Jaguar is marking the 70th birthday of its epochal C-Type racing car, by building eight hand-made recreations. The new cars will be built by the same Jaguar Classic team that worked on the E-Type Zero electric car, and the remade E-Type 'Lightweight' racing cars.
Twice a winner at Le Mans
The C-type, which was originally made between 1951-53, was famed for its exceptionally fluid shape by Jaguar Cars designer, aerodynamicist and artist Malcolm Sayer, who would go on to design the D-Type and E-Type. The C-type won the gruelling Le Mans 24 Hours on its debut in 1951, scoring the first of Jaguar's seven outright wins at the French endurance race.
From 1952, the C-type pioneered the adoption of innovative disc brake technology in motorsport, with a revolutionary system developed by Jaguar and Dunlop scoring the first win for a disc-braked car with Stirling Moss at the Reims Grand Prix in France and contesting the 1000-mile Mille Miglia in Italy.
The C-type won the Le Mans 24 Hours again in 1953, another first for disc brakes, and also enjoyed success in the hands of private owners in the inaugural World Sportscar Championship.
The 'continuation' models will be based on that ultimate 1953 specification, but they'll be more powerful and sophisticated than the original fifties customer cars, which were - in period - limited to 200hp and came with drum, not disc, brakes.
Disc brakes and 220hp XK engine
The eight recreations will come with discs, and brand-new 3.4-litre straight-six XK engines with triple Weber 40DCO3 carburettors developing 220bhp. Building on the experience gained with previous Jaguar Classic Continuation programmes for Lightweight E-type, XKSS and D-type, Jaguar Classic engineers have consulted Jaguar's archives and cross-referenced scan data taken from an original C-type in conjunction with the latest computer aided design technology to create the most authentic new C-type possible. Exclusive access to original engineering drawings and company records created by the original C-type development team - including Malcolm Sayer, competitions manager Lofty England, and engineers William Heynes, Bob Knight and Norman Dewis - ensure the authentic 1953 specifications are accurately maintained.
The really cool thing is that even if you can't afford to buy one of these new C-Types (and let's face it, that's most of us), the sophisticated digital mapping and scanning means that the cars can be added to an online configurator, so you can go to classicvisualiser.jaguar.com and create your own perfect C-Type spec. Y'know, just in case your Lotto numbers come up this week. You can compare colour and trim options from the 12 authentic exterior colours and eight interior colours available, and apply optional racing roundels, steering wheel badge and bonnet badging.
Additional options available to C-type Continuation customers include an FIA-approved Harness Retention System or rollover protection. Not just for show, these authentic new C-types will be eligible for historic racing, track and closed-road use.
Dan Pink, Director, Jaguar Classic, said: "Driven by some of the most-admired racing drivers in history, the C-type laid the foundations for Jaguar's success in endurance racing and is synonymous with design and engineering innovation. Seventy years on, Jaguar Classic is proud to be able to utilise the latest innovations in manufacturing technology - alongside traditional skills and unrivalled expertise - to reintroduce this legendary car for a new generation of enthusiasts to enjoy."