D-type 60th Anniversary Display

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

As part of the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Jaguar D-type, a special commemorative display has recently been installed in the Jaguar Heritage gallery at the Heritage Motor Centre museum at Gaydon.

Centrepiece of the display is, of course, a Jaguar D-type!  The car on show is a very unique example being the first prototype that was built in early 1954. 

D-type with boards at HMC
1954 D-type prototype at Le Mans

This prototype, with chassis number XKC 401 (as it was a development from the C-type model), was taken straight to Le Mans for testing in May1954, where Jaguar works driver, Tony Rolt, immediately broke the previous lap record by a clear 5 seconds!

This was the start of the D-type's illustrious race history which saw many victories over the following six years in UK, Europe and USA, including three in the Le Mans 24 hour race itself.

The D-type is flanked by two other very famous cars from the Jaguar Heritage collection:

The 1950 XK120, registration NUB 120, that was driven by Ian Appleyard with his wife Patricia (daughter of Jaguar founder William Lyons) acting as navigator in several races and rallies.  Ian won the Alpine Rally twice, the RAC Rally and the Tulip rally as well as being the first winner of the Alpine Gold Cup - for three consecutive runs without incurring a penalty point!  

The one and only XJ13 from 1966.  Designed to be a Le Mans competitor to succeed the D-type, the XJ13 was fitted with a quad cam 5.0 litre V12 engine to give it a top speed approaching 200mph.  Sadly the rules were changed before it was completed, limiting Le Mans cars to engine capacities not exceeding 3.0 litres.  This left the XJ13 sidelined and this prototype remains the only original example.

Behind these cars are a number of display panels which provide a brief history of the D-type and also list 60 interesting facts about the car - some well known and some more obscure!

To complement the vehicles, the Jaguar Heritage Archive team has also assembled a fascinating collection of D-type related artefacts which have been put on display in two cabinets.  

These include a number of items kindly loaned by the family of Malcolm Sayer, who is credited with the design of some of the most iconic Jaguars from the 1950s and 60s including the D-type, E-type and the XJ13.  Amongst these artefacts are several scale models of potential designs, one of Malcolm's original note books and an example of his painting skills!

D-type 60 board example
D-type cabinet 2 D-type cabinet 1
D-type artworks

Also on display are a number of original archive documents, some further artefacts kindly loaned by Nigel Webb (including a rare set of playing cards issued to celebrate Jaguar's Le Mans victories) and a fine selection of scale model D-types.

Finally, to round out the display, two original artworks by the famous automotive artist Roy Nockolds have been put on display.  These depict the D-type in the Reims 12 hour race in 1954 (which it won) and also a dawn scene from the 1957 Le Mans 24 hour race which saw the D-type's most impressive result with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th places!