LAT Archive: Why the Jaguar D-type is so iconic

The finned racer scored three victories at Le Mans with some of the world’s finest drivers in the cockpit. It’s little wonder the Big Cat has re-started production

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Jaguar has revealed its D-type continuation model more than 60 years after the original cars were first built. The news means the marque will finally finish the initially intended 100-strong production run.

The 25 new D-types, built to the exact specifications of the cars from the 1950s, represent the third continuation model that Jaguar Land Rover Classic has reintroduced, following on from the E-type Lightweight and XKSS.

With three back-to-back victories at the Le Mans 24-hours between 1955 and 1957, the D-type is Jaguar’s most successful car to compete at La Sarthe. It is also the marque’s only model to win the sports car crown more than once.

From the earliest D-types being built through to them winning and crashing, and then being celebrated at Goodwood in more recent years, LAT Images has captured the full story.

Le Mans, France. June 11-12, 1955. Next to a Jaguar C-type, a revised D-type longnose prototype is being built in the Jaguar factory ahead of Le Mans.

Le Mans, France. June 11-12, 1955. Mike Hawthorn/Ivor Bueb, on their way to taking the Jaguar D-type’s first victory at Le Mans, lead the Juan Manuel Fangio/Stirling Moss Mercedes-Benz 300SLR – which would eventually retire.

Dundrod, Northern Ireland. September 11, 1954. Stirling Moss sits tight in the cockpit of his D-type during the rain.

Reims, France. June 30-July 1, 1956. Ivor Bueb/Duncan Hamilton head a Jaguar D-type one-two-three finish at Reims ahead of Mike Hawthorn/Paul Frere and Desmond Titterington/Jack Fairman.

Le Mans, France. July 28-29, 1956. Paul Frere/Desmond Titterington (Jaguar D-type) lead Jack Fairman/Ken Wharton (Jaguar D-type) as they pass a spinning Alfonso de Portago/Duncan Hamilton (Ferrari 625 LM). All three cars failed to finish.

Le Mans, France. July 28-29, 1956. Ninian Sanderson/Ron Flockhart take the chequered flag – and back-to-back Le Mans victories for the D-type.

Le Mans, France. June 22-23, 1957. Francois Sigrand/Michel Nicol lead eventual winners Ron Flockhart/Ivor Bueb (Jaguar D-type) as they pass the wreckage of the upside-down Tony Brooks/Noel Cunningham-Reid Aston Martin DBR1. To the side of the road is the crashed Umberto Maglioli/Edgar Barth Porsche 718 RSK.

Goodwood, UK. September 12-14, 2014. Gary Pearson heads an all-D-type and XKSS field for the Lavant Cup at the 2014 Goodwood Revival.

Goodwood, UK. June 25-28, 2015. Andy Wallace, Le Mans winner with Jaguar in 1988, pilots a D-type up the Goodwood hillclimb during the Festival of Speed.

Jaguar Heritage, Gaydon, UK. September 8, 2016. The Jaguar D-type still draws attention even in the company of the C-type, XJR-9 and the marque’s newly unveiled I-type Formula E car.

Images courtesy of LAT Archive

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