Jaguar C-type (1951 – 1953) Review

Jaguar C-type (1951 – 1953) At A Glance


+Won the Le Mans 24 Hour twice and is an absolute dream to drive.

-Try finding one for sale...

Based on the XK120, and initially known as the XK120C the C-type is a racing legend that occupies the all-time Le Mans Hall of Fame. The ingredients were pretty simple, which goes some way to demonstrating how good the original car it was wbased on - the XK120 - was.

The body, styled and engineered by Malcolm Sayer, and was honed with a view to low-drag and a high top speed. It looks similar, but is in fact completely different to the XK120. And as you can see from the weight figures, it's considerably lighter. The C-type had a spaceframe chassis, and suspension was by torsion bars front and rear. The steering was by rack and pinion, and braking was by discs - technology now taken for granted, but pioneering stuff back then.

The C-type’s competition record speaks for itself, with its two victories at Le Mans (1951 and 1953) being the C-type's crowning glory. They rarely come up for sale, and are a bell-weather car that the market is judged by.

Ask Honest John

I bought a replica Jaguar C Type but am concerned it was not IVA tested - where do I stand?

"I recently purchased a used Jaguar C Type Replica from an established specialist manufacturer of this type of vehicle. The car was factory built by this company and when purchased the car was about 12 months old. Since purchasing the car, I have read advice about Individual Vehicle Approval testing for cars of this type and I'm now concerned my car, which was not IVA tested, may be devalued or difficult to sell again in the future. Where do I stand in law and do I have a claim against the specialist manufacturer who sold me the car? "
We spoke to the Federation of British Historic Vehicle clubs for some advice on this. Ian Edmunds, FBHVC DVLA liaison manager, said, 'The replica car in question appears to have been built within the last two years or so and as such falls outside of our remit which is, of course, for historic vehicles. That is to say vehicles 30 or more years old. Nevertheless, I offer the following comments. Firstly I must make it clear that the Federation cannot offer legal advice. While we know that there are a number of replicas and kit cars built up to a few years ago that incorrectly retained the identity of the donor car and thus avoided the need for an IVA I would be surprised if that is the case for a car apparently built in the last couple of years, as DVLA are now much more aware and much more strict. I think the first move for your reader is to contact the manufacturer and inquire as to the Type Approval status of the car. We also know that when vehicles of this type come to the attention of DVLA, typically when a new V5C is required due to change of keepership or for some other reason, DVLA will review the original registration process. If they consider the vehicle was incorrectly registered with regard to the procedures in place at the time they will withdraw the registration. We are not able to comment further without more details of the car in question.'
Answered by Keith Moody

Is a Jaguar C-type replica a good future investment?

"I’m contemplating buying a Jaguar C-type replica. Is this a good future investment?"
Much better to buy a car because you like it and you want to enjoy it. Replicas offer a way to get into a car that's similar to the original, but without the multi-million-pound price tag. The pay off though is that they don't appreciate in the same way.
Answered by Keith Moody
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