The 24 Hours of Le Mans is perhaps the quintessential auto race. Run annually since 1923, it tests the endurance of drivers and their cars, pushing both to their limits. One of the most storied Le Mans winning streaks came between 1951 and 1957, with Jaguar cars taking five of seven races. Three of those five wins were notched by the legendary Jaguar D-TYPE between 1955 and 1957, and one of those classics is expected to fetch a record price at auction.
A bit of background: While the Jaguar E-TYPE is widely praised as the most attractive car in history, the Jaguar D-TYPE has one of the most iconic silhouettes in automotive history. Its distinctive profile, with an aerodynamic fin and an air intake that wouldn’t have been out of place on a contemporary jet fighter, the D-TYPE looks every inch like the fierce track competitor that it is.
This particular car wasn’t the first Jaguar D-TYPE to win Le Mans (that happened the previous year in a different Jaguar D-TYPE with drivers Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb behind the wheel). It was the winner of the 1956 Le Mans, with racing legend Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson driving for the Scottish Ecurie Ecosse racing team. It carries chassis number XKD 501, making it the first car explicitly designated a Jaguar D-TYPE. It’s also the only Le Mans-winning Jaguar from that period to remain in its original condition. Its predecessor off the line, which wasn’t a Le Mans winner, sold for more than four million dollars. There are some reports that this model, given its condition and pedigree, could sell for ten million dollars more.
If fourteen million dollars is a bit too rich for your blood — even if it is a legendary Le Mans winner, and a Jaguar, at that — we don’t blame you. If you’re not planning on the trek to R. M. Sotheby’s, why not make the trek from Boston or Newton to Jaguar Peabody, at 247 Newbury St in Peabody MA instead? You can take home the spiritual successors to the Jaguar D-TYPE, the new F-TYPE Jaguar coupe and Jaguar F-PACE SUV.