1953 Jaguar C-Type

Vehicle Profiles


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. T....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: XKC 053

For the 1953 Le Mans race Jaguar developed three 'lightweight' race cars. They carried Dunlop disc-brakes, Weber carburation, small chassis tubes and thinner body panels. The engine was a double overhead camshaft six-cylinder displacing 3,442cc's and....[continue reading]


Chassis Num: XKC 052
Engine Num: E 1055-9

The Jaguar C-Type enjoyed a very successful racing career, winning the 24 Hours of LeMans twice for Coventry. The C-Type began life as the XK120 roadster. Several privateering customers entered factory-supported XK120 examples at the 1950 Le Mans rac....[continue reading]

Chassis #: XKC 053 
Chassis #: XKC 052 


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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