What to do if you are fielding a dozen cars in Revival? Get down to the circuit for some testing double quick!
The latest pre-Revival test day for renowned big cat specialists CKL Developments today flooded the circuit with – you guessed – D-types, including some cars not see here for a long time. A 60th birthday party is guaranteed to bring out old friends after all.
“I think 12 cars is getting on for a Revival record for CKL,” said Chris Keith-Lucas. “It’s not surprising – we are Jaguar specialists and the D-type is the featured marque, so Revival this year is made for us. We are looking forward to having a lot of fun.”
We caught up with Chris recently to hear some of the stories behind the cars this year.
Of the 12 CKL cars due to take part – some of which are testing today – seven are D-types, and one an XKSS (the roadgoing D-type). They include the Ecurie Ecosse car to be driven by Derek Bell, Valentine Lindsay’s D-type and Dan Ghose’s car, not seen before at Goodwood, which has been flown over from its home in the US.
Some of the Ds will be racing at Revival, others taking part in the high-speed D-type demo. One car definitely racing will be John Breslow’s XKSS, with John himself down to drive.
Meet the perfect D-type
Not testing today but to be on show at Revival will be what Chris Keith-Lucas calls ”the perfect D-type.”
“It’s short nose, single seat, no fin, no extended windscreen, no extra paraphernalia – exactly how it was designed to look when it came out of the factory. It’s a nugget of beauty,” Chris told us.
The car didn’t always look like this. When it crashed during a race Down Under it needed a new bonnet and since Jaguar couldn’t supply one the owner, with typical Australian ingenuity, made his own – from photographs. “It was a long-nose bonnet and didn’t look quite right,” said Chris.
XKD520 (the 2oth built), which now sports its correct short-nose bonnet, is a car with an illustrious racing history in Australia, driven by Lear Jet boss-to-be Bib Stillwell. And of course it has a value to match: it sold in Paris in February this year for €3.7million.
It’s not all about D-types for CKL – just as long as there’s a Jag engine under the bonnet.
Bob Francis’s Allard J2, Sydney Allard’s own car, will be back for more action again this year, as will one of the most original of Lister Jags, the yellow Ecurie Nationale Belge car which raced at Le Mans in 1958. Memorable for its races with Tiff Needell behind the wheel at recent Revivals, this time the owner Chris Lunn is down to drive it.
Lister with a touch of Spitfire
Another familiar Lister is Steve Boultbee-Brooks’ Flat Iron (you can see our video of it here). This year, though, you might not recognise the car – there’s a touch of Spitfire (Steve’s other toy) about it…
Since Steve rescued the Flat Iron and brought it to Revival last year it’s been back to CKL for restoration, part two, to put right all the things there wasn’t time to fix in 2013.
The work has involved putting the structure right, installing the correct Lister-spec Jag 3.8 lump with Weber carbs, and giving the body this really special finish. Last year the car was all shiny and new, now it’s gorgeously matte and far more racetrack than showroom. Comparisons with the finish of Steve’s Spitfire – the one at the Boultbee Flight Academy at Goodwood – are not wide of the mark…
So how did CKL achieve such a beautifully aged finish? “Trick of the trade I am afraid and not allowed to say,” said Chris Keith-Lucas.
Patrick Head’s Cooper-Jag – ouch!
One car out on track today testing was HOT 95, the 1955 Cooper-Jaguar Mk2 owned and campaigned in period by Col Michael Head, father of Williams tech genius Patrick Head. Since an argument with the tyre wall at a test day last week the car is looking a little sorry for itself…
“We’ve beaten the panels straight and now all it needs is some paint – don’t worry, it will look perfect for Revival weekend,” said Chris Keith-Lucas.
Alas an early plan for Patrick to race the car at Revival as an homage to his father had to be changed, but Patrick is still down as having entered the car – the first time in 40 years he has been listed as an entrant in a motor race.
The white sports racer, with its characteristic Cooper multitube chassis, will be driven in the Sussex Trophy on the Friday evening by the car’s owner, Ludovic Lindsay, and CKL Developments boss Ben Shuckburgh.
Will they be able to emulate Col Head’s most famous win with the car, the 100km sports car race at Goodwood in 1957? There will one person in the crowd more interested than most to find that out…
Photography: Nicole Hains