You could own Stirling Moss' D‑Type for £11million
One of Britain’s most iconic race cars – and certainly one of the best-loved and most familiar at Goodwood – is being listed for sale by auction in America, with a guide of $12-15 million (£9-11m). You’ll know the car by its numberplate: OKV 2.
Stirling Moss’s 1954 short-nose Jaguar D-Type is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at its Arizona sale on 18-19 January. Its long-time owner is US collector Terry Larson who bought it in 1999 – and whose first drive in it was racing in the Goodwood Revival.
OKV 2 – officially, XKD 403 – was the second D-Type built and the lead car in Jaguar’s works team at the debut of the Malcolm Sayer-designed masterpiece at Le Mans in ’54.
Driven by Sir Stirling and Peter Walker, the British Racing Green short-nose was the car to beat in practice, setting a record speed for the time down the Mulsanne Straight of 172.97 mph. The Ferraris were all done at 160. But in the race, a problem with contaminated fuel meant a DNF, so while OKV 2 was the fastest car at La Sarthe in ’54 it never did win the great race.
By the time Jaguar was back a year later, for the first of the D-Type’s three wins in a row, OKV 2 was being campaigned by Tony Rolt and then Bob Berry at mostly UK race meetings, including many at Goodwood. Berry also raced it in the British Grand Prix meeting at Aintree in 1955 – he came seventh. But perhaps the greater achievement was in the Portuguese Grand Prix that year, when OKV 2 came home fifth – after being driven almost 1,000 miles to Oporto after its transporter broke down in France.
As the most actively raced D-Type of the ‘50s OKV 2 had a succession of famous drivers, including Jack Fairman, Ron Flockhart, Peter Blond, Peter Whitehead, Ken Wharton and Duncan Hamilton, as well as Jaguar’s test drive Norman Dewis. Along with its original No 12 racing number, OKV 2 bears the signatures of many of the aces who have sat behind its wheel.
OKV 2 had its share of spills, too, on one occasion cartwheeling into St Mary’s at Goodwood; damage was such that it is said the car was virtually written off. It was rebuilt to 1956 D-Type spec with a lighter green body. Seven years later tragedy hit when young English racer Alistair Smith was killed in the Jag at a race in Mosport Park, Canada.
OKV 2 was restored by Lynx Motors in the 1980s, subsequently featuring in the Jaguar factory cavalcades to Le Mans in 1996 and 1997, before being bought by Terry Larson and returning to the States.
Now the next time we’ll see it will be in the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix on 18–19 January, for RM Sotheby’s 19th annual Arizona sale. That guide price again: £9-11 million. In 1961 OKV 2 was advertised in the back pages of Motor Sport for £1850.
While OKV 2’s estimate is hefty, it is far from a D-Type record. The 1956 Le Mans-winning D-Type was sold by RM Sotheby’s at its Monterey auction last year for almost $20 million (£15m), making it at the time the most expensive British car ever sold at auction.
Who cares about all that… as long as we continue to see it being used.