In the mid-50s, Jaguar made the D-Type car. It was built with the latest technology using cutting-edge techniques. With this car, Jaguar was able to win the Le Mans from 1955 to 1957. Today, these cars are among the most expensive sold in auctions. Sotheby’s sold a 1955 model for nearly $22 million.
Now, in the third of their continuation series, the company is manufacturing 25 more of the iconic cars. The D-Type will take its place alongside previous continuation models, the E-Type and the XKSS, as the latest modern release of a classic Jaguar car.
The company chose to release 25 of the D-Types because only 75 of the original 100 run were ever produced. A fire at their factory in 1957 prevented Jaguar from completing all 100 of the cars. While Jaguar insists that they produced 75 D-Types, some claim that Jaguar was only able to complete 71.
The new cars will be authentic versions of the D-Type following the original specifications. They will match the hood, wide-angle cylinder heads, quick-change brake calipers and the iconic tail fin. In the interior, the car will have the original round speedometer dial, wooden steering wheel and four-speed manual shifter.
The new cars are expected to also match the originals’ 250 horsepower and 167 mile-per-hour top speed.
Those willing and able to pay the expected $1.4 million price tag will have their choice of the 1955 shortnose specs or the 1956 longnose.
Deliveries are expected to begin later this year.
In the previous continuation series, Jaguar only made six of the Lightweight E-Types and nine of the XKSS.
The first public showing of the new D-Type was at the Salon Retromobile in Paris on February 7th.
Among the innovative features of the D-Type is the way the chassis was assembled. Instead of using a spaceframe like the C-Type Jaguar used, the D-Type welded aluminum panels into a unibody. It was the first time this approach had been taken with a car. Today, most cars use a similar monocoque chassis. The Type-D models also took a page from airplanes and stored the fuel in the tail of the car.
By sticking to the original specifications, Jaguar is producing a car that will not be street legal. If you wanted a classic continuation Jaguar to drive around town, you should have purchased one of the XKSS models produced last year. Sixteen of those street legal cars were originally manufactured in 1957 before the fire shut down the factory.
For those who want to know more of the specs, the D-Type has a 250 bhp, 3442 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine with three Weber 45 DCO3 carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle trailing links and transverse torsion bar and four-wheel disc brakes.
The D-Type premiered in the 1954 Le Mans, coming in second to the Ferrari 375 Plus in one of the closest finishes in Le Mans history. The next three years belonged to the Jaguar D-Type as they won every year, finishing in 1957 with a seven-lap lead.
After 1957, Jaguar got out of factory racing though the Type-D cars continued winning in the hands of private racing crews.
Jaguar is owned by Tata which also owns Land Rover. That company has also been releasing limited runs of its classic models in response to an increased appreciation for those older vehicles.
The “new” Jaguars are being built by Jaguar Land Rover Classic. The director, Tim Hannig, called this a “once-in-a-lifetime” project. The cars are being manufactured in Jaguar’s Warwickshire, England.