le Mans tends to be dominated by one manufacturer or another in eras. Audi reigned supreme in the first decade of the 2000s, Porsche in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, and Ferrari in the early 1960s. But in the ’50s, it was all about Jaguar. And now one of the most important of its race winners is going up for auction.
What you see here is an exceptional specimen of the D-Type, the model Jaguar developed to succeed the C-Type that had won the race in 1953. This particular example was the first sold to a private team, campaigned by Ecurie Ecosse and emblazoned in the deep blue and St. Andrew’s cross of the Scottish flag.
Entered in the 1956 running of the French endurance race, chassis number XKD 501 crossed the finish line first, ahead of the factory D-Types and the Aston Martin DB3S driven by Stirling Moss and Peter Collins. Only 14 of the 49 entrants finished the race that year, and this D-Type took top honors.
That makes it not only one of the most significant Jaguars ever made, but one of the most important racing cars of any make. That means it will likely fetch big bucks when it crosses the auction block at RM Sotheby’s sale in Monterey on August 19-20.
If, like the rest of us, you don’t have the means to place a competitive bid, you can still check it out in the video and extensive image gallery below (captured by Patrick Ernzen for RM Sotheby’s). You may want to put a towel down to catch the drool, though, because aside from its historical significance, this classic racing Jag is also one of the most beautiful.