Sunday 31 January 2021

Road - Purr-fection

From the ridiculous to the sublime ... if the previous post enthused about an outrageous machine, then this one is all about pace with grace. To mark the 70th anniversary of the C-type sports racer Jaguar Classic is creating a strictly limited production run of new C-type 'Continuation cars', which will be hand built by Jaguar in Coventry.

This 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The C-type, which was originally made between 1951-53, was famed for its exceptionally fluid shape by Jaguar Cars designer, aerodynamicist and artist Malcolm Sayer.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 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.

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.

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 200 bhp, 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 220 bhp 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 used scanned data from an original C-type in conjunction with the latest computer aided design technology.

Using 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 – will ensure authenticity.

Not just for show, these authentic new C-types will be eligible for historic racing, track and closed-road use. And no, I don't know the price. But if you've got to ask, then you know the rest. It will be awfy, awfy dear, eh?

Just imagine for  a moment. Sitting in an open cockpit with the wind whipping through your long flowing Covid lockdown locks and listening to a straight six being fed by triple Webers while a side exhaust bellows its mellifluous mechanical music just inches away from your ears. Bliss. Utter purr-fect bliss!


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