25 D-type continuation cars will be built by Jaguar Classic, priced at more than £1m each – and there will be two distinct versions available
The D-type is back, 62 years after the last one was built at Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant – and the new continuation car will be on show at Rétromobile in Paris this week.
This is the first new D-type to be produced by Jaguar Classic, following successful builds of six Lightweight E-type and nine XKSS continuation cars over the past four years. Twenty-five examples of the D-type will be made, in addition to the ‘car zero’ engineering prototype you see here – a significant increase over the previous two continuation car models.
Why 25? Because in 1955 Jaguar planned to produce 100 D-types but actually made only 75, so Jaguar Classic plans to finally complete the production run, hand-building the cars at Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry, UK.
They will be built to two distinct specifications: 1955 production-specification ‘short-nose’ and 1956 works-specification ‘long-nose’. The production spec was for the cars sold to privateer racers, while the works spec was for the cars raced by the factory team.
The engineering prototype you see here is the long-nose version, complete with correct wide-angle cylinder head, quick-change brake calipers and the famous fin, designed to aid high-speed stability. In this specification, D-types topped 170mph on the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans – indeed, D-types won the Le Mans 24-hours race three times between 1955 and 1957.
Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic director, said: ‘The Jaguar D-type is one of the most iconic and beautiful competition cars of all time, with an outstanding record in the world’s toughest motor races. And it’s just as spectacular today.
‘The opportunity to continue the D-type’s success story, by completing its planned production run in Coventry, is one of those once-in-a-lifetime projects that our world-class experts at Jaguar Land Rover Classic are proud to fulfil.’
Kev Riches, Jaguar Classic engineering manager, said: ‘Recreating the nine D-type-derived XKSSs was hugely satisfying, and an even bigger technical challenge than the six missing Lightweight E-types, but lessons learned from the XKSS project have given us a head-start on the final 25 D-types. Each one will be absolutely correct, down to the very last detail, just as Jaguar’s Competitions Department intended.’
How does Jaguar Classic build the D-types? We were granted access to the top-secret area where the prototype was developed – here’s how it was done.