After Team GB’s amazing Olympic success, there’s a new gold medal this week for… Jaguar. On the top step of podium: one of the most special of D-types, which after a tense auction battle at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction at the weekend is now officially the most expensive British car ever sold at auction.
AUG 22nd 2016
$22MILLION Ecurie Ecosse D‑Type smashes auction records
The 1956 Ecurie Ecosse Le Mans winner sold for $21.78 million including fees, becoming just one of four British cars to have sold at auction for more than $10m. The D-type smashed the previous record, for an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, by almost $8m.
Sixty years before XKD 501 also beat Aston Martin at La Sarthe. The dark blue car bearing the Saltire and driven by Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson, finished the great race just one lap ahead of Stirling Moss and Peter Collins in the Aston Martin DB3S.
The Jag got the fastest lap (4 minute 20 second) on its way to taking the chequered flag after almost 4,035km at an average speed of 168km/h (104mph). The 300bhp car recorded over 157mph on the Mulsanne Straight.
XKD 501, the first D-type supplied by Jaguar to a privately run team, also competed at Goodwood and, in 1957, in the Mille Miglia (a DNF). It was retired from competition soon after that – one of the reasons it is acclaimed today as a true 1950s “time warp” racer.
RM Sotheby’s Shelby Myers told GRR: “In terms of body, chassis and engine, there is no other Le Mans winner from this period that is as original as this car.”
After its last race in 1960, XKD 501 was kept in Scotland by Ecurie Ecosse backer Major Thomson. It was bought by Sir Michael Nairn in Scotland in 1970. Since 1999 it has been in the same American ownership. It is believed four collectors were in the bidding war for it at the Monterey auction.
The $21m (about £16m at current rates) stands in stark contrast to the €3.7m (about £3.2m) made by the last D-type to be sold at auction, also by RM Sotheby’s, in Paris last year. That was no Le Mans winner but it did have racing pedigree and had been owned by Le Mans winner Richard Attwood.
While the Jaguar was the star of the Monterey auction, its sale wasn’t the only one to set a record. Billed by RM Sotheby’s as “arguably the most important American car of all time”, the first Shelby Cobra, chassis number CSX2000, sold for US$13.75m (including premium) while the ex-Phil Hill Ferrari 750 Monza sold for $5.225m – a world record for the model.
Photography courtesy of RM Sotheby's
Join our motorsport community
Get closer to motorsport at Goodwood! Join the GRRC Fellowship to be first in the queue for event tickets, to attend the GRRC-only Members' Meeting and to enjoy year-round, exclusive benefits.