Jaguar D-Type

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Jaguar D-Type

1955 - 1957
United Kingdom
6 cyl. inline
3442 cc
250 bhp
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
162 mph
Number Built:
5 star
Jaguar D-Type
Built between 1955 and 1957, the Jaguar D-Type was a racing success and, as it had done with the previous "C-Type", Jaguar were to release a very limited number of "Production D-types" - although nearly all were used for racing rather than as street vehicles.

The D-Type's engine incorporated an asymmetric head, larger valves and a newly designed "long-nose" body. The designers were rewarded with an immediate race track victory at Le Mans, however this was unfortunately overshadowed by the worst accident in motorsports history.

Some three hours into the race, a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR collided with a Austin Healey, plunging the hapless Austin into the grandstands. The crash and ensuing fire killed the Austins driver and over 80 of the spectators.

Mercedes-Benz immediately withdrew the remainder of its team, even as Sterling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio were leading the top D-Type by more than two laps. Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb, who were piloting the Jag, went on to a rather hollow victory.

In fact, Mercedes were to withdraw from motor racing altogther until 1988, when they joined forces with the Swiss Sauber team in the Sports Prototype Championship, then lining up on the grid with its partner AMG in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM).

The following year (1956) Jaguar were to suffer mechanical failures, however the marque was somewhat rescued by the privateer team "Ecurie Ecosse". One of their two D-Types, driven by Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson, were to again bring a D-Type to the Le Mans victory podium - for the second year in a row.

Although Jaguar were to leave racing at the end of 1956, private teams would continue to enjoy success driving the D-Type. At the 1957 Le Mans, D-Types were to finish first, second, third, fourth and sixth! A great success, but without the arch rival Mercedes Benz perhaps not terribly suprising.

In all, some 42 production D-Types were built, and the 1957 Le Mans remains as its greatest moment.

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Also see:

Jaguar Heritage
Swallow Sidecars - The William Lyons Story
Jaguar - A Racing Pedigree
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