The ‘first off the production line’, Ex-Al Browne/Lou Brero Sr and Moores Collection,1955 3.4-Litre
Lot 523
The ‘first off the production line’, Ex-Al Browne/Lou Brero Sr and Moores Collection,1955 3.4-Litre Jaguar D-Type Sports-Racing Two-Seater XKD 509
Sold for £2,201,500 (US$ 3,444,911) inc. premium

Lot Details
The ‘first off the production line’, Ex-Al Browne/Lou Brero Sr and Moores Collection,1955 3.4-Litre Jaguar D-Type Sports-Racing Two-Seater XKD 509 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type, 1955 Jaguar D-Type,
The ‘first off the production line’, Ex-Al Browne/Lou Brero Sr and Moores Collection
1955 3.4-Litre Jaguar D-Type Sports-Racing Two-Seater
Registration no. VTF 4
Chassis no. XKD 509
Engine no. E2015-9
Body no. H2009

Footnotes

  • In presenting this superb example of one of motor racing history’s most attractive and widely useable sports-racing classics, Bonhams is delighted to be offering a car which has enjoyed only two long-term family ownerships in addition to two very brief tenures – the first by its very first private owner ex-works and the second by the enthusiast/dealer who retrieved it from the USA in the mid-1970s.

    Jaguar D-Type ‘XKD 509’ offered here is undoubtedly one of the very last of these magnificent motor cars to emerge from such long-term ownership in such original and ‘unspoiled’ condition.

    This individual car also has the extra cachet of being the very first production D-Type Jaguar – the actual, individual, car with which Sir William Lyons began to see a commercial return upon his investment in what proved to be the charismatic British company’s three-times Le Mans 24-Hour race-winning design.

    In fact ‘XKD 509’ now offered here was supplied new in 1955 to New York-based American distributor Chuck Hornburg. Through his company, this D-Type was sold directly to Albert R. Browne of Menlo Park, who owned the Federal Pacific Electric Company in Newark, New Jersey. He wanted to enter the brand-new D-Type in competition with a suitably qualified professional driver behind the wheel. He reputedly asked Phil Hill to drive it but the future Formula 1 World Champion Driver declined, being committed elsewhere. Al Browne then approached Carroll Shelby, only to find he was similarly committed, but the tall Texan then referred Browne to Lou Brero Sr, another experienced and well-known West Coast-based road racer.

    French-born Lou Brero Sr was then 46 years old, a very competitive and combative road racing driver. He was already well-known for his exploits in a Kurtis-Cadillac, a Jaguar C-Type, and a pair of distinctive sports-racing Ferraris – one a 3-litre 4-cylinder 750 Monza while the other was the famous ex-Allen Guiberson 4½-litre V12-engined Ferrrari 375 in which Phil Hill/Richie Ginther had finished 2nd in the 1954 Carrera PanAmericana. At the other end of the scale, Lou Brero Sr had also campaigned a 500cc single-cylinder Cooper-Norton Formula 3 car!

    He was by profession a lumberman from Arcata, up in Humboldt County, northern California. His son, Lou Jr, helped prepare and run his racing cars, and Al Browne was interested in securing the older man’s services. After attending the 1956 Arcata Road Races (which Brero organised on the local aerodrome and where Pete Snell was killed after overturning his Triumph TR – the now famous Snell Foundation being set-up in his memory to promote racing safety), Browne asked Brero to drive his new Jaguar D-Type in the forthcoming 1956 Sebring 12-Hour race, and the experienced Franco-Californian accepted.

    The car then appeared in the FIA Sports Car World Championship-qualifying 12-Hour race wearing a stunningly distinctive colour scheme – quite unlike anything ever applied to any other Jaguar D-Type.

    The story behind its unique livery, credited to Lou Brero Jr, begins with Browne’s new car resplendent in its original British Racing Green, as delivered. The car had barely 1500 miles ‘on the clock’ at that time, and was being prepared in the New York workshop run by the Cunningham team’s very well-respected engineering director Alfred Momo.

    We understand that Al Browne's business partner (who was in the process of buying him out at that time) had become interested in this racing venture and decided that he wanted the car to be painted in American racing livery of white and blue, in the style pioneered by the Cunningham team from 1950.

    However, Lou Brero Jr - irritated that Momo was being entrusted with preparing the car instead of him - was told by Browne that since the car was to be repainted, he would be allowed to design its new color scheme. The young man was horrified at the prospect of the car’s beautiful factory-standard green paint being sanded off, but if this was going to happen, then he wanted a new paint scheme that would perform some practical purpose.

    Since the car was now to race into the night at Sebring, he chose matte dark blue paint contrasting sharply with white fender quarters and forming five individual vertical stripes – matte dark blue on white - up each side of the central monocoque ‘tub’ section to ensure high visibility in night racing. In fact Lou Brero Sr would be able to acquire the car from Al Browne, and it would retain Lou Jr’s startling livery for much – and perhaps all – of its American racing career.

    This very capable veteran co-drove it with Sam Weiss in the Sebring 12-Hours, their race ending after 68 laps due to clutch failure. At Eagle Mountain, Fort Worth, Texas, Brero then drove this Jaguar D-Type into a strong 3rd place sandwiched between two Ferraris, beaten only by American Champion Walt Hansgen in the Cunningham-entered ‘Longnose’ D-Type and by future Aston Martin Le Mans-winning driver and Cobra constructor Carroll Shelby in a Ferrari 750 Monza.

    In the main 100-mile race that same day Lou Brero Sr finished fifth, having been trading places with the D-Types of Hansgen and Sherwood Johnston. This car then failed to finish at Beverly, but in the major 150-mile Road America event at Elkhart Lake, Lou Brero Sr finished a fine 2nd overall in it – beaten only by Carroll Shelby driving a very much more powerful 4.4-litre 6-cylinder Ferrari 121LM.

    At the end of that American season the Bahamas Speed Week events saw Lou Brero Sr again drive ‘XKD 509’. He took 4th place in the Governor’s Trophy heat, before finishing an excellent 3rd overall in the major Governor’s Trophy itself, this time beaten only by Carroll Shelby in John Edgar’s big V12-engined Ferrari 410 Sport, and by the legendary Spanish Marquis ‘Fon’ de Portago in his 3½-litre 4-cylinder Ferrari 860 Monza. He then finished a strong 2nd in the Jaguar Trophy race behind John Fitch in the Cunningham team’s ex-works ‘Longnose’ D-Type before ‘XKD 509’ was entrusted to Marion Lowe who promptly won Heat 2 of the Nassau Ladies’ Trophy race in it…

    In 1957 Lou Brero Sr reappeared in what was by this time his Jaguar D-Type – still distinctively striped - winning at Stockton, California, before taking the car to a national meeting at Dillingham Field, Mokuleia, Hawaii, on the weekend of April 19-20, 1957. It appears that the D-Type suffered an engine failure in practice there, which led to Lou Brero Sr then accepting a substitute drive in an elderly Maserati A6GCM powered by a Chevrolet V8 engine and entered by Bob Gillespie of Tiburon, California.

    He ran the Maserati-Chevrolet concurrently with a production car race on the Saturday afternoon, merely to complete sufficient laps for him to qualify the loaned car for the big sports-racing car feature event next day. He had been timed through the speed trap at 136mph before slowing for a sharp right turn. Tragically, either a broken half-shaft punctured the fuel tank or the car’s filler cap burst open, flooding the cockpit with fuel which was ignited almost instantly by an exhaust spit-back on a down-change. It is said the Lou Brero Sr heroically steered the blazing car away from adjacent spectators before leaping clear – but his clothing was already well alight and he was wrapped in flame. The poor fellow was taken to hospital with 70 per cent burns, which proved fatal at 10pm on April 21.

    It appears that Lou Brero Jr then fell heir to ‘XKD 509’ after his well-regarded father’s deeply tragic death. He also took over stewardship of the magnificent ex-Phil Hill Hill/Richie Ginther Ferrari 375 which his father had raced previously. Lou Brero Jr would keep this car in a trailer for some 39 years before it passed into a leading American collector’s hands and was fully restored to its former glory.

    Lou Brero Jr similarly retained ‘XKD 509’ long-term. He led what has been described to us as “a Hippy existence”, during which he is said to have appeared occasionally in the ageing D-Type, “…driving it along the beach in the sun”. This period in the car’s life concluded in or around 1974 when he was eventually persuaded to sell ‘XKD 509’ to visiting British dealer in classic and historic cars, Brian Classic.

    The Jaguar’s bodywork had been stripped back to bare aluminium by that time – its distinctive ‘dazzle camouflage’ livery having been removed. But despite copious evidence of superficial neglect and poor storage, ‘XKD 509’ was actually complete in almost every respect. Crucially, the 19-year-old car was not just complete, but startlingly original and unspoiled.

    Its condition can be clearly judged from the accompanying contemporary photographs, provided by Brian Classic himself.

    Once ‘XKD 509’ had been returned to the UK, Mr Classic entrusted the car to his brother-in-law, leading Historic racing driver Willie Green, for restoration to running, raceworthy order. This work was speedily completed and Brian Classic recalls covering many happy miles in the car, including participation in some minor club race meetings at the nearby Aintree circuit, Liverpool.

    It was there that wealthy local Liverpudlian racing enthusiast Nigel Moores saw the car and expressed interest in acquiring it. He was the nephew of Sir John Moores, creator and head of the pioneering Littlewoods football pools company whose interests had diversified into the Littlewoods chain of retail stores and the John Moores catalogue mail order business. Sir John Moores had been Chairman of Everton football club and Cecil Moores was a leading shareholder in Liverpool FC, the ultra-successful world-class soccer team of which his son David Moores – Nigel’s younger brother – was Chairman.

    Nigel Moores was thus a very well connected gentleman of considerable means, but he was also widely popular throughout the club-level British motor racing world in which he was regarded as an extremely pleasant and discreet true-blue enthusiast. He owned a growing collection of interesting and varied historic cars, many of which he drove most competently in competition.

    He had a wry sense of humour, and enjoyed hiding his true identity – and perhaps keeping his parents in the dark about his racing activities - behind the pseudonyms ‘Willie Eckerslyke’ or – apparently more prosaically – ‘Paul Kelly’. In fact the former identity was derived from Scouse slang, “Will (h)’e ‘eck as like…” meaning (emphatically) “No he darned well won’t”. Meanwhile, the latter pseudonym was in fact the name of Mr Moores’s long-faithful personal mechanic, ‘the real’ Paul Kelly who would be retained by the Moores family for the rest of his life, long after Nigel’s tragic accidental death in 1977, caring for the late heir’s wonderful car collection.

    In fact Nigel Moores lost his life, while riding as a passenger, in a road accident near Aix les Bains in France. The majority of his car collection was preserved for several years in a large but typically discreet warehouse building in Ormskirk, Lancashire, while some individual collection cars were also displayed on long-term loan in various museums, including the Lakeland Motor Museum in the English Lake District, and the Jersey Motor Museum in the Channel Islands.

    Nigel Moores’ collecting tastes extended to Cooper single-seaters, vintage-era French Amilcars (ranging from 1100 to 2000cc and four- to six-cylinder models), 4-cylinder Ferraris – including two 750 Monza sports-racing cars, and both a Tasman Ferrari 555/860 Squalo and the ex-Pat Hoare Ferrari 500/750 single-seat Tasman Special. He had also acquired some highly significant Lotus cars and a Ford GT40. But the core of his personal collection centred upon Jaguars in general and D-Type variants in particular, of which he accumulated no fewer than seven, plus literally tons of associated spares and parts.

    For several years the collection was kept together under the stewardship of family advisor Bill Allen – himself a former racing driver, most notably perhaps with Team Elite in the early 1960s – and under Paul Kelly’s care. But it was finally dispersed in the late 1980s, when the present Bonhams team was engaged to offer its component cars and parts for sale. But while this was successfully accomplished, Nigel’s favourite D-Type, ‘XKD 509’ now offered here was retained for his son James. In recent years the car has been maintained for him by respected specialist sports-racing car engineer Kelvin Jones of Manley, Cheshire.

    Today this wonderful example of this most charismatic model – so widely regarded as being one of the most original and ‘unmolested’ of all D-Types with significant racing history – becomes available to the market for the first time in no fewer than 33 years.

    As offered it is accompanied by a British MoT technical test certificate issued in May 2004 – recording the odometer mileage then shown as just 6,339. Mileage recorded at the time of writing this catalogue entry is just over 6,500. We have no way of knowing whether or not this is the actual lifetime mileage of the car, but – potentially - it could be so.

    At some stage during its life within the Moores collection, ‘XKD 509’s original engine – serial ‘2015-9’ – was swapped with that of fellow Moores D-Type chassis ‘XKD 512’. The original engine from ‘XKD 512’ - which was serial ‘2014-9’ - was then installed in the D-Type offered here – ‘XKD 509’. The car was preserved for some years in this specification – including its period as an exhibit at the Jersey Motor Museum, in the Channel Islands – before the sister power units were subsequently swapped back and reunited with their correct chassis’.

    As presented for sale here ‘XKD 509’ is equipped with its original 3.4-litre power unit, serial ‘2015-9’ – this original serial being stamped on the engine’s block and cylinder head, and once again matching the original chassis data plate which is riveted (correctly) to the bonnet panelwork.

    Overall as offered here, this magnificent car exudes ‘rightness’ and originality. Its monocoque centre-section still carries its original ID number tag, as does the front subframe, and the engine block and head. The black paintwork – first applied c. 1974-75 - is ageing and cracked in places while the original green leather cockpit trim and cushioning is also partially (beautifully!) rubbed and fretted. We would characterise this superb D-Type as being a real time warp but one which is mechanically ‘together’…and in fact just mouth-wateringly desirable.

Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, check with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveler's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Similar Items