A 1953 Jaguar C-Type Works Lightweight, chassis number XKC 052, will be among the headline offerings at the 2015 RM Monterey auction, to be held August 13–15 in California during Monterey Classic Car Week. XKC 052 is the first ever offering of a Works Lightweight example at public auction.
The second of just three factory lightweight C-Types built and clothed entirely in thin-gauge aluminum, XKC 052 boasts a period racing history that includes a fourth place overall finish at the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans, piloted by Peter Whitehead and Ian Stewart. Sold to the Ecurie Ecosse team in late 1953, the C-Type was campaigned throughout the following season, achieving eight victories and numerous additional podium finishes. It made its way to privateer Peter Blond in 1954, who entered the Jaguar in a variety of club races and hill climb events, prior to passing through the collections of several gentleman racers. Martin Morris acquired the car in 1971 and went on to retain it for over 30 years, during which time it received a comprehensive two-year restoration.
XKC 052 has been in the care of its current proprietor since 2001, who commissioned a renewal to 1953 Le Mans specifications and livery, and had the car painted in the Ecurie Ecosse Blue. XKC 052 is expected to garner in excess of $9 million USD when it crosses RM’s Monterey stage in August, a value which would see it establish a new auction record for the marque.
“In the ‘50s, Jaguar not only beat Ferrari, Aston Martin and every other manufacturer at Le Mans, they had a 50 percent chance of winning the race outright every time they hit the track!” said Shelby Myers, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s. “So dominant was their performance, that the C-Type literally sent the other manufacturers back to the drawing board in a panic, scratching their heads. Everything that came before it was antiquated by comparison, and this lightweight works example is one of the very best of the model – with the other two works cars securely in private hands and unlikely to ever be sold, this car’s offering at Monterey could very well be an opportunity that will never repeat itself.”
Terry Larson, Jaguar historian and author of the C-Type and D-Type Registry, added, “Having owned and raced a C-Type for nearly 30 years, I have a profound appreciation for what a truly special car this is. As your best friend on both the road and the track, there is good reason these exceptional Jaguars rarely come up for sale. And with only three lightweights ever built, it is unlikely another example will be offered anytime soon.”
RM Sotheby’s flagship Monterey auction, held during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Week, returns to the Portola Hotel and Monterey Conference Center in downtown Monterey, California, August 13-15. In 2014, the RM event generated $143.4 million in sales to become the highest grossing collector car auction of all time. For more information, visit www.rmsothebys.com or call +1 519 352 4575.
[Source: RM Sotheby’s; photos: Patrick Ernzen]