Collector Car Appreciation Day
Friday July 14, 2017
When the Jaguar D-Type debuted at the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans, it finished a narrow 2nd to a 4.9-liter Ferrari V-12. A year later, a D-Type with a long-nosed factory body and a revised motor won the race outright. Although Jaguar retired from racing after the 1956 season, the D-Type continued to flourish in private hands, winning Le Mans in 1956 and 1957 for the Ecurie Ecosse. Although not necessarily well-suited to every type of course, the D-Type proved to be extremely effective on properly surfaced endurance circuits, and it remains one of the most important Le Mans race cars ever built, holding a special place in Coventry lore.
Chassis XKD 530 offers a tale that is surely as intricate and fascinating as any surviving D-Type. This car, one of the fifty-four examples produced for privateer customers, was dispatched from the factory on February 13, 1956, and it was finished in British Racing Green, as confirmed by its Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate. The car was retailed through Finnish Jaguar dealer S.M.K. and delivered in April 1956 to Curt Lincoln, of Helsinki, a tennis player on Finland’s Davis Cup team who was known to the racing world for his exploits in F3 midget cars, and a Jaguar C-Type. Mr. Lincoln had the car modified for Ice Racing and campaigned it in Europe in several forms.
In November 1966, chassis XKD 530, no longer competitive on Finland’s ice courses, was sold to English collector Nigel Moores, a historic racing enthusiast who owned a number of D-Types during his life. When the car arrived for him, it showed the symptoms of wear expected from such hard use, and the body had been modified to an open two-seater cockpit with a truncated tail. As rebuilding the original body was deemed to be too prohibitively expensive for a car of such value at that time, it was decided that the later D-Type construction manner, which involved separately bolting a front and rear chassis sub-frame to the monocoque body, afforded the opportunity to remove the damaged body and salvage as many original chassis components as possible.
Mr. Moores’ staff separated the chassis tub, mounted all-new bodywork in the factory long-nose style, and fitted the car with the wide-angle headed D-Type engine that had originally been used by the Cunningham team. The separated monocoque body, the original engine, and the gearbox were put aside and eventually sold, around 1984, to historic racer John Harper, who repaired the coachwork and mounted it on an all-new chassis that mostly consisted of various original Jaguar factory components.
As both resulting cars were stamped with the XKD 530 chassis number, a controversy gradually emerged as to the proper identity of each car and as to which was, in fact, the authentic original car.“Ole Sommer,”a D-Type owner and the proprietor of Sommer’s Veteranbil Museum in Denmark, eloquently summarized the situation; “It seems difficult to rectify the situation, unless some benevolent person should decide to purchase both cars and exchange the front sub-frames and the legal documents, resulting in only one single car claiming to be XKD 530.”
This is essentially the path that the previous owner followed after acquiring one car in 1998 and the other in June 2002. The consignor delivered both cars in late 2002 to Chris Keith-Lucas’s well-regarded CKL Developments in East Sussex. When disassembling both cars, CKL carefully noted the individual part numbers, and after comparing them to original factory parts numbering that had been supplied by a long-time D-Type expert, the parts were separated and color-coded to distinguish which were original to XKD 530 and those used as replacements in either of the two vehicles.
It was presented at RM/Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale in racing livery, with Dunlop centerlock alloy wheels, Dunlop Racing tires, dual wraparound Plexiglas windscreens, 4-point belts, RetroTrip rally odometer, SINN stopwatch and clock, three Salter digital timers, and a driver’s head fairing. It was in great useful condition at Amelia, with Gary Bartlett and Terry Larson both involved. Sold by Christie’s in London in June 2002 for $517,979 while there were still two claimants to the chassis number, then sold after rectification by RM at Monterey in 2013 for $3,905,000. It left the 2015 RM Sotheby’s Amelia auction block unsold but closed during the sale at $3,340,909 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $3,675,000 – surely an excellent deal on a D-type that is eligible for, and has participated in, many desirable events including four runs in the Mille Miglia Storica.
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