One of only two red Jaguar D-Types ever produced and bought new from the former chief executive of the Formula One Group, Bernie Ecclestone has sold for £3,983,454 on 22 January 2021.
Chassis no. XKD 518 was built and subsequently delivered to Henlys of Manchester where the curvaceous and already rare D-Type stood out from the usual British Racing Green or Ecurie Ecosse Blue by sporting a flamboyant red overcoat with an interior trimmed to match perfectly.
Whilst it’s difficult to be 100% sure how many red versions were built at the Jaguar’s Coventry works, the figure is said to be as little as 2 or maximum 3 examples. Why the unexpected colour was ever chosen is a mystery to even the well informed with various anecdotes stating this was Jaguar’s way of trying to break into the Italian racing sector.
Spotted on the forecourt by a certain then car dealer Mr Ecclestone, who was said to be intrigued by the car so much he bought it from Henly’s and then, as usual, flipped a profit, selling it to racer Peter Blond for £3500. A distinguished racing career led to Blond taking victory at Snetterton in June 1956, along with another first at Snetterton in September. Other appearances in busy 1956 and 1957 seasons included Aintree, Silverstone, Oulton Park, and Goodwood, where Blond competed in the Goodwood Trophy race and finished ninth.
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Blond then sold the car to Jonathan Sieff in August 1957 who continued to race the car with Blond, who, in 1959′ sold to the car to Monty Mostyn of Speedwell Garage, and after a brief period in the hands of John Houghton, it was acquired by racer Jean Bloxham. Bloxham brought the car to Goodwood in March and April of 1961 and raced the car at Silverstone in May, finishing third in one of her outings.
XKD 518 returned to John Houghton in around 1962, and around 1967 it was sold on to John Coombs and Richard Wilkins. Under the care of its next owner, Clive Lacey, it attended the first International E-type Day at Donington Park in 1974. Following Lacey, this D-Type was purchased by Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant.
The car originally sported no tailfin behind the usual head-restraint and had a narrow windscreen – both have which been changed for competition reasons with a full-width windscreen and tailfin fitted at a later date.
The Ecclestone Jaguar was previously offered at Gooding & Company Scottsdale auction in 2018 but unfortunately failed to reach its $10,000,000 – $12,000,000 reserve, with a final bid of $8.8 million refused by the vendor.
The remarkable Jaguar D-Type took its place in the RM Sotheby’s Arizona Online Sale 22 January 2021 with an estimate of $5,750,000 – $7,500,000.
Images courtesy RM Sotheby’s