Classic Car Capital
1956 Jaguar XK140 MC DHC

Auction: McCluggage’s Former Jaguar XK140

The Auburn Auction is just right around the corner and Worldwide Auctioneers definitely have a very special lot to offer. A historic 1956 Jaguar XK140 MC DHC given by sportsman, team owner, and constructor Briggs Cunningham to pioneering motoring journalist and racing driver Denise McCluggage.

For so many years, it has been believed that this specific XK140 has been lost to time. After almost thirty years, and a couple of years after McCluggage’s death, it miraculously resurfaced – in an unaltered condition – sitting in a garage.

The XK140 example has been credited for inspiring her racing career. After it was found, there was a flurry of media attention just this March when it was finally displayed at Daytona International Speedway during McCluggage’s posthumous induction to the Motorsports Hall of Fame.

1956 Jaguar XK140 MC DHC

Cunningham Motorsports’ Historian Lawrence Berman has authenticated the numbers-matching example; and on Saturday, September 3, it will be offered in its unaltered condition at The Auburn Auction in Indiana. The XK140 will be joining some exceptional pre-war automobiles, classics, sports cars, race cars, and some American muscle cars.

Principal and Auctioneer Rod Egan shared, “How often do you get a chance to acquire such an exceptionally iconic race car, owned and raced by two people who are in a combined six Halls of Fame, such was their impact on the motorsports world? The historical significance of this car cannot be overstated.”

President and Founder of The Motorcar Society Barnaby Brokaw considers the Jaguar to be one of the most significant bar finds of the decade, stating, “There is so much history behind this Jaguar. It deserves a very special owner who understands this and wants to be part of its legacy. It has many more stories to tell and people to meet. We’re looking forward to finding a passionate collector to be its next custodian and continue to tell its story and be part of its history.”

Denise McCluggage was an accomplished racing driver and a true trailblazer. Affectionately called Lady Leadfoot, she is considered to be one of the greatest motoring journalists and was awarded the Ken W. Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism. She was also the first journalist to be inducted to the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Working for several publications, she played a key role in making motor racing popular as a spectator sport. She introduced racing and automotive coverage to the New York Herald and was also the first female journalist to cover the famous Indy 500. At the time, women were forbidden inside so she had to conduct interviews from outside the fence of Gasoline Alley. She was also one of the founders of America’s first motorsports weekly, Competition Press, which is now published as Autoweek.

1956 Jaguar XK140 MC DHC

The Jaguar was the first car she used for competing as a professional race driver, and it was raced often and well. One of her most famous excursions was on August 19, 1956 at the SCCA race at New York’s Montgomery Airport where she claimed victory for class C. McCluggage’s racing career brought her all over the world where she competed at some of the most famous venues like Nürburgring in Germany, Daytona Beach, Florida, and Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin.

This 1956 Jaguar XK140 MC DHC, chassis no. S818207, is powered by a matching-numbers 3.4-liter DOHC straight six-cylinder engine with double SU H6 carburetors, matched with four-speed manual gearbox, front suspension transverse wishbones with torsion bars, rack and pinion steering, and rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs.

The exterior had a sleeker grille, more pronounced bumpers, chrome trim, and it has also kept its voluptuous curves that made it a post-war icon. This Drophead Coupe also has a stronger canvas top, fixed windscreen, side windows and a small backseat. Interior features a walnut-veneered dashboard and door trim still represents British luxury with a powerful performance to match.

From September 1-3, the Auburn Auction will be held at the Kruse Plaza in Auburn, Worldwide’s Indiana headquarters. Auction catalogues are available online at the company’s website. Those who are interested to consign their vehicles can still do so by contact a motorcar specialist at 1.260.925.6789.

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