OH DEAR – DON’T BELIEVE ALL YOU READ ABOUT AN HISTORIC CAR!!!

We know all about ‘buyer beware’ and I am sure any potential buyer of a D-Type would carefully do their research, but there is a description circulating on-line concerning one of three factory D-Type Le Mans entries in 1954 – and it could NOT be more incorrect.  The car is about to be auctioned.

It states:  “At the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1954, this legendary Jaguar D-Type saw victory with Sir Stirling Moss behind the wheel. Now, you can own that very car.

“Up for grabs at RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction next month, this is the first time this victorious D-Type is being offered for public sale. With its 3.4-litre straight-six engine, the nimble Jag went up against giants such as the Ferrari 375 Plus with its 5.0L V12 – twice as many cylinders as the Jag – and still has its original body, chassis, drivetrain and suspension components.

“Following its Le Mans victory with Moss in 1954, this D-Type went on to race a series of other events in 1955 before being bought by a privateer team that same year.

“RM Sotheby’s expects the D-Type will fetch anywhere between US$12 and $15 million.”

The facts are that Sir Stirling Moss NEVER EVER won the Le Mans 24 Hours race in his career, and Jaguar DID not win Le Mans that year!

The D-Type which finished second to Ferrari was registered OKV1, and this car is OKV2 – it retired after midnight with brake problems …  Yes, it was driven by Moss and Peter Walker.  … and it also does not have the original chassis engine frame.

It also didn’t finish its next race – the Reims 12 Hour, and it had a number of major rebuilds following serious crashes when privately owned and raced.

According to the ‘bible’ for historic C and D-Types ‘Jaguar C-Type – D-Type Lightweight E-Type Register’ (Larson, Woodley, Carlaw, Skilleter – Edited Clausager) OKV3 only won a single known race, and that was in 1957.  It records the factory replaced the chassis frame in late 1955 after a serious crash when owned by Jack Broached.  “The number on the frame, if any, is uncertain.”

It was heavily rolled, cartwheel fashion, at Goodwood in May 1956, and returned to the factory for another rebuild in the Experimental Department.  It didn’t race for three and a half months.  According to the Register again, Andrew Whyte speculated parts of XKD548 or 570 were incorporated including the chassis frame with its number.  Bob Berry (Jaguar’s assistant PR and – the driver of OKV2 then) states it got a new production type body and frame at the time.

The Register again states:  “During his rebuild of XKC403 (correct XKC and not D) in the early 2000s, Terry Larson confirmed that this car had the frame of XKD548.”

Yes, it is definitely entitled to be described and sold as OKV2 – but the history needs to be documented and stated absolutely correctly.  You would not expect an incorrect description of authenticity for an old masterpiece which was expected to fetch US$12 or $15 million.

I imagine RM Sotheby’s would not have got this wrong (they have the chassis number recorded incorrectly though) and made those statements – but a journalist or enthusiast is promoting the car by their own words and has made serious blunders.

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