The Jaguar C-Type Launched Jaguar into Racing History
The Jaguar C-Type was built for only a few years from 1951 to 1953, but it staked Jaguar's claim with a truly competitive race car. The "C" stood for "competition" and it lived up to that name by winning its first attempt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The company readied three C-Types for Le Mans, but the only one that finished was the winning car driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead. The other two dropped out due to oil pressure issues, but the C-Type staked is claim as a solid entry in the race. Mercedes-Benz was hot on its heels with the 300SL, so the 1952 C-Type received aerodynamic changes, weight reductions, and several other upgrades to remain a contender. RELATED: See Photos of the 1952 Jaguar C-Type
RELATED: See Photos of the 1951 Jaguar C-Type
Unfortunately, a rearranged cooling system caused overheating and all three cars were forced to retire from the race. Undaunted, the 1953 C-Type returned to the field with new fade-free brakes that helped the cars place first, second, and fourth for an impressive comeback. The C-Type raced one last year at Le Mans in 1954 and couldn't match its previous performance coming in fourth place.
Although it spent only a few years on the racing scene, the car established Jaguar as a force in the racing world. Its success led to the D-Type and an eventual five Le Mans wins. Today it is a highly collectible racer that fetches millions of dollars at auction.
RELATED: The C-Type Racer That Put Jaguar on the Map
Photo Credit: Duncan Hamilton