Overall condition: Very Good
Number of owners: 1 (Current Owner)
The Jaguar C-Type is among history’s most successful and deified racing cars, winning the Le Mans 24h endurance race in 1951 and 1953. With its XK120-based double wishbone suspension and iconic 3.4-litre twin-camshaft XK straight-six, the C-Type (or XK120 C) built on Jaguar’s emerging reputation for producing some of the world’s best drivers’ cars with only 53 original examples having been built.
This particular example began its life as a 1953 Jaguar XK120 before being subjected to a truly faithful conversion to C-Type specification. Commissioned by Mr Hartmut von Seelen at the turn of the millennium, this car is inspired by, and used XKC 031 as a reference point during the build – the C-Type originally owned by the brother-in-law of legendary racer Phil Hill and that built up an extensive competition career in the US.
With the use of Proteus parts, this car was built over a three-year period by US-based Jaguar restorers, George Camp Restorations. The curvaceous C-Type body is authentic in its all-aluminium construction and no glass-fibre was used. As one would expect at this level of finish, every effort was made to secure all C-Type-specific components, from lightened drivetrain elements and triple Weber carburettors to a 3.54:1 differential. The car is even fitted with Bentley specification instruments and Lucas connector boxes.
The engine was fully rebuilt using specialist components to the correct C-Type specification, displacing 3.4-litres and producing 270bhp with a package permitting Le Mans-esque performance and a top speed of 155mph.
The sheer scale of the work and incredible attention to detail is documented in a vast array of invoices that are supplied with the car Pictured are just several of these: one for the engine build, another for many small components that went towards completing the car’s finer details and a final handwritten document detailing a section of the car’s construction. The quality of the finished vehicle was high enough to score 99.9 in a Jaguar Concours d’Elegance in 2003.
The car was imported to the United Kingdom in 2018 when purchased by its current owner, hence there are zero recorded previous keepers on the V5C document. At this time, the car was given its current registration of 776 UXY, and was sent to Woodham Mortimer for thorough recommissioning, servicing, and successfully put through an MoT test. As part of their work, Woodham Mortimer tested the engine for compression, renewed all fluids, rebuilt the axles and serviced, regreased, and rebushed all suspension components. The carburettors were rebuilt, a complete new fuelling system fitted, electrical issues rectified and many parts modified. This work totalled over £21,000 and ensured that the car was still in perfect health some 15 years after its construction.
As is befitting of a vehicle with this expense and pedigree of construction, the car presents incredibly well. Every panel is as William Heynes, Bob Knight, and Malcolm Sayer intended over 70 years ago and there are no signs of any damage on any panel. The silver paint is immaculate on all surfaces, with the exception of a small number of stone chips on the front and rear clamshells and on the offside sill (as per photographs). These are to be expected of a vehicle that has been used and is also evidence of the car’s regular presence on the racing circuit.
Otherwise, the body work and all fittings are in sublime condition, including the famous ovular grille, all lamps and covers, knock-off style wire wheels, door hinges, leather buckles, and windscreen. The only other feature worth noting is a very small amount of gasket material visible around the Jaguar badge at the front and the door hinges, both of which are pictured. This car would present exceptionally at any vintage racing meeting or in a private collection.
The XK straight-six is one of history’s most iconic engines, powering Jaguar sports and saloon cars from 1948 through to 1992. As such, it was used in legendary cars such as the XJ6, as well as two cars that, at the time of their launch, were the fastest cars in the world: the XK120 and Jaguar E-Type.
Also generating its legacy was its fitment in the C-Type and with 3.4-litres and fitted with triple Weber carburettors, was capable of producing 270bhp – enough to propel an XKC down the Mulsanne at 155 mph. In this recreation, the XK takes pride of place below the clamshell as a work of automotive art. The twin camshafts are capped by polished covers that shine brighter even than the paintwork. As one would expect of a car with this pedigree, the engine is surrounded by immaculate components and there is barely a spec of dirt among the suspension components, on the underside, and in the front clamshell.
The engine compartment presents extraordinarily well, and with the clamshell raised, showcases the twin exhausts flowing down the nearside of the car as well as the double wishbone front suspension and tubular construction. The solid fuel tank (as opposed to 1953-specification bag) at the back was manufactured when the car was imported in 2018, and sits above a storage bay that features a small tool bag and a spare wheel. All tyres are matching Dunlop Racing items that are period correct for the car.
This C-Type’s interior is the perfect blend of Le Mans-style engineering and the exceptional taste of the 1950s. Many of the surfaces are exposed, proving the car’s correct aluminium construction and presenting as a true racing machine. As would be expected, there are a number of minor scuffs from use, but they do not detract. For strength, a chequer plate is mounted below the pedals and the transmission tunnel as well as a section of the bulkhead is trimmed in a short pile carpet which is in very good condition and aids sound deadening.
The dashboard is finished in satin black to reduce reflections and hosts the authentic instrumentation and switchgear. The traditionally large, three-spoke steering wheel shows minimal wear to the period-correct construction, with only a small nick on the top of the rim. To offer some contrast, the seats have been trimmed with red leather and are fitted with matching harnesses, both of which show no signs of wear. A period-looking fire extinguisher and a spare set of six spark plugs, mounted in dedicated holes to the right of the driver, are fitted.
As is befitting a car with competition history, a modern kill switch is located to the driver’s right and confirms that, rather than living life as a ‘trailer queen’, the Jaguar has been driven with purpose as well as with care and attention.
The Jaguar C-Type is an iconic racing car with an enviable pedigree and style. As a part of Jaguar’s illustrious history it plays a central role, and this recreation, being built from an XK120 base (as all original C-Types were), is as close to genuine as one can get outside of those first 53 examples. Built by George Camp with parts from Proteus Sports Cars, this car would be invaluable to anyone looking for a slice of the romance inherent in 1950s motorsport.
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