Bonhams to Sell First Production D-Type at Goodwood

The very first production Jaguar D-Type to roll off the line in 1955 will star in Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed sale on July 11, 2008.

The 1955 3.4-litre Jaguar D-Type Sports-Racing Two-Seater, chassis no. XKD 509, was raced in the USA by Lou Brero Sr in 1956 – 57. It was subsequently preserved for many years in the magnificent – and discreet – private collection of the late Nigel Moores (nephew of the creator of the Littlewoods business empire), and is owned today by his son James Moores.

‘XKD 509’ has an impeccable provenance and is widely acknowledged as being one of the most original D-Types in existence. It still retains its original sub-frame and tub as well as its original 3.4-litre competition engine with corresponding matching head and block.

The Jaguar D-Type was the car with which Sir William Lyons began to see a commercial return from his works team’s investment in what proved to be their charismatic three-times Le Mans 24-Hour race-winning design. Jaguar ‘XKD 509’ was campaigned throughout the 1956 American racing season by Lou Brero Sr – a racing lumberman from Arcata, California, and a well-respected Sports Car Club of America driver. The car competed in the 1956 Sebring 12-Hours, Elkhart Lake and later that year at Eagle Mountain, Texas, where Brero finished second (to Carroll Shelby’s more powerful Ferrari 121LM). 

At the end of that American season the Bahamas Speed Week events saw Lou Brero Sr again drive ‘XKD 509’ into 3rd place overall in the Governor’s Trophy. He was then 2nd in the Jaguar Trophy race behind John Fitch in the Cunningham team’s ex-works ‘Longnose’ D-Type before ‘XKD 509′ was entrusted to Marion Lowe who promptly won Heat 2 of the Nassau Ladies’ Trophy race in it! The following year Lou Brero won at Stockton in ‘XKD 509’.

Subsequently, in 1975, this D-Type Jaguar was acquired by the well-known racing driver and founding member of competitive historic motor racing, Nigel Moores. He was also the nephew of Sir John Moores, who founded the Littlewoods retail empire and Football Pools.

Along with his passion for motor racing Nigel Moores became the most dedicated Jaguar D-Type collector of the 1960s-70s. His anonymous-looking private collection premises at Ormskirk eventually housed no fewer than seven of these magnificent sports-racing cars. Nigel Moores raced many of the cars he owned and was a well-known and highly respected figure in international motor racing – not only in the Historic category – for some 20 years. Always preferring to maintain a low profile as well as a sense of fun with his hobby, he raced under the pseudonym Willie Eckerslyke (“Will ‘e? ‘Eck as like!”), and also sometimes adopted his mechanic’s name Paul Kelly. He set up ‘Longbacon Engineering’ and raced under the banner of Speed Merchants – ‘taking a longbacon’ became a slang expression for thumbing one’s nose at petty authority. Ever the enterprising driver, he once found himself at the Nurburgring after qualifying with a racing car that could not start the race. Not wanting to go home without a drive, he took the tow-hitch and bumpers off his tow car – a Morris Minor – and raced that instead!

Following Nigel Moore’s death, the majority of his car collection – which featured Coopers, Amilcars, Jaguars and a number of Ferraris, including a 250 GTO, in addition to a Ford GT40, and an ERA – was sold in the late 1980s. Considered to be the jewel in the crown of the collection, ‘XKD 509′ stayed with the family – some 33 years in all – and is now offered for sale at Bonhams by the late Nigel Moores’ son James.

Estimate £2,000,000 – 2,500,000

[Source: Photos courtesy of Bonhams]