Automotive

Published on January 29th, 2021 | by Joshua Chin

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Jaguar Classic Resurrects C-type With 8 Continuation Cars

The Le Mans-winning 1950s Jaguar sports car is back in production again in time for its 70th birthday. 

In celebration of the Jaguar C-type’s 70th anniversary, Jaguar Classic, the marque’s classic division, has recently announced the launch of its C-type Continuation programme. 

A total of 8 of these C-type Continuations will be produced ahead a racing-inspired celebration event for its new owners next year, with every one of these new classic Jaguars featuring a 3.4-litre triple-Weber fed straight-six engine that is good for 220bhp and all-round disc brakes. Or to put it in other words, the exact spec of the 1953 Le Mans-winning works team car. 

To be hand built at its Coventry Classic Works facility, these brand new 1950s C-type models will follow in the footsteps as the Lightweight E-type, XKSS and D-type projects prior. According to Jaguar, a blend of modern technology and its exclusive access to factory files from the period will ensure that these C-type Continuation cars are to be as accurate as possible to its 1950s counterparts. 

Having said that, seeing as these new historic Jags are built to be driven, an FIA-approved Harness Retention System or modern rollover protection can be optioned such that it complies with current track and historic racing regulations. Other options such as racing roundels, steering wheel badge and bonnet badging, as well as the choice of 12 period exterior colours and eight interior colours, are available to be optioned too during the commission of one’s C-type Continuation. 

Speaking more about the history of the C-type, this legendary Jaguar first tasted Le Mans glory during its debut year in 1951. The following year too was also significant in this big cat’s history as it was piloted to victory by Sir Stirling Moss in the Reims Grand Prix. 

However it was in 1953 which saw this particular big cat be really put its mark down in the history books. Winning Le Mans for the second time, what made this victory particularly significant was the fact that the C-Type was the first car to claim victory with disk brakes. Developed in conjunction with Dunlop, this new braking technology also allowed this Jag to break another record by being the first ever racing car to win the 24 hour endurance race with an average speed of over 100 mph (160 km/h). 

A total of 53 C-types were built throughout the 1950s, 43 of which made it into the hands of private owners. It has to be said however that these period Jaguars were based on the style of the 1951 works car, which meant that they featured only 200 hp, twin SU carburettors and drum-brakes. 

Then again, the one thing about those original 53 though is that they are road legal, unlike these continuation cars here. Having said that however, judging by the (presumably astronomical) prices of these C-type Continuations, the new owners would probably have no issue with this, as it could be expected that they would have their own plot of land big enough to potter around in their new vintage Jaguars regardless. 

PRESS RELEASE: Jaguar Classic is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the legendary C-type sports racer by creating a strictly limited production run of new C-type Continuation cars, which will be hand built at Jaguar’s world-class Classic Works facility in Coventry.

The C-type Continuation programme will allow historic motor racing enthusiasts to purchase a new factory-built example of the ultimate 1953 disc-braked ‘works’ C-type direct from Jaguar for the first time. 

The C-type, which was originally made between 1951-53, was famed for its exceptionally fluid shape by Jaguar Cars designer, aerodynamicist and artist Malcolm Sayer. The C-type won the gruelling Le Mans 24 Hours on its debut in 1951, scoring the first of Jaguar’s seven outright wins at the French endurance race.

From 1952, the C-type pioneered the adoption of innovative disc brake technology in motorsport, with a revolutionary system developed by Jaguar and Dunlop scoring the first win for a disc-braked car with Stirling Moss at the Reims Grand Prix in France and contesting the 1000-mile Mille Miglia in Italy. 

The C-type won the Le Mans 24 Hours again in 1953, another first for disc brakes, and also enjoyed success in the hands of private owners, which contributed to Jaguar finishing vice-champion in the inaugural World Sportscar Championship. 

Dan Pink, Director, Jaguar Classic, said: “Driven by some of the most-admired racing drivers in history, the C-type laid the foundations for Jaguar’s success in endurance racing and is synonymous with design and engineering innovation. Seventy years on, Jaguar Classic is proud to be able to utilise the latest innovations in manufacturing technology – alongside traditional skills and unrivalled expertise – to reintroduce this legendary car for a new generation of enthusiasts to enjoy.”

Of the 53 Jaguar C-types built in the 1950s, 43 were sold to private owners, but the production C-type specification was limited to drum-braked cars with twin SU carburettors and 200bhp, in the style of the 1951 works cars. 

Eight new C-type Continuation cars will be built ahead of a racing-inspired celebration event for their owners in 2022. Each example will reflect the 1953 Le Mans-winning works team car specification, including 3.4-litre straight-six engine with triple Weber 40DCO3 carburettors for 220bhp and disc brakes. 

Building on the experience gained with previous Jaguar Classic Continuation programmes for Lightweight E-type, XKSS and D-type, Jaguar Classic engineers have consulted Jaguar’s archives and cross-referenced scan data taken from an original C-type in conjunction with the latest computer aided design technology to create the most authentic new C-type possible. 

Exclusive access to original engineering drawings and company records created by the original C-type development team – including Malcolm Sayer, competitions manager Lofty England, and engineers William Heynes, Bob Knight and Norman Dewis – ensure the authentic 1953 specifications are accurately maintained.

Taking that engineering CAD data a stage further, for the first time ever Jaguar Classic is also able to give customers the opportunity to visualise their C-type Continuation virtually using a specially designed online configurator. This new tool at classicvisualiser.jaguar.com allows users to compare colour and trim options from the 12 authentic exterior colours and eight interior colours available, and apply optional racing roundels, steering wheel badge and bonnet badging. 

Additional options available to C-type Continuation customers include an FIA-approved Harness Retention System or rollover protection. Not just for show, these authentic new C-types will be eligible for historic racing, track and closed-road use.

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About the Author

Automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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