We’re going to take a temporary step back from new tech and innovation for a second to talk about the ‘new’ Jaguar D-Types that will be produced this year.
Back in 1955, Jaguar aimed to produce 100 road-going examples of the D-Type, the epochal sportscar that secured the British manufacturer three consecutive wins at Le Mans between 1955 and 1957. Ultimately only 75 models were completed, and after a 62-year wait, the Jaguar Land Rover Classic team has confirmed the final 25 examples will be hand-built in its facility in Warwickshire, UK.
Aside from choosing between the original 1955-spec Shortnose body or the 1956-spec Longnose, customers will have limited options to choose from. Each of the 25 ‘continuation’ D-Types will be powered by a 3.4-litre straight-six as they were in period. Each will produce 245bhp and 328Nm (242lb ft) of torque.
“after a 62-year wait, the Jaguar Land Rover Classic team has confirmed the final 25 examples will be hand-built.”
So far the only complete example is the ‘Longnose’ engineering prototype, which features the D-Type’s legendary sleek bodywork, extended clamshell bonnet, and tailfin behind the driver’s head. Each production model will be hand-built with similar tools and techniques used by Jaguar during the 1950s. That’s a dedicated 7000 hours, per car!
[RoyalSlider Error] Incorrect RoyalSlider ID or problem with query.
All 25 examples will feature a monocoque tub. A revolutionary technology at the time, the original 75 D-Types featured independent suspension, disc brakes (another advanced technology at the time) and Dunlop alloys, which were chosen specifically for their advanced strength over conventional wire wheels.
Following in the successful footsteps of the C-Type – which won Le Mans in 1953 thanks to their innovative disc brake technology allowing Jaguar cars to decelerate faster than their rivals – the D-Type showcased the first serious use of monocoque construction in motorsport on its Le Mans debut in 1954, a race Jaguar could well have won had bad weather and faulty experimental fuel filters not intervened.
“in 1957, the Jaguar D-Type took five of the top six positions, including a 1-2-3-4 ten laps ahead of the closest ferrari.”
Jaguar had made its mark in 1954 though: thanks in part to the uber-aerodynamic Malcolm Sawyer-designed bodywork, the D-Type beat the lap record at La Sarthe during pre-event practice by five whole seconds, and achieved a top speed of 273.5kph (170mph). One year later, a Jaguar car had taken its third victory in five years at La Sarthe. In 1956, the privateer Ecurie Ecosse team kept the D-Type’s Le Mans winning streak going, and in 1957, the Jaguar D-Type took five of the top six positions, including a 1-2-3-4 ten laps ahead the Ferrari 315 S. Cue another record speed down the Mulsanne Straight too (287.7kph / 178.8mph).