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Jaguar C-Type: Buying guide and review (1951-1953)

Jaguar C-Type: Buying guide and review (1951-1953) Classic and Performance Car
Jaguar C-Type Jaguar C-Type Jaguar C-Type Jaguar C-Type Jaguar C-Type Jaguar C-Type
The Jaguar C-Type. Few cars can boast such a rich motorsport heritage. Fewer can claim to have introduced such revolutionary technology that not only helped to win races, but would trickle down into road cars to help improve safety considerably. Few cars can claim to be as beautiful, either.
Released in 1951, Jaguar’s bid for motorsport success started one year earlier. The XK120 had shown potential at the Le Mans 24 hours, so the marque sought measures to reduce the XK’s weight and improve its aerodynamic efficiency. The resulting C-Type (the ‘C’ standing for ‘Competition’) housed the running gear of the XK120 in a tubular steel frame, and wrapped it in a more slippery aluminium body. The 3.4-litre straight six produced 205bhp - up 25-45bhp on the standard XK120 unit. 
The changes had the desired effect, with the C-Type winning on its Le Mans - and indeed its competitive - debut. While two of the three C-Types retired due to a loss of oil pressure, the third car, driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead, won the race by nine laps.
One year later, the competition intensified with the Mercedes factory entry. The W194 300SL had Jaguar worried, and resulted in hurried changes to the car’s aerodynamics. Though this improved top speed along the Mulsanne straight by almost 10mph, the necessary re-routing of the cooling system caused issues, which would prove terminal. As a result, Jaguar’s official Le Mans entry in 1952 resulted in three retirements: two cars blew head gaskets, while the third suffered a loss of oil pressure. 
1953 saw Jaguar commit to mechanical improvements much more thoroughly. Power was upped to 220bhp courtesy of triple twin-choke Weber carburettors (changed from the previous SUs) and high-lift cams, while the use of thinner gauge metalwork for both the chassis and body dropped the total weight by around 45kg. The cooling problems of 1952 were found and remedied.
The crucial change, however was the introduction of a fully-hydraulic disc brake system acting on all four wheels. Though ultimate stopping power was largely similar to drum brake-equipped rivals, the discs were far more resistant to fade, allowing the Jaguar drivers to brake harder and later into the corners lap after lap. As a result, Jaguar took a 1,2,4 finish at Le Mans, with their closest rival five laps down on the winning car driven by Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt.
Which one to buy?
Only 53 C-Types were built, so rarity is guaranteed. The later ‘lightweight’ models developed for the 1953 season are the rarest of all, and therefore command the highest prices. 
Given the C-Type’s primary purpose - to win the Le Mans 24-hour race, they should be fairly reliable for their age, especially if used primarily on the road. Given the distinct lack of interior creature comforts, it’ll be much more fun to enter the C-Type in a few classic events...
We should of course mention the many replica (or recreation) cars that are hugely popular. As with anything like this, there is a huge variation in price and of course quality – ranging from older and fairly crude fibreglass cars to more recent alloy cars that are almost indistinguishable to the genuine cars.
A few of the names that will crop up while on a search include Proteus, Lynx, Racing Green, Suffolk, TWRR as well as a number of smaller operations. Some look better than others, and many are road legal. Generally the fibreglass cars are the most valuable, with the very best alloy cars commanding more than £100,000.
Performance and spec
Engine 3442cc straight six
Power 205bhp @ 5800rpm
Torque 220lb ft @ 3900rpm
Top speed 144mph
0-60mph 8.1secs
Gearbox Four-speed manual
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2438mm
Length 3988mm
Width 1638mm
Height 1080mm
Weight 965kg
Common problems
● The C-Type is such a rare and cherished car, that all should be fairly easy to verify for originality and condition. 
● If you intend to compete in classic motorsport events, it’s worth bearing in mind that 1952 models suffered from cooling issues in period, while ‘51 cars suffered a loss of oil pressure - a result of excessive vibration at high revs causing a failure of the pipe connecting the oil pump to the filter.
Model History
Jun 1951: Made its racing debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, three C-Types started: two retired, while the third, driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead, won the race.
Jun 1952: Reshaped front end to reduce drag necessitated the need to relocate elements of the cooling system under the bonnet, which ultimately led to mechanical failure of all three factory-backed entries at Le Mans.
Jun 1953: C-Type gains boost in power, lighter chassis and body panels, and brake discs. Jaguar dominates Le Mans, with factory entries finish 1st, 2nd and 4th.
Jun 1954: Privateer C-Type achieves a 4th place finish at Le Mans.
Owners clubs, forums and websites
● www.jaguarheritage.com – the offical archive of classic Jaguars. Can source original numbers, build specs, and can provide information for relevant vehicles via the original records, copies of which can be ordered for £45
● www.jec.org.uk – Jaguar Enthusiasts’ club
● www.jaguarownersclub.com – UK Jaguar owners’ club
● www.lemanscats51.co.uk – UK club dedicated to C and D-Type Jaguars
Summary and prices
As such rare cars with a rich motorsport history, it’s fairly predictable that C-Types now reach staggering prices on the rare occasions they become available. Values have climbed from 2009 - when a 1952 model owned and raced by Phil Hill fetched $2.53million - up to the most recent in August 2015, when a works lightweight Ecurie Ecosse-run car which finished fourth at Le Mans in 1953 sold for $13.2million. 
Other examples have sold for $3.725million (the final production C-Type, sold at Pebble Beach 2012) and £2.9 million for a 1952 model (December 2013). The last C-Type that sold at auction in May 2016, a factory entry raced at Le Mans in 1952, made £5,715,580. 
Thanks to the limited numbers, huge prices and of course desirability, the C-type has helped to fuel an entire industry dedicated to offering more affordable replica cars. If the £5m-plus asking price of an original seems a little steep, the £50,000 price tag for a well-built C-type replica is quite frankly a lot more reasonable. To buy one new or build one from scratch would cost closer to £150,000, which for many is still a price worth paying. 
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Last updated: 21st Jun 2016
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Jaguar C-Type
59950 189000 GBP
  • 1952 Jaguar C-Type Recreation by Proteus

    $146,500(£0) $146,500(£0)

    1952 Jaguar C-Type Replica by Proteus s/n 672749, Engine no. W5758-8 British Racing Green with Black Interior A great sports car earns its legacy three ways. Some are superlative in design, others proven on the racetrack, or via engineering prowess. In the case of the C-Type Jaguar, it is masterfully inclusive of all three. The legendary Malcolm Sayer designed the C-Type body with beauty and aerodynamic efficiency in mind. Coupled with the twin cam XK series engine and disc brakes, C-Types dominated races, winning at Le Mans in 1951 and again in 1953. With a mere 52 examples assembled at the factory, it should come as no surprise that some of the finest C-Types are selling for eight figures at premium auctions. For the motoring enthusiast who seeks the experience of such a great car, a faithful re-creation, uniting authenticity with upgraded engineering, becomes an inviting proposition for miles of enjoyment. In the 1980s, GT Cars was commissioned to build this Jaguar C-Type by a wealthy private colelector who insisted on careful attention to originality and fabrication, befitting a car of this status, suggesting “It should be as close to an original C-Type as money can buy”. At th

    • Year: 1952
    • Mileage: 1693 mi
    For sale
    $146,500(£0) $146,500(£0)
    Fantasy Junction
    +1 510 653 7555 View contact number
  • Jaguar C Type


    HOME STOCK EMAIL JAGUAR C-TYPE RECREATION Finished in Black with Chocolate Hide 1967 3,000 Miles Since Construction (in 2011), 60,500 in total 3 Owners Registered with DVLA as a Jaguar Historic Vehicle 1967 3.4 Litre Six Cylinder Engine with Twin SU Carbs 4 Speed Gearbox with Overdrive Aero Windscreen Quilted Leather Console Mota-Lita Wood Steering Wheel Adjustable Suspension Custom Built Radiator Aluminum Fuel Tank MWS 16" Wire Wheels Powder Coated in Black Shortened Drive Shafts and Wishbones to give Correct Dimensions With a genuine C-Type costing now many millions a replica is a great way to enjoy such a beautiful vehicle at a fraction of the cost. Quite possibly the best example of a C-Type replica; the Realm constructed vehicle has been put together by fastidious engineers to exacting standards. The vehicle is an absolute pleasure to drive, a real head turner. £POA Submitting Form... The server encountered an error. Form received. Submit FURTHER INFORMATION FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS VEHICLE PLEASE COMPLETE THE ABOVE FORM. ALTERNATIVELY, EMAIL OR CALL OUR SALES TEAM USING THE DETAILS BELOW: SALES@SUPERVETTURA.COM T. +44(0)1344 620072 M. +44(0)7541 888310 FACEBOOK /SuperV

    • Year: 1967
    • Mileage: 3000 mi
    For sale


    Interested in this vehicle? Please email us at info@auto-invest.co.uk or contact us directly by telephone on 01363 83909 £ NOW SOLD If you are interested in any of the vehicles on the website, please get in contact with Auto Invest either by emailing us at info@auto-invest.co.uk or contacting us directly by telephone on 01363 83909.

    For sale
  • Jaguar C Type by PROTEUS

    £59,950 £59,950

    £59950 This Proteus Jaguar C type replica was based on a Jaguar MK 11, first registered as 449 EOC in March 1961, which in 1989 was recreated by Proteus as 3.8 'C' Type replica, further information can be found in the June 1995 Coys catalogue when the car was first put up for sale. Following this the car was subsequently owned by the Classic Car Club of London, one UK and two European owners. A C Type replica previously registered in Denmark and Sweden, with original UK V5C dating from 1961 In Proteus's own description, the Proteus C-Type is a precisely engineered modern interpretation of the 1950s racing thoroughbred, the Jaguar XK120-C or C-Type. One of the world’s all-time great competition sports cars, the C-Type was designed to win the Le Mans 24 hour race. In its first year, it won outright, and with the later D-Type, continued to dominate the international sports car racing scene throughout the 1950s in the hands of drivers such as Sir Stirling Moss, Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt. Due to being an early C type replica, unlike modern replicas it has nicely mellowed appearance, which would not look out of place in company of older Jaguars Early Proteus, with mellowed original p

    • Year: 1961
    For sale
    £59,950 £59,950
  • Jaguar C-Type

    €189,000(£0) €189,000(£0)

    JAGUAR C-TYPE BY DAVID BROWN Chassis Number: 716882 Engine Number: A3994-7 Head number: LB 8353-8 Registration Number: JUN 563 When the XK120 saw the daylight in 1948, only aluminium was available to construct these gracious automobiles during the after days of WWII. It was never suspected that those fine sports cars were such a success which led to ordering tooling for the steel sheets to cope with the ever growing orders. 240 ‘alloy’ bodied 120’s were made and almost all of them found their way to some sort of racing circuit due it’s very light bodywork and nimble character. Jaguar reacted accordingly and decided to develop a specially made track-built version of these lightweight 120’s: The C-type. These C-types set the course for the 7 overall wins at Le Mans for Jaguar when in 1951 they won Le Mans for the first time and did it again in 1953 with their updated version. D-types continued this winning-streak and the rest is well-known history. The car we present you is a recreation of one of Jaguars most famous cars. It has been made by World renowned C-type expert David Brown in New Zealand to the highest detail you can think off. The car is constructed to the original drawings provided by friend, and well-known classic car dealer, Ian Cummings in Sydney, these being based on an original C-type located in his shop. David Brown constructed this C-type to very high standards and using as much original parts as possible. The car is constructed on a tubular frame where a full aluminium coach built bodywork was expertly crafted. A 1953 Jaguar Mark VII donated its basic parts and 3.4 litre engine block for this car. (although completely rebuilt to C Type spec) With a 83mm bore and 106mm stroke, the specifications are exactly the same to the original C-type. A Jaguar MKII provided the head fitted on this bespoke machine which gives you the correct bigger valve diameters to give that extra bit of ‘oomph’ to the already powerful lump. The original C-type gave you 203BHP which was easily achieved by this setup. Double overhead cams, original double twin “Sand Cast” H8 cast SU carburettors, four-wheel original type drum brakes and detailed independent front suspension proving it very very close to the original example in their workshop. The gearbox is the famous Jaguar four-speed Moss box as fitted to all C-types, all the instruments are correct as are the Brooklands type windscreens and even the cold air intake box for the carburettors. Every stitch, every rivet and every bolt were fitted with the C-type in mind. Even the wiring looms are made out of braded cotton wire and with wonderful detail. What more can we say, the attention to detail is absolutely stunning. It is believed that the few existing “David Brown C-types” are so good that distinguishing them from the originals is very tricky even for Jaguar specialists. These are renowned for being the best of the best. Therefore it is more than logical that these “Post production” C-types as standard FIA recreations, are FIA applicable and are being raced among their full blood brothers in major events around the World. This car comes with 1953 V5C British registration papers, original “JUN 563” number plate and is therefore eligible to race in the FIA vintage series. The current owner bought the car from ‘The old Racing Car Company’ in the UK who acquired it directly from David Brown as his UK demo vehicle. If you like C-types and don’t want to spend multi millions (literally) on your dream car, this example will be perfect for you. Made to the highest standards and driving like a thoroughbred sports car, although is handles easily in normal traffic as well, this car is the pinnacle of early 50’s motorsport. It is stunning in every aspect. http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/business/2948893/Dave-Brown-model-just-like-the-original http://www.nzherald.co.nz/motoring/news/article.cfm?c_id=9&objectid=10772798 http://www.historic-competitionservices.eu/nl/jaguar-c-type-by-david-brown

    • Year: 1953
    • Engine size: 3.4
    For sale
    €189,000(£0) €189,000(£0)
  • Jaguar C-Type


    Jaguar C-Type Replica A beautiful aluminium C-Type replica, first registered in the early 1980s, in superb condition and ready to be raced and rallied. Previous owners include Victor Gauntlett, former chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda, and Paul Alexander, who raced the car in the 1990s. This is a very accurate replica with many period features giving a feeling of history and provenance. At this time the car does not have FIA papers, however these could be obtained to allow entry into any classic racing series. As values for original C-Types continue to reach stratospheric levels, this is a way of owning a beautiful facsimile, which will allow you to drive and compete with the real thing. Come and take a test drive!

    • Year: 1954
    • Engine size: 3.4
    For sale
  • Jaguar C-Type

    £159,995 £159,995

    The XK120C’s astonishing 1951 debut and 1953 victories at Le Mans 24-Hour Race established Jaguar’s first purpose-built racing sports car as one of the all-time greats paving the way for the D-Type. These multiple Le Mans wins in the 1950s, as well as numerous victories in the other great classic endurance events, have ensured a continuing healthy demand for replicas of Jaguar’s rare and exotic works sports-racers. This car is offered for sale having been commissioned to respected C & D type builder Jim Marland, who constructed this exacting replica some 10 years ago for the previous owner. Its multi-tubular spaceframe chassis is clothed in aluminium alloy coachwork recreating the style of the original factory cars. The 3.8-litre engine is C-Type specification but fitted with 9.8-1 compression Cosworth pistons on a polished and nitrated crankshaft under polished gas flowed E type head. Without question one of the most desirable C-Type replicas around, with a 1956 date of registration on V5C document.

    • Year: 1956
    For sale
    £159,995 £159,995