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Step aboard of a real D-type


Step aboard of a real D-type
Wow! Moss Green is selling a Jaguar D-type. And it’s not – we repeat – it is not a replica / evocation/ tribute / elaboration / recreation / sanction II or Sanction III car. This is the genuine thing with chassis number XKD510, built in September 1955 and making it the tenth car being fabricated. It was finished in British Racing Green livery and registered YPC 614 in Surrey. And what happened between then and now is not something to mention in two or three lines. We’ll try and give the shortest possible sum-up of its past with all the owners it had.

On January 10th 1956 the car was sold by Jaguar dealer John Coombs of Guildford to Dr. Richard Wilkins of Bishops Stortford, who swiftly sold it to Duncan Hamilton, who was of course a Le Mans veteran and an experienced D-type racer. Under Hamilton’s wings the car was entered in a number of Grand Prix’ and other races. Things went wrong when he loaned the car to Tony Dennis who was not so much experienced. Dennis crashed fatally by selecting first gear at high speed at the Goodwood Easter meeting in April 1956 in which there were five D-Types competing, including Hamilton driving another. ‘XKD 510’ was then purchased by Gerald Ashmore of West Bromwich, who rebuilt the car using a factory original replacement monocoque. He painted it maroon and campaigned it heavily for the next three seasons throughout the UK. Next owner, Neville Taylor of Sheffield, did the same for the next three years although he used the car on the roads too – in yellow. Next two owners were the Jaguar importers in Singapore and racer Yong Nam Kee, who’d won the inaugural Malaysia Grand Prix but had no luck in the D-type. During the Johor GP on 1 September 1963, he was killed when he was overtaking another car, which moved across his path, causing him to crash on the 58th lap, whilst lying second to the eventual winner.

It then took four years before John Hallihan bought it in 1967 and took it to Australia. There, Ian Cummins took it over in 1975 and restored it once again. In 1982 it was auctioned and went to racer Bib Stilwell, who took it to America. Bob Baker of Nebraska became the owner in 1987 and Aston Martin-boss Victor Gauntlett shortly after him. Former owner Ian Cummins re-purchased it together with Chris Haigh in 1988 and brought it back to Australia. In 1997 Warren Daly of Sydney took it over and it was sold once more to an unknown buyer over a decade later. And here it is now.

With two heavy crashes and at least three restorations many will ask what’s still original. Well, according to the auctioneer: “The tub was re-skinned using XKD 526 as a pattern. XKD 510 is confirmed as having its original bonnet, tail section, engine, gearbox, Dunlop knock-off alloy wheels drilled for lightness and brake cooling, steering and suspension, together with many other original parts including the rare original Plessey pump.” Not so bad for a car with such a chequered history after all?

(Words editor, picture MossGreen)

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