Jaguar D-Type XKD 501 takes checkered flag at 1956 Le Mans 24 Hours (photo: Klemantaski Collection)
Jaguar D-Type XKD 501 takes checkered flag at 1956 Le Mans 24 Hours (photo: Klemantaski Collection)

Le Mans-Winning Jaguar D-Type Offered

The Jaguar D-Type that claimed overall victory at the 1956 Le Mans 24 Hours will headline the 2016 RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction, scheduled for August 19–20 in California during Monterey Classic Car Week. Offered for public sale for the first time in nearly two decades, chassis XKD 501 was the first D-Type supplied by Jaguar to a privateer team.

Born to succeed the Jaguar C-Type’s dominance at Le Mans in the 1950s, the D-Type had purposeful and beautiful looks, pioneering engineering and outright fire power. In its day, no-one had seen anything like the revolutionary curved body penned by Malcolm Sayer. Not only a thing of beauty, it also was the first to incorporate a unique monocoque construction, combining the body and frame to form structural integrity. Its 3.4-litre engine was rated at 245bhp, propelling the car to 169 mph at Le Mans during testing.

The Jaguar D-Type on offer, chassis XKD 501, was sold new to Ecurie Ecosse and dispatched on May 5, 1955; it was easily identified as part of the Scottish racing team’s stable by its signature Scottish Flag Metallic Blue livery with the St. Andrews cross emblazoned on the front fenders, a guise it continues to wear to this day. The car’s greatest performance was registered at the 1956 Le Mans 24 Hours, where, piloted by Ninian Sanderson and Ron Flockhart, it competed alongside three factory longnose cars. By the race’s final lap, only 14 entries remained in the field with the Ecurie Ecosse D-Type going on to claim a comfortable victory, having averaged 104 mph for over 2,500 miles. The car later went on to race at Goodwood, Aintree and the 1957 Mille Miglia, prior to being retired from competition in June that year.

Since retirement, XKD 501 has only had three private owners. A part of an American collection since 1999, it has been featured at many of Concours, including the 2002 Pebble Beach Concours, where it won the Jaguar Competition class and the Road & Track award. It returns to the Monterey Peninsula in August where it is set to comfortably eclipse the current record for a British automobile sold at auction.

“XKD 501 is without question one of the world’s most significant competition cars,” commented Shelby Myers, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s. “It has an incredible racing pedigree, having won the most grueling contest in sports car racing, the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, and importantly, is without any stories. What’s more is its amazing originality; pure in terms of body, chassis and engine, there is no other Le Mans winner from this period that is as original as this car. We are extremely honored to have been entrusted with XKD 501 by its important caretaker for our Monterey sale; it’s a decision that again reaffirms RM as the auction house of choice for the sale of the world’s most important automobiles.”

Another important competition car with Le Mans history and slated for RM’s 2016 Monterey sale is the 1962 Ferrari 268 SP, chassis 0798. It’s the third of six 268 SP examples originally produced, of which only five remain, and one of two originally fitted with the 2.6-liter eight-cylinder engine. It is further differentiated from its peers by its unique shark nose along with its cut down windscreen and lowered tail.

Chassis 0798 was integral to Ferrari’s testing at Le Mans in 1962, being the factory racing and development car and subsequent Works entry at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that same year. It was later sold to North American Racing Team (NART) owner, Luigi Chinetti, who campaigned it under the NART banner from late 1962 through 1963, including the Bahamas Speed Weeks, Sebring and Canadian Grand Prix.

After passing through the hands of various collectors, 0798 eventually found its way into Pierre Bardinon’s Mas du Clos Collection in 1969, where it remained for the next 27 years. Its current owner has maintained the car for nearly two decades, during which time it has been displayed at select major events around the world, including the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Ferrari Days at Spa-Francorchamps, Cavallino Classic and the Ferrari 60th Anniversary Concours. A matching-numbers car, it comes to auction with the Ferrari Classiche certification (Estimate available upon request).

“The Ferrari 268 SP is a groundbreaking automobile in every regard,” stated Gord Duff, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s. “Not only was it rare to start with, but only five examples remain in existence. Its dramatic Fantuzzi spider coachwork represented a complete departure from prior Maranello coachwork and included design cues that became instrumental to seminal Ferrari racers such as the 250 P and 330 P, and even influenced Scaglietti-built berlinettas such as the 250 LM. All this, combined with an exceptional provenance, make it one of the finest and most desirable 1960s Ferrari sports-racers to be offered in many years.”

The Jaguar and Ferrari join a roster of 100 collector cars slated for RM Sotheby’s 2016 Monterey sale. A tradition spanning more than 30 years, the annual RM auction returns to the Portola Hotel and Monterey Conference Center, August 19-20 during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Week.

For more information and to view an updated entry list, visit www.rmsothebys.com or call +1 310 559 4575.

[Source: RM Sotheby’s; photos: Klemantaski Collection, Patrick Ernzen, Tim Scott]