The Dick Skipworth Collection of Ecurie Ecosse competition cars will headline the 2013 Bonhams New Bond Street Auction, scheduled for Sunday 1st December at Bonhams’ newly redesigned and refurbished London headquarters.
Scottish businessman and amateur racing driver David Murray founded Ecurie Ecosse in November 1951.From a humble garage in a cobbled Edinburgh mews, operating invariably upon a shoestring budget, this proudly Scots blue-liveried team would take on – and beat – some of the biggest names in world-class motor racing, and would win consecutive Le Mans 24-Hour races for Jaguar in 1956 and 1957.
Had David Murray not crashed at the Nurburgring during practice for the 1950 German Grand Prix his now legendary team might never have been born. Backed by fellow Scottish enthusiasts he had founded Ecurie Ecosse as a cooperative syndicate, running mainly Jaguar sports cars expertly prepared under legendary mechanic ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson. The team went on to earn both international and industry respect. It would count future three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart and his older brother Jimmy amongst its drivers, and would compete in both sports car classics and single-seater Grand Prix racing.
In just 10 seasons, Ecurie Ecosse scored some 68 victories, including its twin two Le Mans laurels, both achieved with its D-Type Jaguar cars co-driven by Ron Flockhart, Ninian Sanderson and Ivor Bueb.
The team was disbanded in 1972, but reformed in 1982 under new direction, with its drivers still competing in the British GT Championship and the European Le Mans Series.
The 2013 Bonhams Sale of Important Collectors’ Motor Cars and Automobilia on Sunday 1st December will feature a private single-owner collection of eight Ecurie Ecosse vehicles. Among highlights of the Dick Skipworth Ecurie Ecosse Collection are two sports-racing Jaguars – a 1953 C-Type and a 1956 D-Type. The Collection also features the iconic Scottish team’s famous double-deck Commer car transporter. The restored transporter – famous to generations as subject of a much-coveted Corgi toy – is capable of carrying three cars (one inside and two on top) together with support crew, and even features an onboard workshop.
Collector Dick Skipworth has been a regular competitor in historic races and rallies. He has been virtually lifelong an ardent fan of Ecurie Ecosse. The Dick Skipworth Ecurie Ecosse Collection comprises:
1952 Jaguar XK120 Roadster – Typifying the foundation of Ecurie Ecosse as a Scottish cooperative racing team, this XK120 was campaigned in period by Sir James Scott-Douglas.
1953 Jaguar C-Type – Raced in period for Ecurie Ecosse by the team’s future Le Mans winner Ninian Sanderson, and also by Jock Lawrence, Jimmy Stewart (late brother of Sir Jackie) and Frank Curtis.
1956 Jaguar D-Type – A short-nose ‘D’ without the fin and a debut-race winner for the Scottish team driven by Ron Flockhart.
1959 Tojeiro-Jaguar – This unique Tojeiro-Jaguar is one of the most distinctive of all modern-era Historic sports-racing cars having been campaigned most prominently by Barrie Williams.
1960 Cooper T49 Monaco – Campaigned in period, including Le Mans, by Bruce Halford, Tommy Dickson and Sir Jackie Stewart.
1961 Austin-Healey ‘Sebring’ Sprite – The distinctive little Coupe, recalling the Scottish team’s 1961 Le Mans foray with drivers Ninian Sanderson and Bill Mackay.
1962 Tojeiro-Buick Coupe – Designer John Tojeiro’s ultimate Le Mans 24-Hour race contender, the subsequently V8-powered rear-engined Coupes proved to be forerunners of the 1963 Lola-Ford Mark VI GT and the Ford GT family.
1959 Commer Ecurie Ecosse Transporter – Designed by aeronautical engineer Selby Howgate and immortalized by Corgi’s classic 1:48-scale model – in fully restored running order with its unique bodywork by Alexander’s of Falkirk and Commer TS3 flat-six diesel engine.
James Knight, Bonhams’ Group Motoring Director, said, “We are delighted to have been appointed to handle the sale of this magnificent Collection. It illustrates Dick Skipworth’s dedication towards acquiring a definitive representation of perhaps Britain’s best-loved motor racing team. The wonderful transporter typifies his commitment. It was discovered in need of loving revival and then restored at great expense to become the talisman and centrepiece of the Collection. We will be able to present the Collection, along with other important entries, in our just-completed, state-of-the-art flagship saleroom facilities. December 2013 promises to see another memorable auction at Bonhams.”
Designed by award-winning architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, the new Bonhams headquarters has been constructed on the site of the previous building in London’s New Bond Street. Purpose-built, it has been designed to offer the finest auction experience within the world’s most modern Sale facilities, and has been specifically conceived to accommodate motor car auctions and related events.
For more information, visit Bonhams London Sale.
Had the honor of being on pit crew When team was at Watkins Glen fall of 1960. Ran the signal board for Roy Salvadori driving the Cooper. Still have my Program that Wendell Wilkie autographed for me!
Wow Tom, what a great experience that must have been. Do you have any pictures from the weekend?
I will look to see as I had a “scrap Book” that I kept in the early years. I have donated a number of items to the motor Racing Research Library in Watkins Glen. possibly might have some left. Have to keep in mind they would be in Black and White as they were taken with a “Ansco” box camera. Had to send the film away to be developed took 4-6 weeks depending on the season of the year! I was a member of the Ecurie Ecosse association(fan Club) and went to paddock area to see If I could meet Anyone on the team. David Murray was within ear shot and He came over to see me! It seems that there was a contest run and the two members that recruited the most new members would be invited to join the crew for the Race . Well one of the winners did not show up(Bless Him). So I got the chance and my parents gave me the go ahead! No waivers or Minor waivers in those days!
Here is photo taken in 1960 at Watkins Glen! Wilkie is on the left, David Murray, and I am on the Right. The fellow in background was the winner of contest that did show up!http://classicvintagemotorsports.com/page1/files/page1-1064-full.jpg