The latest look back at old classified advertisements features a 1952 Jaguar C-Type offered for sale in a 1962 issue of Road & Track for $3,500.
The Jaguar C-Type is a racing car built by Jaguar and sold from 1951 to 1953. Its aerodynamic body was designed by Malcolm Sayer, its lightweight, multi-tubular, triangulated frame designed by Bob Knight. A total of 52 were built. The “C” designation stood for Competition, there being no A- or B-Type Jaguars.
Mechanically, the C-Type used a modified running gear of the contemporary Jaguar XK120 sports car. The twin-cam, straight-6 engine was tuned to around 205 bhp rather than 160 to 180 bhp of the road car. The custom, tubular chassis and aluminum body-panels, along with the elimination of all creature-comforts, helped the car to shed nearly 1,000 lb compared to a comparable Jaguar road-car. The later C-Types were more powerful, using triple twin-choke Weber carburetors and high-lift camshaft. They were also lighter and carried better brakes, by means of all-round disc brakes.
The Jaguar C-Type won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race at its first attempt in 1951, driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead. Stirling Moss also drove one of the cars, but retired after running very strongly. In 1952, Jaguar, worried by reports of the speed of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, modified the aerodynamics to increase the top speed. However, this necessitated a rearrangement of the car’s cooling system, and subsequently all three entries retired due to overheating. In 1953, the car won Le Mans again, in a lightened, more powerful configuration, driven by Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt. This victory marked the first time the race had been won at an average of over 100 mph (105.85 mph). In 1954, the C-Type’s final year at Le Mans, the Ecurie Francorchamps entry driven by Roger Laurent and Jacques Swaters finished in fourth place.
This particular Jaguar C-Type, believed to be chassis number XKC-013, had a brief racing history in the United States, but with no significant wins. It is advertised as being in “excellent condition” and the seller offers to trade up or down for a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing or a Lincoln Mark II Continental. Which one is up and which is down?
The Cars That Matter January – April 2009 price guide suggests a $2,800,000 – $4,500,000 price range for a Jaguar C-Type. If you bought the C-Type in 1962, then your investment would have returned approximately 16% over 45 years.