Reborn and Remembered: Jaguar D-Type ‘Long-Nose’ (video and photos)

When Jaguar pulled out of competitive racing at the end of 1955 (following the horrific 1955 Le Mans accident), it was left to the factory-blessed Ecurie Ecosse team to carry on with the Jaguar name within Motorsport realms…and carry on it did, as the short-lived Jaguar D-Type (introduced in 1954) was to dominate (and win) nearly every race it entered and subsequently become one of the great motorsport icons.

The D-Type captured outright victories at Le Mans from 1955 to 1957, with near misses in ’54 and ’58. On fast-flowing circuits the D-Type reigned supreme and took on all other comers with utmost ease. Here’s a video from 1956 featuring onboard footage and ‘live-mic’d’ commentary from Mike Hawthorn as he does a relatively slow lap of the Le Mans road-circuit whilst commuters and cyclists go on about their day…

Following on from where the C-Type left off, the D-Type was an aesthetic tour-de-force lavished with a truly impressive technical pedigree. The basic outline was penned by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer (who later aided in designing the legendary E-Type) and featured a (at the time) radical chassis layout: a stress-bearing monocoque with two bulkheads joined together by longitudinal tunnels, all beautifully wrapped in a riveted aluminium outer-skin not unlike that of an aircraft’s fuselage.

For 1955, great care was given to reduce drag and assist with airflow underneath the car as it topped 180 mph along the legendary Mulsanne straight at Le Mans. The body was lengthened (known as the ‘long-nose’ version of ’55) and the driver gained a fin directly behind him to aid in stabillity. The D-Type also boasted disc brakes on all 4 corners at a time when all other competitors were using drums to halt the forces of nature.

Back in the Summer, the Harvington Motor Company had been entrusted by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust to complete an engine rebuild on this classic D-Type from 1956 (driven by Hawthorn in the above video) in time for the Mille Miglia Classic. Since then, the D-Type has remained within the safe hands of the Jaguar Heritage fleet and only comes out on special occasions or if you have the required funds and acceptable reasoning to do so…

Engine removed for rebuild

This past weekend a good friend of mine in the UK – with amazing automotive ‘connections’ it should be noted – wrote to me detailing his epic drive behind the wheel of this very D-Type that was driven by Mike Hawthorn at the 1956 Le Mans where it placed 6th overall. Estimated to be worth in the region of $7-$11 million dollars, I am without words and beyond the realms of petrolheaded jealousy to describe my friend’s drive in this iconic D-Type from Jaguar’s past… It must have been absolutely incredible.

Here’s a video of those first few carefully-driven miles immediately following the engine rebuild by Harvington Motor Company…

-Blake J.


One Response to Reborn and Remembered: Jaguar D-Type ‘Long-Nose’ (video and photos)

  1. Solai Luke says:

    This is the interesting post! Thank you for the idea! Using best wishes Luke aka couchgool.

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