1955 Jaguar D-Type



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    E 2017-9
  • Competition car 
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Ex-Duncan Hamilton, Gerry Ashmore, Bib Stillwell
Chassis No: XKD510
Engine No: E 2017-9

The Jaguar D Type, long considered the most beautiful and iconic sports racing car ever built, was developed for and specifically to win the most prestigious of motor racing events of the day – Le Mans 24 Hours.
Jaguar founder and chairman, Sir William Lyons, knew only too well that sales of his beloved Jaguars would benefit exponentially were it to establish supremacy at this world-famous circuit.

Having launched the Jaguar XK 120 at the London Motor Show to tremendous acclaim, it was the XK engine that would prove so successful during the 1950s with firstly the C-Type (C for competition) and ultimately the legendary D-Type, Jaguar’s first pure racing car and which was to sweep all before it. The DOHC inline six-cylinder 3,442 cc engine produced 250 bhp and the D-Type featured triple Weber 45 DCO3 carburettors, four speed manual transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle trailing links and transverse torsion bar, with all-round disc brakes previously developed by Jaguar in conjunction with Dunlop. The bodywork for the D-Type was designed by Jaguar Chief Designer and aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer. Sayer, utilising the skills and techniques learned from his time at the Bristol Aeroplane Company, applied the principles of the aviation industry and aerodynamics to his thinking. The construction of the purpose built riveted aluminium-magnesium alloy monocoque design was not only aerodynamically practical, it also created one of the most sublime and attractive shapes possessed of any post-war car.

Despite winning the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hour race with Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt driving a C-Type and leading home Jaguars to three of the top four places, it had become evident that further development was needed if Jaguar were to stay in front of the pack.
Therefore, in 1954 the D-Type was unveiled.

Jaguar D-Type chassis number XKD 510 was dispatched in British Racing Green livery from the factory on 24th September 1955. The distributor was Henlys of London. It was first registered as YPC 614 in Surrey two days later. On January 10th 1956 it was sold by the racing driver and Jaguar dealer, John Coombs of Guildford to Dr Richard Wilkins of Bishops Stortford. Wilkins however quickly on-sold 510 to the 1953 Le Mans winner Duncan Hamilton with just 250 miles recorded. Born in Ireland in 1920, the charismatic Hamilton epitomised living life to the full. He spent the War in the Fleet Air Arm and as a racing car driver, despite his ‘large build’ had few peers when the track was wet. Noted for his appetites his autobiography Touch Wood published in 1960 is a classic of its kind. Hamilton retired from racing in 1959 after the death in a car crash of his close friend and F1 World Champion of that year, Mike Hawthorn.
On 11th March 1956 and on loan from Duncan Hamilton, who was also to participate with another of his D Types OKV1, XKD 510 was driven by Graham Whitehead at the Dakar Grand Prix in Senegal, acclaimed as the world’s fastest circuit of that era. The race was ultimately won by 39-year-old Maurice Trintignant
of France driving a Ferrari 857S. Whitehead with race number 49 finished in fifth position in XKD 510. It was during this race that Duncan Hamilton stated in Touch Wood that XKD 510, sporting 17” wheels (and the tallest differential available), topped the 200 mph (320 km/h) mark. Half-brother to the more famous Peter
Whitehead, it was Graham who was at the wheel when Peter was killed in another Jaguar when they crashed in the Tour de France at Lasalle.
Duncan Hamilton was to loan XKD 510 once again shortly after, but this time to an inexperienced friend.

After a successful season in 1955, but racing Austin-Healeys, for the first race of the 1956 season Tony Dennis was at the wheel of Hamilton’s XKD 510 when he crashed fatally by selecting first gear at high speed at the Goodwood Easter meeting in April 1956 in which there were five D-Types competing, including Hamilton driving his other car, in the Sports Car race for over 1500cc cars.
XKD 510 was then purchased by Gerald Ashmore of West Bromwich near Birmingham. According to MotorSport magazine Gerry Ashmore and his brother Chris, “were second generation British racing drivers – following in the footsteps of their father Joe and Uncle Fred.”

Now painted yellow, in August 1963, XKD 510 was sold to the Jaguar importers in Singapore. The Cycle & Carriage Company had begun life in Kuala Lumpur in 1899 before moving to its headquarters in 1926 in Singapore where it still flourishes today. Cycle & Carriage sold the car to Yong Nam Kee. From a wealthy Singaporean family, ‘Fatso’ Yong Nam Kee, in a Jaguar E-Type, was the winner of the inaugural Malaysia Grand Prix in 1962 run on the Thomson track in Singapore. During the Johor GP on 1st September 1963, Yong Nam Kee was killed when he was overtaking another car which moved across his path, causing him to crash on the 58th lap, whilst lying second to the eventual winner Albert Poon of Hong Kong.
The damaged XKD 510 was put into storage after being purchased by a local garage where it remained until 1967 when it was purchased by John Hallihan. Hallihan had it shipped to his native Australia. In 1975 it was sold to Ian Cummins also of Australia. Cummins, a famous collector and acknowledged Jaguar expert who passed away in 2016, was also at one point in his career manager of the Donington racing car collection. He rebuilt the car with Classic Autocraft. The front and rear sub-frames were still intact and using the original front bulkhead and driver’s footbox area, the tub was re-skinned using XKD 526 as a pattern. XKD 510 is also confirmed as having its original bonnet, tail section, engine, gearbox, Dunlop knock-off alloy wheels drilled for lightness and brake cooling, steering and suspension, together with many other original parts including the rare original Plessey pump.
The rebuild was completed in 1981 and in 1982 sold at auction for a then world record price to Australian Formula 1 Gold Star Champion of 1962, ‘63, ‘64 and ‘65, Bib Stilwell. Stilwell who was also Formula Two Champion in 1965 and Sports Car Champion in 1961 and 1962, had been the first owner of Jaguar D-Type XKD 520. His business interests had later taken him to the USA as President of Gates Learjet Corporation where he raced XKD 510 with great success in historic events at Laguna Seca, Detroit, Road America, Elkhart Lake and others.

According to the Jaguar Journal, in 1987 the car was sold to Bob Baker of Nebraska and then sold again to Victor Gauntlett in the UK who in 1984 had taken ownership of Aston Martin. In 1988 Ian Cummins, re-purchased XKD 510 and it returned to Australia. Cummins in turn later sold a half share to his friend Chris
Haigh (who later, and for many years, would also own David McKay’s Jaguar Mk 1 competition saloon, ‘Grey Pussy’). XKD 510 would appear in many historic events including the 1996 Le Mans factory 40th Anniversary retrospective gathering of 28 D-Types assembled from around the world, travelling by road once again “from Coventry to Le Mans”.

In 1997 XKD 510 was purchased by internationally acclaimed Big Band Maestro, Warren Daly OAM of Sydney. Daly continued to feature the road-registered D-Type in historic events including at the Australian Grand Prix (1998, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011), Classic Adelaide Rally, Speed on Tweed (2005, 2008) Golden Era (GEAR) race meetings Wakefield Park, Tasman Revival and Super Sprints at Eastern Creek etc. During the Jaguar 2000 Australia Celebrations XKD 510 was the icon car and featured at the Sydney Motor Show that same year as well. It also headlined at the 38th National Jaguar Rally in Adelaide in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the legendary 1957 Le Mans victory.
XKD 510 has more recently been based in the UK, featuring prominently on display at the famous Donington Motor Museum before returning to Australia once again.

This exquisite piece of machinery is accompanied by a comprehensive written and photographic report by Chris Keith Lucas of CKL Developments, one of the world’s foremost authorities on sports and racing cars of the 1950s and ‘60s and in particular Jaguar D Types. In this report it states, “In conclusion, I can say that XKD 510 is in fact a car with a remarkable and continuous history. It is nicely restored. In good condition and retains to this day some original material many other well-thought-of cars lost a long time ago!”

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