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1953 Jaguar C-Type news, pictures, specifications, and information

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In 1951, Jaguar launched an assault on LeMans with the XK120C or C-Type. The 'C' was for competition and Jaguar wasn't kidding. It was pure race car designed with a space-frame chassis made of steel tubing along with an independent rear suspension. The aerodynamic body was designed by Malcolm Sayer and built of aluminum. Jaguar won the 1951 24 Hours of LeMans with a C-Type driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead. When the 1952 LeMans cars retired due to overheating, the C-Type was redesigned slightly for the 1953 race and also made 150 pounds lighter due to the use of lightweight electrical equipment and aircraft-style fuel tanks. C-Types finished first, second, fourth, and ninth at LeMans in 1953.

The legendary C-Type is powered by a 205 horsepower version of Jaguar's venerable XK-Series 3.4-liter inline 6-cylinder engines.

One of just 39 produced, this car has an extensive racing history; its best finish third place in 1953 at Sebring with Sherwood Johnson driving. Amazingly, it finished thirty races before failing to complete its first event while racing against Cobras and Chaparrals. In 1976, a later E-Type engine was installed. That engine was replaced in 1988 when the original engine with which it was born was re-installed.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2013
The Jaguar C-Type was produced from 1951 to 1953 with an estimated 54 being produced. After a team of Jaguar XK 120C, the 'C' representing 'competition', vehicles had an excellent showing at LeMans, William Lyons commissioned a car to be built that could contend for the overall victory. Malcom Sayer designed the aerodynamic body and Bob Knight was responsible for the lightweight, multi-tubular, and triangulated frame. The body panels were constructed of aluminum. The mechanical components borrow heavily from the Jaguar XK120. Under the bonnet was a modified twin-cam, straight six engine. Horsepower had been increased from 160 to 205. All non-essential items were removed in an effort to reduce the overall weight. Nearly a thousand pounds was shed.

Later versions of the C-Type received extra modifications including disc brakes, reduced weight, and engine improvements. The engine was fitted with twin-choke Weber carburetors and high-lift camshafts.

The Jaguar C-Type made its LeMans debut in 1951. When the checkered flag dropped, it was a C-Type driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead in first place. This is an astonishing accomplishment and a true testament to the capability of the car and drivers. The legendary Stirling Moss was also driving a C-Type but unfortunately was forced to retire prematurely due to mechanical difficulties.

In 1953 a modified C-Type repeated its accomplishment by winning again at LeMans. It was driven by Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2006
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Jaguar XK120

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