Today I sat in a Jaguar D-type ‘long nose’.
I felt lucky!
This Jaguar D-Type carries the registration 393 RW. It is also known as chassis XKD 605 and it belongs to the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust. It can be seen at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, UK.
Jaguar D-Type ‘long nose’
This Jaguar is the penultimate D-Type ‘long nose’ produced in 1956 by Jaguar. It has a racing heritage: 12-hours of Reims, 24-hours of Le Mans and the 12-hours Sebring.
In spite of being from 1956, it is worth mentioning that this D-Type has an aerodynamic fin behind the driver, an aluminium chassis and fuel infection. This first mechanic fuel injection had the drawback of not holding the pressure. So when the driver would raise his foot from the accelerator and then down again, there would be a certain lag before the fuel pressure built up and the engine responded.
The fin is not the only aerodynamic touch. If you have a chance to look closer at the car, you will be able to notice that the rivets holding the body parts together are also flushed to reduce the drag.
Also when the driver is alone, the passenger compartment can be closed with the help of a panel to improve again the aerodynamics of the car.
Getting behind the wheel
There is a rather unusual way of getting in: after opening and lifting up the small door, one has to stand on the seat and then slide its legs under the wheel. Otherwise, the angle and the slippery floor could cause you some kind of accident if you have not yet dislocated your hip by then. So I did follow the recommendation, although feeling guilty of standing on the seat of such an old and famous (and worthy) car.
The sitting position is really comfortable. That statement has to be put in the context of race cars. But, for example, I felt much more at ease than when sitting in the 25-years old only Jaguar XJ220. The relative comfort can be explained as a necessary feature to be able to drive the D-Type in endurance races.
The clutch is not progressive at all. It is more of a on/off switched actuated by your left foot. It is the hardest racing clutch I ever tried. I guess one gets used to it, but just trying to change a few gears while the car was standing still and I was sweating already.
As inferred by the name of the car, the nose of the D-Type is very long and when sitting behind the wheel the driver cannot see the end of the bonnet.
The D-type is a sought model for collectors. Recently one D-type was auctioned for more than £16 million, auction fees not included (usually around 15%). This Jaguar D-Type is speculated to be more around the £7 million mark. Only time, collectors and a hammer could tell how much this Jaguar D-Type is worth, if it was ever to be sold.