Jaguar Classic is restarting production of the brand's iconic Jaguar D-Type race car 62 years after the last example was built in 1956.
The car debuted in 1954 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. Despite leading the race, the auto ran into some fuel-feed issues, causing several delaying pit stops. The team still came in a respectable second, behind Ferrari.
Jaguar charged back in 1955, securing a first-place finish, which the team repeated in 1956 and 1957. That last year ended up being a one, two, three, four sweep for Jag D-Types. The rules for racing changed in 1958, however, and the D-Type was no longer competitive.
In 1955, Jaguar planned to build 100 D-Types but a major setback occurred two years later. Seventy-five were completed when one February night in 1957, a fire at the Jaguar factory in Coventry, England, broke out in the tire department and burned one-third of the facility, encompassing 700,000 square feet. Hundreds of vehicles were destroyed, including nine D-Types along with the tooling to create them.
Because of the storied legacy, Jaguar is going to finish its original ambition to deliver 100 D-Types, creating a run of 25 new, period-correct examples.
This batch of cars will be hand-built at a Jaguar Classic's facility in Warwickshire, England. Every aspect of the D-Type models built for clients from 2018 will be created to authentic, original specifications, the company says.
Restoration experts' painstaking research, with exclusive access to original Jaguar engineering drawings and records, ensures each new D-Type will be built to the specifications laid down by competitions manager Lofty England and his engineers in the 1950s. D-Type clients can choose either a 1955-specification Shortnose or 1956-spec Longnose body for their race cars.
The Longnose is identifiable by its extended hood, characteristic tail fin behind the driver's head, wide-angle cylinder head and quick-change brake calipers. Jaguar says each one will be "absolutely correct, down to the very last detail" and no doubt that exquisite craftsmanship won't come cheap. Pricing hasn't been announced, but vintage examples usually trade in the millions of dollars at auctions.
The first Jaguar D-Type to be assembled by Jaguar Classic, an engineering prototype, made its world debut at last week's Salon Retromobile show in Paris.
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