The XK120C's astonishing debut victory in the 1951 Le Mans 24-Hour Race and its follow-up win in '53 established Jaguar's first purpose-built racing sports car as one of the all-time great competition automobiles. Jaguar built only 54 C-Types and it is worth noting that the first three Formula 1 World Champions - Guiseppe Farina, Alberto Ascari and Juan-Manuel Fangio - all bought them as road cars. It is not hard to understand why: at the time of its introduction the C-Type represented the state-of-the-art in racing car engineering and thus was one of the most advanced road vehicles in the world.
Those multiple Le Mans wins in the 1950s, as well as numerous victories in the other great classic endurance events, coupled with superlative driving qualities that made it so attractive to three of the greatest drivers in history, have ensured a continuing healthy demand for replicas of Jaguar's rare and exotic sports-racer. An acknowledged master in this highly specialised field is Proteus Sports & Racing Cars Ltd, originally of Silchester, Berkshire, which since its foundation in 1985 has established an unrivalled reputation for quality reproductions of classic sports cars.
We are advised that this C-Type is one of the first two steel chassis cars built by the founder of Proteus in the 1980s, and the first of two cars started as part of a project to sell ready-built C-Types. It was the show model depicted in the original sales brochure (copy available). The car has had only two owners from new and over the last two years has been treated to an extensive and sympathetic mechanical and cosmetic renovation by the current vendor. The mechanicals were completely overhauled, the electrics rewired and the engine stripped, blueprinted and rebuilt.
The Proteus chassis is clad with all aluminium panelling, doors and new (2004) aluminium bonnet with an original Jaguar badge. It was repainted in 2004 in British Racing Green with silver painted and stone chip treatment to the inside of wings and bonnet. A 3.8-litre unit from a 1963 E-type, the engine is coupled to a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox with electrically operated overdrive. Breathing via Weber 45DCOE carburettors on new alloy inlet manifold, the motor incorporates Burton high-lift camshafts and balanced internals and produces 290bhp gross (approximately 250bhp net). Fewer than 2,500 miles have been covered since the engine and gearbox were rebuilt, making them nicely run-in. Other noteworthy features include a new hand-built alloy radiator to exact 1953 Le Mans specification; polished stainless steel exhaust manifold and similar silencer with dual tail pipes; 1963 Jaguar Mark 2 front suspension with new springs; live rear axle; 3.33:1 ratio limited-slip differential; Dunlop disc brakes all round; carbon fibre brake pads; new 16" wire wheels shod with new Avon Turbospeed tyres; centre grille lamp; new battery and a tonneau cover.
The vendor advises us that the performance and handling are excellent with 0-60mph achievable in under six seconds and good fuel economy of 30mpg on a journey using the overdrive. Described as in immaculate condition both mechanically and cosmetically, this very well presented car is ready for either competition or touring. The 3.8-litre E-Type engine delivers both startling performance at high revs and loads of torque from about 1,500rpm, making it very adaptable to today's driving conditions. Registered with the DVLA as a 1963 Jaguar, and thus an historic vehicle, it comes with a V5C document and is currently MoT'd and taxed.