Two Mid-Century Jaguar Racing Legends Head to Auction
Ferrari red, British style.
Crack open that swear jar and take a hammer to the piggy bank—another Jaguar D-Type is crossing the auction block. The Jag is one of the featured lots at RM Sotheby's upcoming Arizona sale, and while the majority of existing D-Types wear demure shades of green, blue, silver, or white, this finned wonder presents in a fantastic shade of Ferrari red, giving one moneyed enthusiast a chance to stand out at the next Goodwood Members Meeting or Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
Surprisingly, the Jag left the factory in this stunning red-over-red configuration, a scheme marque experts believe was applied to only two or three other D-Types. After the original dealer failed to find a buyer, none other than former Formula 1 head honcho Bernie Ecclestone held the car for a period and helped move along the wrapper-fresh race car to racer Peter Blond for the princely sum of £3,500.
Blond went straight to work on the club racing circuit. He rushed his new D-Type to second, followed by a first-place finish at Snetterton in summer 1956, with another first-place finish at Snetterton later in the fall. It made the rounds through all of the big in-period club venues, including Aintree, Silverstone, Oulton Park, and Goodwood.
After a successful season, Blond sold the car to its second owner, though he continued to race the red Jag with the new caretaker through 1959 when it was sold to its third owner. From there, it changed hands multiple times through the following decade, eventually landing in the hands of Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant sometime after 1974. He held it until 1982 when it began swapping between American collectors right up to the current owner, who has retained the car since 2008.
According to RM Sotheby's, this is an impressively complete car, with its numbers-matching engine and transmission. This means the potent 3.4-liter triple-Weber'd inline-six is all there, spinning those skinny rear Dunlops with 245 horsepower and 240 lb-ft through a four-speed manual transmission. If you're all ready to make room in your garage, you might want to cash-in your Bitcoin wallet or sell-off some TSLA stock—RM expects a final sale price between $5.75 and $7.5 million.
Ouch. A bit too dear? We thought as much. If that estimate hasn't completely soured your enthusiasm for old Jag race cars, see if you can scrounge up a much more reasonable $900,000 to $1,200,000 to cover the estimate for the 1958 Lister-Jaguar "Knobbly" that's set to share the auction block with the D-Type.
Of all the "hybrid" race cars from the 1950s—those being workshop-built cars with powertrains sourced from major manufacturers—Lister flew at the front of the pack with its fantastically quick Lister-Jaguars and Lister-Chevrolets powered by either D-Type inline-sixes or Chevy small-block V-8s. During the late 1950s, the swollen and musclebound stance of these Listers prompted the "Knobbly" nickname, and the cars remain fast and competitive fixtures at major vintage racing events around the world.
RM's Lister-Jaguar is one of the few "works" Listers to survive, and as such is one of the more important to ever come to market. Official documentation on racing Listers is scarce, but this particular Knobbly is relatively well documented, carrying a 3.8-liter D-Type inline-six fitted sometime in the 1970s. While it raced in-period and during the following decades, most of its competitive history occurred during the 1990s and 2000s, when a series of owners campaigned the car at Laguna Seca, Chuckwalla, Willow Springs, Buttonwillow, Thunderhill, Sears Point, Lime Rock, and Le Mans, among other venues.
With an exceptionally clean bill of mechanical health and impeccable aesthetic condition, this wild Knobbly is a plug-and-play competitive entrant to the world of vintage racing and high-end Concours. Get your bidding paddles ready.