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Jaguar C-Type

1951 - 1953 Jaguar C-Type

1951 - 1953 Jaguar C-Type High Resolution Exterior
- image 636439
  • Jaguar C-Type
  • Year:
    1951- 1953
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-6
  • Transmission:
    4-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    210
  • 0-60 time:
    8 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    140 mph
  • 0-100 time:
    20 sec.
  • car segment:
  • body style:

It was 1950, and the postwar sports car racing scene was beginning to heat up. In some ways the scene wasn’t too different from now: the only way to be taken seriously as a purveyor of sporty vehicles was to go racing. Jaguar’s lovely XK120 was in the performance spotlight, thanks to its 120-mph top speed making it the fastest production vehicle of its day, and so it was only natural that the car hit the track.

Three nearly stock XK120s entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1950, modified by the factory but helmed by private drivers. The cars were reasonably successful, with one getting as high as second place before retiring while running third, and the other two finishing 12th and 15th. William Lyons, managing director of Jaguar, was impressed with the showing, and speculated that with a more rigid body and a significant weight drop, the cars would be even more competitive. The key to racing success was a dramatic makeover. Jaguar designed an aerodynamic lightweight body over a tube-frame chassis, retuned the engine, transmission and front suspension, and the XK120C, later known simply as the C-Type, was born.

Three C-Types entered Le Mans in 1951, and one of them won the race outright. Jaguar set record race speeds along the way. A more ambitious effort in 1952 fell flat, but in 1953 Jaguar won Le Mans again, with its three entries coming in first, second and fourth. The effort was more impressive because of Jaguar’s low-key approach; the factory team didn’t show up with a lot of fancy equipment like Ferrari or Alfa Romeo, and quietly went out and beat the established marques. This racing success didn’t just cement Jaguar’s reputation as a force to be reckoned with on the track; it also catapulted Jaguar to international fame. The C-Type is arguably responsible for Jaguar’s legendary status. A total of 53 C-types were produced from 1951 to 1953, and replicas are still being built today.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jaguar C-Type.

 

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