1956 Jaguar XK-D D-Type
|Model History||Auction sales research||Specifications||Body styles and Chassis Data|
The original factory D-Types nearly won the LeMans race in 1954. Instead, they were forced to settle with second place behind a much more powerful Ferrari V12. Further enhancements and improvements to the 'Long-nose' D-Types put the Jaguar's at the head of the pack, winning LeMans in 1955 and 1957. The factory was very successful with their Long-nose D-Types and decided to build the 'Short-nose' D-Types for privateers. This example, bearing chassis number XKD553, is one of those shortnose privateer cars.
When it left the factory, it was finished in white livery and fitted with the small headrest tail fin which was offered optionally by the factory. It was used as a dealer-display for a short time before being sent to the United States and into the arms of amateur racer, Jack Ensley. Ensley was also the President of Jaguar Midwest Distributors Inc. He had raced during the 1955 where he finished third in the World Championship-qualifying Sebring 12-Hour classic while driving a D-Type.
XKD553 was raced on March 23rd of 1957 at the Sebring 12-Hour classic where it was driven by Ensley and Pat O'Connor. It was one of four FIA-sanctioned D-Types to race in that event. The car ran as high as 10th overall. It raced for six hours when its rear axle failed and side-lined the car prematurely.
The car was sold to John C. Reueter near the close of 1957. The car was later acquired by Edmund Rahal of Savannah, Georgia who used the car in SCCA south-eastern regional competition from 1957 through 1961.
The car was club raced by Mike Bradley from 1968 through 1969 in England. Ownership was later passed to Bob Roberts, who had a collection of cars in the Midland Motor Museum at Bridgenorth in Shropshire. Roberts had the body and running gear overhauled. For a brief time it was powered by a 3.8-liter engine instead of the 3.4-liter unit. The car remained in the museum collection until it was purchased by Paul Vestey for his private collection in Hampshire. It was later sold to Peter Kaus in Germany who added the car to his Rosso Bianco Collection.
This car carries chassis number 'XKD 553', body number 'H2053', and engine number 'E2046-9'. The engine is a 3.4-liter unit with cast-iron cylinder block. There is a spare Dunlop road wheel and tire in place in the original retainer. The Lucas headlights are non-original, as the original lamps were notoriously deficient for the 160 mph speeds this car has been known to travel.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007
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|Bonhams & Butterfields at The Quail Lodge, Resort & Golf Club||1951-1970|