Late 1950 William Lyons commissioned works engineering director William Heynes to design a new car based upon the successful XK120, along with its reliable XK straight six 3.4litre engine, the C Type was created utilising many of the reliable features of the XK120, with its new low slung aluminium body on lightened tubular and box channel steel chassis and its XK engine improved to output 260bhp producing a top speed of 151 mph being assisted by the lighter chassis by 450kg and removal of all production car niceties the XK120C was born.
Considering the short production and preparation period three of the new C Type Jaguars were entered in the June 1951 Le Mans 24-hour race, team drivers Moss, Fairman, Whitehead, Walker, Johnson and Biondetti lined up to start, however after a great start and a quarter of the race run two cars were retired of Moss and Biondetti, however all not lost Whitehead and Walker endured on and won in the cars first outing by a considerable margin, this winning C Type set a record average speed of 93.50 mph, with Stirling Moss setting a lap record at 105.24mph, victory seen as a great relief to William Lyons although with two of his cars retired it was not seen as weakness to its design, Walker and Whitehead wearing the Laurels!!
The XK120C ventured on to further wins at Le Mans, Mille Miglia and other classic victories. A total of 53 cars were produced by Jaguar ending production in 1953 only 43 went into private ownership, many of these survive today and in private ownership in its height of production XK120C sold for £2,327 today these original cars one would expect to pay in excess of
£500,000, a car with racing provenance don’t leave home for the auction with less than £2M. in a very large envelope and a limit free card just in case!