For many connoisseurs the discretely beautiful lines of the early-1950s Jaguar C-Type sports-racing car define that entire period, before the perhaps more extrovert and voluptuous curves of the D-Type replaced the early 'Competition' model. The original works-entered C-Type Jaguars won the Le Mans 24-Hour race in 1951, and after something of a hiccup with the long-nose or 'droop-snoot' variant of 1952 it was left to the ultimate, thin-gauge bodied, Weber-carbureted 'Lightweight' C-Type works cars of 1953 to win again.
Some 54 C-Types were manufactured in all, the majority of course for customer sale, leaving the model more rare than examples of the replacement D-Type family. This particular Ecurie Ecosse C-Type offered here has often been listed as having been intended originally for export to a customer in Argentina named Carlos Lostalo. The order was allegedly cancelled due to Customs difficulties, whereupon the car was delivered instead to Rossleigh of Edinburgh, Jaguar distributors.
In fact the extensive and beautifully bound documentation file accompanying 'XKC 042' reveals a different background story. In fact Señor Lostalo's planned purchase of the car did not arise until early in 1954 when he agreed with David Murray to purchase the car not as new but second-hand from Ecurie Ecosse . The correspondence includes a letter from F.R.W. 'Lofty' England Jaguar Cars Ltd's renowned and immensely-respected contemporary service and works team racing manager explaining that "Before a car can leave this country it is necessary for us to have a photostatic copy of the import permit and, as you will note from the copy of a letter from our Distributors...this is not yet in the possession of Mr. Lostalo...".
In fact A.H. Lloyd Davies, Manager of Ehlert Motors SA of Sarmiento 470, Buenos Aires, Argentina, had written to Jaguar Cars on February 11, as follows: "On receipt of your cable advising that Mr David Murray reported having sold the XK Competition car XKC 042 to Mr Carlos Lostalo for the sum of £2,200..." Mr Lostalo had cabled them "...permit not yet granted but expected any moment, stop". Mr Lloyd Davies continued: "...the import permit which Mr Lostalo has applied for, and which he is entitled to as one of the group of amateur racing drivers to whom permits are being granted on the authority of the Supreme Magistrate, has not as yet materialized...He has asked us to advise you...that his expectations may not be realized as early as he anticipates and for this reason he does not wish Mr Murray to consider himself bound to the extent of refusing any other offers he may have for the car."
So it was in fact a year earlier than Señor Lostalo's involvement that '042' now offered here was in fact purchased brand-new by Glasgow motor trader Bob Sanderson as one of the three C-Types to be campaigned by son Ninian and his Ecurie Ecosse team-mates through 1953. Its appearances were as follows:
April 12 - Charterhall Ninian Sanderson, 4th
Charterhall Jock Lawrence unplaced
April 18 - Ibsley Sir James Scott Douglas, two races, 3rd and 4th
May 23 - Charterhall Ninian Sanderson 2nd
May 25 - Thruxton Sir James Scott Douglas unplaced
May 30 - Snetterton Jock Lawrence unplaced
June 18 - Douglas, Isle of Man, Ninian Sanderson, 4th Heat, 5th Final
June 27 - Snetterton Jock Lawrence, two races, 2nd and 3rd
July 18 - Silverstone Ninian Sanderson, 11th
August 3 - Thruxton Jock Lawrence, 3rd
August 15 - Charterhall Jimmy Stewart, 3rd
August 22 - Goodwood 9-Hours Jock Lawrence/Frank Curtis, 5th
August 30 Nurburgring 1,000Kms Jimmy Stewart/Jock Lawrence 6th
David Murray having acquired team title to the car from the Sandersons then sold it for the 1954 season to amateur owner/driver John Keeling, Ecurie Ecosse replacing its first two production C-Types with the three ex-works 'Lightweight' variants which had been campaigned during 1953. Correspondence in '042's documentation file included within this Lot includes a letter from David Murray to Bill Lyons, founder and Managing Director of Jaguar Cars Ltd, dated April 6, 1954. In it David Murray wrote: "You will recall that at our meeting you suggested that the price payable should be exactly the same sum as I received from the sale of my last year's cars. The total amount I have received from such sale is £5,912 10/- and I have already remitted to your company £4,000, hence the cheque enclosed, as stated above, is for £1,912 10/-....With kindest regards, I am, Yours Sincerely David Murray".
Bill Lyons's genuine respect for his Scottish customer is evident in his formal response, so typical of the era: "Your recollection of the agreement made at our meeting is quite correct, and I have informed our Accounts Department accordingly that the payments you have made represent full settlement for the cars. May I again wish you every success, and assure you of our co-operation. Kindest regards Yours Sincerely W. Lyons"
Such extras with any such historic competition car as this add immensely to one's understanding of the machine itself, and of the conformities and customs of the era in which it was created, and campaigned...
Meanwhile, John Keeling was enjoying his club racing and touring season in his ex-Ecurie Ecosse '042', occasionally shared with fellow driver Robin Carnegie, although his most celebrated exploit with the car would come at the 1954 Coupe de Paris meeting, at Montlhéry, France. John Bolster, Francophile Technical Editor of 'Autosport' was there and he described how Keeling, upon: "entering a downhill corner stock-car style by which I mean backwards at high velocity ... passed a Citroen, shot up an almost vertical bank, and plunged tail first into a deep ditch". Both John Bolster and Denis Jenkinson illustrious Continental Correspondent of 'Motor Sport' magazine, were amongst those who then muscled '042' out of its resting place on the outside of the Epingle du Faye corner, whereupon owner/driver Keeling was delighted (and amazed) to find the car virtually undamaged.
Another letter in '042's documentation file is from subsequent owner David Elkan describing how in 1960 after being given a ride in it at Snetterton by its apparent contemporary owner, advertising artist David Lewis he bought it. Mr Elkan described how, subsequently: "We attended many events though usually as a spectator but competed in the occasional hill-climb and on the way to an event at Goodwood the engine blew with a valve dropping in so collected (sic) by John Coombs Jaguar garage...it eventually came back to a car hire company of Cadogan Square I was involved with, there was a fine German mechanic working there so over several months including a wonderful job of high temperature heating & filling the cylinder head ultimately it was rebuilt perfectly; I do still have the piston but the valve that was embedded in it has been lost though it is still my favourite paper weight". This original cylinder head is now included within this Lot.
He went on to describe how: "I had the full width screen fitted" this screen also being included within this Lot today "...also the straight thru (sic) exhaust & stainless steel cover, to hide the fact, but it had both the set of original wire wheels & also the Italian Borranis with 3-eared hub caps and with my impending marriage I had a wire luggage rack carefully fitted without damaging the bodywork.
"After my London marriage we filled up the 45 gallon tank & some small bags; one under the hot left side of the bonnet, first stop impressing them at The Ritz in Paris then a lovely journey down to The Carlton in Cannes all on the one tankful eventually arriving impressively at The Ritz in Barcelona for some days before shipping on to my father in...Mallorca where we lived & worked for about 11 years with the car staying there for that time much of it in my garage sealed by the Customs as necessary after the complexities of importing & paying tax in those Franco days defeated me in the end, still I did several hill-climbs there it being in the early '60s one of the most exciting cars on the island."
Mr Elkan eventually returned to London but decided that "...the car could not safely send time parked outside the house off Belgrave Square & it was easily dented front & back both when parked & on the road so spent more & more time semi-permanently garaged underground off Sloane Avenue...after, can you believe, advertising it in The Scotsman newspaper there were few replies...but I eventually sold it to Mr (Nigel) Dawes...".
In Mr Elkan's ownership the C-Type had been repainted red, and fitted with perforated disc road wheels in place of the wire-spoked originals, retained by 'Boadicea' spinners... In Nigel Dawes' sympathetic ownership it was then restored to Ecurie Ecosse condition and livery and he campaigned the car widely and successfully in Historic events through the 1970s. During that period '042' became one of the most familiar and best-known of all the surviving Ecurie Ecosse C-Type Jaguars. At one stage it was fitted with an uprated 3.8-litre XK engine, but it is now back to 3.4-litre specification with its original engine rebuilt as recently as this past September by Sigma Engineering to fast road specification and has less than two hours running time. Although the engine does not have the original high-performance cylinder head installed, it has been fully rebuilt and is offered with the car. The rollover protection bar, four race wheels and the period wrap around windscreen are also offered.
From Nigel Dawes the car was sold to Australia via Adrian Hamilton circa 1980 before in 1982 being brought back into Scottish ownership by Campbell MacLaren. On December 10, 1992 it was acquired by Mr Dick Skipworth, subsequently forming the core around which the magnificent Skipworth Ecurie Ecosse Collection evolved into the 2000s.
In the C-Type Register Dick Skipworth wrote: "I was first introduced to 'XKC042' in 1991. Campbell MacLaren drove me from Glasgow to Troon where I was to join our trimaran for a trip back to Hamble. Some eighteen months later I was able to buy her.. (More like a second marriage than a purchase) Since that time she has competed in numerous races and tours.
She has been driven on many occasions by celebrities Sir Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks and Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams. I have come to regard her as the second lady in my life, always responsive, impeccably mannered, exciting when provoked, gracious lines, totally reliable, not too expensive to maintain, well mannered in traffic but prefers the open road, holds her own in younger company. I guess that there is not much wrong with either...".
The car has been used in a tremendous number of events by Mr Skipworth and his sons Chris and Steve and has been raced for example in the Monaco Historic Grand Prix meeting by Barrie Williams. It has participated in the Mille Miglia Retro, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival Meeting, the Classica Italia, The Woodcote Trophy and has been publicly demonstrated by both Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart in homage to his late brother Jimmy, one of '042's original in-period Ecurie Ecosse drivers.
Amongst all the Ecurie Ecosse Collection cars offered in this Sale, the C-Type 'XKC 042' is the most pure, with the best provenance. It is a particularly important survivor from this charismatic Scottish racing team, and we commend it most highly to the connoisseurial market.
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