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Car and Driver: Le Mans–winning Jaguar D-Type Likely to Set Auction Price Record


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1955-Jaguar-D-Type-PLACEMENT

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The D-type is one of the most coveted and valuable of all Jaguars, but add a Le Mans–winning racing history, and the hothouse atmosphere of the Pebble Beach weekend, and this 1956 D-type could bring a world-record price when it goes under the gavel at RM’s Monterey auction next month.

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The 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans came on the heels of the horrific 1955 race, in which a grisly crash saw a Mercedes race car fly off the track into the stands, killing more than 80 spectators; a D-type won that race—after the two leading Mercedes cars voluntarily withdrew. For the 1956 outing, the circuit was redesigned in order to make it safer for both the drivers and the spectators. Jaguar’s factory team entered three D-types, but only one of those finished (in sixth place); instead, it was this car, fielded by the Ecurie Ecosse team, that took the checkered flag, driven by Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson.

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Their D-type averaged 104 mph (the D-type was the first car to break the triple-digit average-speed barrier at Le Mans, in its first outing in 1954), and topped 156 mph on the Mulsanne straight.

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1955 Jaguar D-Type

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Since 1957, this historic D-type has been in the hands of only three private collectors, and has been maintained in as-raced condition.

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The most expensive Jaguar ever to sell at auction was a 1953 C-type, also with Le Mans history (a fourth-place finish)—it went for $13.2 million at RM’s Monterey sale last year. According to Jonathan Klinger at Hagerty, this car, if it sells, “is very likely to become the most expensive British car ever to sell at auction.” To reach that milestone, it will not only have to beat the $13.2-million figure of last year’s C-type, but would need to surpass the $13.75 million achieved by a 1998 McLaren F1 LM at that same Monterey sale.

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1955-Jaguar-D-Type-REEL

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