The Ex-Ron Flockhart, Ninian Sanderson, Jock Lawrence 1956 Jaguar D-Type 'Shortnose' Sports-Racing Two-Seater Registration no. MWS 303 Chassis no. XKD 561 Engine no. Two units supplied - see text
The Jaguar D-Type sports-racing car design is one of the most desirable and most coveted of all truly historic and definingly classic cars. During the 1950s 'the D-Type' combined the most sophisticated of chassis structures with the most robust and contemporarily advanced of all volume-production twin-overhead camshaft engine designs. Clothe the completed assembly in Malcolm Sayer's exquisitely handsome and well-proportioned body design, then add the model's stupendous record of fine-focused racing achievement, and the appeal of the Jaguar marque's front-engined finest becomes simply unchallengeable.
Sir William Lyons of the Jaguar Car Company aimed his sleekly curvaceous, finely streamlined D-Types squarely at winning the world's most prestigious single motor race the Le Mans 24-Hours and from 1955-1957 the cars scored an historic hat-trick of victories there. And while it had been a factory 'Longnose' D-Type which won for the first time in 1955, it was subsequently the Ecurie Ecosse 'Shortnose' and 'Longnose' variants which achieved endurance racing's highest honour by winning the 24-Hour races of both 1956 and 1957. So while three of Jaguar's 1950s total of five Le Mans 24-Hour race wins were achieved by D-Types, two of those three were achieved by D-Types owned and run by the Scottish team, and campaigned in their illustrious Flag Metallic Blue livery.
The Ecurie Ecosse team campaigned six D-Type cars, 1955-57. They were chassis serials 'XKD 501', '502', '504', '561', 603' and '606'. Here we are delighted to offer 'Shortnose' serial '561' road registration 'MWS 303' which is in many respects the least used and one of the most gorgeous of the charismatic Scottish team's Jaguar D-Types...
It was in May, 1955, that David Murray took delivery of Ecurie Ecosse's first two Jaguar D-Types serials 'XKD 501' and '502'. The cars were assigned to the Merchiston Mews team just in time to appear in the BRDC 'Daily Express' Trophy meeting at Silverstone. Unfortunately, Jimmy Stewart promptly crashed '501' there but Desmond Titterington the Ulsterman being regarded at the time as an honorary Scot finished sixth in 'XKD 502'. The season that followed was hectic, with the Ecosse team contesting no fewer than 20 races both at home and abroad, of which they won six.
The magnificently well-presented 'Shortnose' D-Type now offered here became the Ecurie Ecosse team's third, last, and latest 'Shortnose' D-Type, delivered brand-new from the Coventry factory in March 1956, and registered 'MWS 303'.
The car was then used quite sparingly by David Murray's team during that 1956 season, being raced in only twelve meetings, at Snetterton, Goodwood, Oulton Park, Aintree and Charterhall, Silverstone, Spa, Goodwood, Aintree and Rouen-les-Essarts. Driven by Ron Flockhart, Desmond Titterington, Jock Lawrence and Peter Hughes the car achieved two first places and five seconds.
Overall 'XKD 561's Ecurie Ecosse appearances that year were as follows:
March 25, 1956 Snetterton Ron Flockhart two races, 1st and 2nd April 2, 1956 Goodwood Ron Flockhart 1st April 14, 1956 Oulton Park Ron Flockhart Heat and Final, 2nd and 7th April 21, 1956 Aintree Desmond Titterington 2nd April 29, 1956 Charterhall - Peter Hughes two 2nd places May 5, 1956 Silverstone Ron Flockhart 5th May 13, 1956 Spa-Francorchamps Desmond Titterington Rtd May 21, 1956 Goodwood Jock Lawrence Rtd June 23, 1956 Aintree Ninian Sanderson Rtd July 8, 1956 Rouen-les-Essarts Desmond Titterington 7th July 14, 1956 Silverstone Ron Flockhart 3rd September 3, 1956 Charterhall Jock Lawrence not known
Ron Flockhart's exploits in the new car at Snetterton that Easter Saturday in March were described as follows in 'Autosport' magazine. (While the D-Type engined HWM of George) "...Abecassis made a beautiful start....Flockhart was after him like a greyhound chasing an electric hare. The Abecassis-Flockhart duel was one of drum brakes versus disc. The tail lights of the HWM flashed on first at each corner. The Jaguar closed up, and eventually, just halfway through the race, the disc brakes won. Flockhart took the lead and kept it, though not by very much. That it was Flockhart's day (his first for Ecurie Ecosse and first in a D-Type incidentally) was borne out by the last race, a 10-lap handicap for everyone. (While) Peter Gammon drove his Cooper-Climax so well and so fast that with his handicap no one had a chance of getting near him,...Flockhart certainly tried all he knew. From ninth place on the first lap, the Scotsman climbed to third on the sixth, 35secs behind Gammon, and second on the eighth, catching the leader at a pace of 3secs per lap. At the end Flockhart was 18secs behind and still making up distance...".
On Easter Monday, Ron Flockhart's victory at the Goodwood International came in the programme-closing handicap event while his second place at Oulton Park came in heat 3 of the British Empire Trophy race. In the Final he placed seventh. At Aintree Desmond Titterington in '561' now offered here was beaten only by Roy Salvadori in the works-entered Aston Martin DB3S. Des Titterington's third place in the sports car race supporting the British GP at Silverstone on July 14 saw '561' bettered only by Salvadori's works Aston (again) and by the outright winner, Stirling Moss in the factory Maserati 300S. While a private customer team Ecurie Ecosse and its D-Type Jaguars really did compete with The Big Boys... Early in 1957 David Murray sold 'XKD 561' to young would-be owner-driver Max Trimble from Walsall. In his early outings in the car at Aintree and Goodwood Trimble showed considerable promise while not yet being fully familiar with it. But during practice for the Spa Grand Prix in Belgium in early May,1957, Max Trimble crashed heavily, badly damaging the ex-Ecosse Jaguar.
It was sold, unrepaired but in its entirety, to Welsh garagist and Jaguar specialist Maurice Charles who rebuilt it to running order over an extended period, re-prepared it for racing and who eventually returned it to racing during the 1959 season, as in the sports car race supporting the British Grand Prix at Aintree, finishing a respectable eighth amongst much lighter, faster Cooper Monaco, Lister-Jaguar and Lotus 15 opposition. In the subsequent Kentish '100' race meeting at Brands Hatch, Maurice Charles then drove '561' home seventh ahead of Mike Anthony's powerful Lister-Chevrolet and Michael Salmon's sister D-Type.
Maurice Charles raced the car occasionally during 1960, and in the BRDC May Silverstone International he finished seventh, splitting the sister D-Types of Ron Flockhart driving nothing less than Ecurie Ecosse's veteran 1957 Le Mans-winning 'Longnose' 'XKD 606' - and Michael Salmon again in a 'Shortnose' entered by the Gerrards Cross Motor Company.
Maurice Charles eventually sold the car now offered here to a Lancastrian enthusiast named Clive Unsworth, a very private single gentleman who used it as a road car for the next eight years or so, before preserving it in storage for the following 26 long years...
It eventually emerged from this long hibernation as one of the most authentic Jaguar D-Type Jaguars to have survived from period competition use. Upon Mr Unsworth's death the car was offered for sale from his estate. Dick Skipworth was interested as a potential buyer but passed instead to Dr Julio Palmas who in 1994 commissioned leading British Jaguar specialist John Pearson to conduct a full restoration of the car.
In 2002 when 'XKD 561' was again offered for sale, Dick Skipworth succeeded in acquiring it for his by then well-established Ecurie Ecosse Collection.
The car has since appeared in Historic racing in numerous events, up to and including the Goodwood Revival Meeting in which it has been driven by both Dick Skipworth himself and Graeme Dodd and in the 2008 Le Mans Classic when it was co-driven by Mr Skipworth and his son Steve. The car has been qualified on pole position at Oulton Park in the hands of Barrie Williams and it is widely recognized as being a thoroughly competitive Historic racing 'Shortnose' D-Type.
As offered here the car is fitted with a correct spec. D-Type six-cylinder racing engine fully prepared and tuned by Sigma Engineering, while its 1959-60 period ex-Maurice Charles engine serial number 'E2010-9' - is also included with this Lot, it was rebuilt by Pearsons during the D-Type's restoration, seen little use since rebuild. We understand that this second engine is in very good condition and provides notably flexible response for road use. A high first gear is currently featured in the close-ratio four-speed gearbox. Wider rear hubs are fitted to ensure adequate clearance between the sidewalls of available racing tyres and the live rear axle's locating trailing arms. The car's fuel system was modified with high-capacity Fassett pumps but the original-equipment SU pumps have recently been refitted. Spares offered with this lot in addition to the second engine are two spare Dunlop wheels and a detachable passenger side windscreen which is a boon for use in such an event as the Mille Miglia Retro or any of the many road rallies and tours now available for the enjoyment of any new owner's companion or navigator...
After difficulties including major collisions - had beset the works team Jaguar 'Longnose' D-Types at Le Mans, 1956, it was left to Ecurie Ecosse's 'Shortnose' D-Types to salvage Coventry's pride there.
The Scottish team's 'XKD 501' with drivers Ron Flockhart/Ninian Sanderon responded by winning the world's most prestigious endurance race, for Jaguar, country, and Queen. Even better then followed in 1957 when the Ecosse 'Longnose' D-Types finished first and second, with other private entry D-Types following them home third, fourth and sixth. The Ecurie Ecosse D-Types thus became inextricably interwoven into the wider Jaguar legend. And right here is your chance to buy into this legend, and to acquire this mouth-wateringly well-presented, long-dormant, wonderfully well-restored and race proven Ecurie Ecosse D-Type Jaguar...