Today RMSotheby’s are anouncing the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning D-Type chassis XKD501 for their upcoming Auction in Monterey.
They call this “Unequivocally one of the most important and valuable Jaguars in the world”
XKD501 was the first customer D-Type delivered to Ecurie Ecosse, the Scotland stable founded by David Murray and known for their Scottish Flag Metallic Blue Jaguars.
Against three long-nose D-Types entered by the Jaguar factory, Ecurie Ecosse used XKD501 with factory support at the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Driver’s Ninian Sanderson and Ron Flockhart took overall honors at the 1956 Le Mans race ahead of the chasing Aston Martin DB3S.
RM describe the car: “Now offered from only its third private owner, XKD 501 checks all the proverbial boxes. It has won the most grueling contest in sports car racing, the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, and is a centrifugal component of Jaguar’s three consecutive wins at Sarthe. The Jaguar has been fastidiously maintained and serviced by just four caretakers, including a restoration by some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts. Almost unique among a run of automobiles that inevitably led hard lives, its history is refreshingly clean, concise, and incredibly well-known.”
UPDATE: Sold for $21,780,000 – the highest price ever achieved for a British automobile at auction.
UPDATE: Sold for $13,750,000 – a new auction benchmark for an American automobile.
Today RMSotheby’s anounced the AC/Shelby Cobra prototype for their upcoming auction in Monterey.
What they call “the most important modern American car” is actually British.
That’s because this prototype was assembled by AC Cars in Thames Ditton, England.
In fact the front badge gives equal credit to both AC Cars and Shelby!
I wrote earlier:
Shelby recalls “I went to AC Cars in about June 1961. I’d looked at several other chassis situations for building my own cars, including AC’s Ace. Ray Brock came to me about the same time and said, ‘Ford has a new small-block V-8. 221 inches.’” Not long afterward he was in Detroit to meet with Dave Evans, Don Frey and Lee Iacocca. He recalls “I told him that I had a chassis, and that, if I could get these Ford engines, I thought I could build a car that would blow off the Corvette. I needed to borrow $25,000 to build two cars, plus engines. Iacocca agreed.”1
Putting an American V8 in a well-used european chassis such as a Ferrari or Maserati was common in 1960s racing, but Shelby was the first to market a working a sports car with official factory backing. Furthermore, many of the V8-powered specials in SCCA racing had achieved success alongside more expensive European marques. With the Cobra, Shelby saw a new opportunity.
After Shelby’s visit to Thames Ditton, AC Cars agreed to ship a modified version of their AC Ace to America without an engine. All the initial development of the chassis was done by AC who fitted the first prototype with the 221 in³ Ford V8. Like the production cars to the follow, this first car was eventually shipped to America, engineless.
In February of 1962, CSX2000 sometimes known as CSX0001 was completed in Dean Moon’s shop in Santa Fe Springs, California. When it reach Shelby, one of Ford’s first 260 in³ engines was available, which at the time was an upcoming racing engine developed with joint co-operation with Holman & Moody. Not long after arriving, the brushed-aluminum car was outfitted with a 260 and christened a Shelby.
Shelby gives little credit to AC. He commented “We strengthened the chassis tubes, we had to put different spindles and hub carriers on it, we had to put a different rearend in it,” recalls Shelby. “We changed those old buggy springs…there were very few nuts and bolts in that car that were the same nuts and bolts as in an AC Ace.”
Images by the talented Darin Schnabel for RMSotheby’s
The world’s best D-Type is this black example, XKD524, bought by Paul Pfohl in 1956 for $9,925 USD.
Paul raced it at Riverside, Watkins Glen and at the Lake Erie Race in Dunkirk, NY before putting into long term storage in 1967.
It was stored for a remarkable 35 years and stayed with the family until 2003 when it appeared on ebay with the description: This is a rare opportunity to purchase the most unmolested, one family owned D Type in the world and the most unique D Type to be offered since the highly publicized sale of the 1956 LeMans winner in 1999.
A low milage of 6,230 miles from new with all original fit and finishes make this an fantastic and authentic reference car.
We had a great oppurtunity to photograph XKD524 at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Tour d’Elegance.
The XK120 roadster was Jaguar’s first XK-engined sports cars and the first versions are particularly coveted as they have all-aluminum bodies.
RMSotheby’s will be offering such a car at their Monaco sale on May 14th.
They describe it as:
“According to its Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust certificate, this particular alloy-bodied example was produced on 6 February 1950, finished in Pastel Blue with a “Duo-Blue” interior and a Fawn soft top. It was destined for California and imported through Charles Hornburg’s Los Angeles-based distributorship, dispatched from the factory on 22 February 1950. The car was purchased that same year by John Edgar, a noted racer living in Los Angeles at the time. It is believed that in June of 1950, the XK 120 was driven by Bill Pollack, who often drove cars entered by Edgar, in the Santa Ana Road Race, and it may have competed in other events around the same time in California.
Unfortunately, the car’s early history remains unknown, at least until it was purchased by the late Jaguar collector Walter Hill. Hill purchased the car from George Boyd in 1976 (along with a C-Type and D-Type) and proceeded to keep the car in his ownership for the next 33 years. Looking to make it one of the finest examples at the time, Hill had the car fully restored to its original specifications in the early 1990s. Following the completion, he showed the car at Jaguar Club of America concours events, and it was consistently rewarded with scores of over 99 points—even attaining a score of 99.98 in June of 2005. The car remained well preserved and maintained until his passing. The XK 120 was then purchased by the renowned enthusiast Arturo Keller, who kept the car until 2013, when it was acquired by the current German collector.
Despite the car’s older restoration, it still presents very well today in its original and eye-catching shade of Pastel Blue. Eligible for a variety of historic events and considered by many to be one of the finest Jaguars ever built, owning an XK 120 is a goal of many enthusiasts. Sitting firmly at the top of the pecking order, the early aluminium-bodied XK 120s are undoubtedly the most desirable iteration of the model and as such, an opportunity to purchase a well-restored and regularly maintained example should not be overlooked. “