The C-Type was successful in racing, most notably at the Le Mans 24 hours race, which it won twice; the war won in 1951, its first attempt. The factory entered three, whose driver pairings were Stirling Moss and Jack Fairman, Leslie Johnson and 3-times Mille Miglia winner Clemente Biondetti, and the eventual winners, Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead. The Walker/Whitehead car was the only factory entry to finish, the other two retiring with lack of oil pressure. A privately entered XK120, owned by Robert Lawrie, co-driven by Ivan Waller, also completed the race, finishing 11th.
In 1952, Jaguar, worried by a report about the speed of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLs that would run at Le Mans, modified the C-Type’s aerodynamics to increase the top speed. However, the consequent rearrangement of the cooling system made the car vulnerable to overheating. All three retired from the race.
In 1953 a C-Type won again. This time the body was in thinner and of lighter aluminium; the original twin H8 sand cast SU carburettors were replaced by three DCO3 40mm Webers, which helped boost power to 220bhp (164 kW). Philip Porter mentions additional changes.
Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt won the race at 105.85mph (170.35km/h) – the first time Le Mans had been won at an average of over 100mph (161km/h). 1954, the C-Type’s final year at Le Mans, saw a fourth place by the Ecurie Francorchamps entry driven by Roger Laurent and Jacques Swaters.
This delightful C-Type is being sold direct from the collection of Prince Leopold of Bavaria. The Prince, very much familiar with motorsport, started his career with rallying and in 1969 moved to touring car racing, winning the North American Championships with Porsche in 1972.
In 1984 he also took part in the legendary sports car endurance race 24 Hours of Le Mans together with Walter Brun and Bob Akin, finishing fourth. In 1986, Leopold became a factory driver for the Munich based car manufacturer BMW and although he retired from competitive racing in 1998, he remains involved with the BMW racing team as an adviser.
This right hand drive car is finished with a hand crafted aluminium body sitting on painted wire wheels and finished in British Racing Green with a sage green interior.
The car boasts many beautiful features such as engraved fuel filler cap, an extra driving light behind the grill and Smiths dials; wet weather protection is catered for by a tonneau. The engine is fitted with triple SU carburettors with disc brakes all round bringing the car to a halt.
Supplied with an FIA Passport, German registration documents and UK buff log book, registration in the UK or indeed throughout Europe is a formality. In the ownership of the Prince for the last nine years and campaigned in historic events throughout Europe, this wonderful motor car represents a fantastic opportunity to experience the magic and drama of a C-Type.