Jaguar’s mighty D-Type was a winner right out of the gate, particularly at the Le Mans 24 Hours, which it won three times in as many years – 1955, 1956 and 1957. From its small, oval air intake and covered headlamps to the purposeful vertical stabilizer, the D-Type’s aerodynamic design was highly advanced. Most sources now cite Jaguar’s total D-Type production at 87 vehicles, including 53 customer cars, 18 “works” team cars and 16 road-going XK-SS variants.
In any case, there are simply too few survivors to satisfy the ongoing demand for these near-mythical machines, and on the rare occasion where an original example comes to market, prime examples command prices well into the seven figures. Predictably, strong demand for recreations has developed, with many such replicas equal to, or in some cases actually superior to, the original. In the early 1980s, the Tempero Automobile Company of South Ireland, New Zealand began limited production of new D-Types, faithfully based on the original design.
Without compromise, Tempero created all-new central monocoques and front subframes. Correct wooden bucks were created, to which dedicated artisans fitted hand-made alloy panels, faithfully replicating one of the sexiest automobile bodies in history. While other firms have produced their own D-Type recreations, precious few have earned Tempero’s well-deserved reputation for quality and authenticity.
Nearly 20 years ago, Alan Holmes of The Fine Automobile Store in San Diego, California was so impressed by Tempero’s D-Type that he commissioned the production of 12 more. This example is one of those 12 cars. Formerly owned by noted collector Gene Ponder, it was acquired by the current owner in 2007 and has covered fewer than 100 miles ever since. The car is noted as being very fast, with its light weight and powerful XK six-cylinder motor. The gearbox shifts well, and with its E-Type independent rear suspension and four-wheel disc brakes, the car handles and brakes very well, while the side-exit exhaust adds a competition flair. Today, the engine is very clean in presentation, complete with triple Weber carburetors. While there is some evidence of use on the purposeful green leather interior and exterior finish, the car remains very presentable overall.
Appropriately finished in British Racing Green with white roundels, racing numbers, Dunlop pegged alloy wheels with knock-offs and Dunlop racing tires, this car is a wonderful link to the glory days of 1950s sports car racing. Since most original D-Types are within long-term ownership and rarely come to market, this car offers the opportunity to experience the legendary D-Type at an attractive price point.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2011 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
265 bhp, 3,781 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder Jaguar XK engine, three dual-choke Weber carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 96"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Simon Clay