First Jaguar D-type ‘Long Nose’ racer set for RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction

The 1956 Jaguar D-type was the first of six built in the 'long nose' configuration | RM Sotheby's photos
The 1956 Jaguar D-type was the first of six built in the ‘long nose’ configuration | RM Sotheby’s photos

Only six “long-nose” versions of Jaguar’s famed Le Mans-winning D-type sports racers were built for the 1956 season and the first of these exotics has been consigned to RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction in January 2016.

The racing year 1956 was the final run for the Jaguar Works D-type program and the lengthened front of the car’s voluptuous form was an effort to make it even more aerodynamic for higher top speeds. This D-type, chassis XKD 604, was the first of the long-nose examples built. It was fitted with two innovations: Jaguar’s independent, de Dion rear suspension, and mechanical fuel injection instead of Weber carburetion.

The Jaguar D-type retired after the 1956 racing season
The Jaguar D-type retired after the 1956 racing season

After being wrung out by Jaguar’s legendary test engineer Norman Dewis, XKD 604’s debuted at the Daily Express Silverstone event in May 1956, where it was driven by Desmond Titterington. At season’s end, the team D-type cars were retired from racing and XKD 604 was acquired by Scottish racing team Ecurie Ecosse, where it remained in storage until the team closed its doors in 1971.

The Jaguar was eventually obtained by Scotsman Jim Tester in the 1970s, and then acquired by Michael Fisher of England, who commissioned its restoration by marque experts to original fuel-injected specification in 1986. It was imported into the United States in 1992, and went to the current owner in 2004.

The D-type has been displayed at numerous events in recent years, including the 2011 Monterey Motorsports Reunion, where it was part of the Jaguar Heritage Display, and the 2012 Dana Point Concours d’Elegance, where it received the Featured Marque award.

“Arizona represents one of our strongest venues on the auction calendar, and we’re always working to secure the most desirable, fresh-to-market vehicles for this true collector car destination.” Ian Kelleher, managing director of RM Sotheby’s West Coast Division, said in a news release. “The long-nose D-type is a perfect example as it has not changed hands in more than a decade, and offers a number of untapped historic-event participation opportunities for its next enthusiast owner.”

RM Sotheby’s 17th annual Arizona auction takes place January 28-29 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix. For more information about the sale and other early consignments, see the auction website.

3 thoughts on “First Jaguar D-type ‘Long Nose’ racer set for RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction”

  1. Talk about airbrushing history! “The car was retired at the end of the season” should read “was written off on its first outing at Silverstone”. “Acquired by Ecurie Ecosse” is denied by anyone at Ecurie Ecosse. So where was this mythical car between 1956 and 1980? It didn’t exist, and this one is as fine a fake snake as you can find. Search for the article “Precious Scrap Metal” by Doug Nye and look at the photo. There you’ll find the true story.

  2. It is widely acknowledged that this car is a replica or indeed, given the way it is being touted, perhaps one should say fake. The evidence is that it was written off and destroyed, while there is no evidence at all to support it being rebuilt. Of course one cannot sell a fake D-Type for $5.0 million so I guess it’s important for those with an interest in it to establish some fake history to go with it it.

  3. Furthermore, in the biography of Norman Dewis he talks of XKD 603 (not 604) having De Dion rear suspension and that Mike Hawthorn (down to drive 604 in the end) was to drive 505, the Le Mans-winning 1955 car, but that car wasn’t available. Desmond Titterington wrote 604 off on the first lap. As regards Ecurie Ecosse, Norman specifically states that in 1957 Ecurie Ecosse bought three cars from Jaguar, XKD 504, 603 and 606. In the whole of the 550 page biography, there is not one mention of XKD 604 anywhere. Did I mention that according to the owner the parts were found in Merchiston Mews, the Ecurie Ecosse base, seven years after they went bankrupt and the place was cleared out and sold to another company? Oh, this story rolls on, especially the part where the person who “found” the car was well known for working on cars, replacing good parts, and keeping the old ones to build up his own car. Let me be even more blunt. XKD was, according to the notebook of the works manager Bill Heynes, cut up i9nto pieces over two days after the wrecked car was transported back to Jaguar on a trailer after the accident. Can I be any more specific than that?

    And don’t bother to read the history of the car on Coventry Racers site either, or elsewhere. The owner has carefully written these histories during his 11 years of ownership to establish credibility.

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