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Jaguar D-type (1954 - 1957)

Last updated 1 September 2013

 
5
The ultimate 1950s road/race car
You pay for the privalege
45
were produced
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Introduction

Alongside the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, the Jaguar D-type remains one of the 1950s most beautiful poster cars – and like its German counterpart, it was also rather handy in competition. Announced in 1954, the D-type was the spiritual successor to the earlier C-type, and is still seen as one of the most evocative sports cars of its generation. The styling was no accident of design though – its sleek lines and curious stabilizing fin running directly behind the driver were all in the name of aerodynamics. The low bonnet (and superb aerodynamic qualities) was down to Malcolm Sayer who devised a way of reducing frontal area by dry sumping the engine and devising separate radiator header tank.

Although it used the six-cylinder XK engine from the production cars of the time, the rest of the D bore little resemblance to its predecessor. It was smaller, lighter and far more modern in conception. The all-new magnesium-alloy monocoque was a serious step forwards from its predecessor, as the engine and suspension were held in a tubular frame. In its lifetime, alloy disc wheels replaced traditional wire wheels and a new Jaguar four-speed gearbox was specially developed for the car. The D-type enjoyed many spectacular race successes, including outright wins at Le Mans in 1953, 1955, 1956 and 1957.

 

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