2016 Bonhams Monaco Sale (Press Release: Jaguar C-Type XKC 011 Update)

1952 Jaguar C-Type Sports Racing Chassis XKC011
1952 Jaguar C-Type Sports Racing Chassis XKC011 © Bonhams

A 1952 Jaguar C-Type will be the leading car in the 2016 Bonhams Monaco classic car auction. The running car is an original, unrestored condition. This Jaguar C-Type, UK road-registered ‘POV 114’, is preserved in the condition it was when racing in the 1950s. The car has been in single ownership for the past five decades.

The exact racing history of the car is still being researched, as its chassis may be XKC011 or XKC047. It was long held that chassis XKC 011 was fitted with the body of XKC 047 but more recent research suggests that chassis XKC 047 was re-stamped by Jaguar as XKC 011 before the car was sold to Dunlop as a research vehicle.

Bonhams Monaco 2016 Classic Car Auction

Bonhams forthcoming Monaco Sale on 13 May 2016 will feature the world’s finest as-original, running, long-term preserved ‘time-machine’ Jaguar C-Type, UK road-registered ‘POV 114’.

Bonhams inaugural Monaco Sale will present an exclusive auction of just 40 hand-picked, exceptional motor cars. Timed to coincide with the Monaco Grand Prix Historique.

The venue for this grandest of motoring auctions is the prestigious Fairmont Monte Carlo hotel, overlooking the Grand Prix circuit’s famous ‘Station’ hairpin, scene of so much motor sporting drama.

1952 Jaguar C-Type XKC 011

On January 14, 1955, this outstanding example of Jaguar’s double-Le Mans-winning XK120C design was registered under chassis number ‘XKC 011’, and was sold ex-works to the Dunlop Rubber Company. It survives today in essentially identical specification.

The preceding history of Jaguar’s works team car ‘XKC 011’ embraces the 1952 Le Mans 24-Hours, the 1953 Mille Miglia and Targa Florio, plus a race win at Goodwood, when driven by such Jaguar stalwarts as Sir Stirling Moss, Major Tony Rolt and Peter Walker.

The Jaguar world at large has long accepted a contemporary works team anecdote that a subsequent body swap saw chassis ‘XKC 011’ fitted with the body from sister car ‘XKC 047’, which had itself been campaigned by the Belgian Ecurie Francorchamps team during the 1953 Sports Car World Championship season.

1952 Jaguar C-Type XKC 047

As works prepared, and tended by Jaguar factory team mechanics, ‘XKC 047’ competed in two 1953 24-Hour races – at Le Mans and at Spa-Francorchamps – plus the ADAC 1,000 Kilometers classic at the Nürburgring in Germany. ‘XKC 047′ finished 9th overall in the great French race, co-driven by its formal owner Roger Laurent / Baron Charles de Tornaco. At Spa Laurent shared it with future Ferrari personality Jacques Swaters and at the Nürburgring with Ferrari’s great future three-time Le Mans-winner Olivier Gendebien.

Bonhams’ comprehensive investigation of ‘XKC 011’ (aka ‘POV 114’) to be offered at Monaco, initially revealed evidence identifying its chassis as having been the works team car which substituted at the last moment as the Ecurie Francorchamps entry in the 1954 Le Mans 24-Hour race. After our attention was drawn to other features of the car, further inspection now indicates that such participation is in fact debatable.

Jaguar C-Type XKC 011 = Jaguar XKC 047?

It is therefore probable that ‘XKC 011’ as now offered by Bonhams is not really a split-identity car at all. Present opinion is that it is likely the 1953 car, chassis ‘XKC 047’ – still bearing its original, complete ‘K 1047’ body – subsequently re-stamped ‘XKC 011’ at the factory before delivery to Dunlop in 1955.

‘POV 114’ continued to be maintained by the factory when it served as a test car for Dunlop, and during its club-racing days in the hands of owner-drivers Mike Salmon, Gordon Lee and Robin Sturgess into the 1960s.

It was acquired by the Griffiths family in 1963 and it is to be offered at Monaco direct from this self-same ownership, 53 long years later.

Most significantly, it has been preserved virtually untouched in wonderfully well-patinated ‘time machine’ condition to this day.

James Knight, Group Motoring Director of Bonhams, commented, “Bonhams has been assisted in its investigation regarding this famous Jaguar C-Type by a wealth of experts, and tremendous thanks are due to British Jaguar authority Den Carlow, motoring writer Marc Noordeloos, Jaguar enthusiast Jeremy McChesney, Chris Keith-Lucas of CKL Engineering Ltd, Gary Pearson of Pearsons Engineering, Australian Jaguar authorities Les Hughes and Terry McGrath, and Andrew Tart of Andrew Tart Motor Engineering.

“While officially sold by the Jaguar factory as ‘XKC 011’, the histories of ‘011’ and ‘047’ – which became intertwined during the preceding 1954 Le Mans race period – have baffled any number of Jaguar enthusiasts and historians over the years. These recent collective efforts – most notably with the total support of the long-term owner – are getting closer to unlocking this exciting mystery in this gloriously-preserved old war-horse’s very early life.”

A 1953 Jaguar C-Type Works Lightweight Chassis XKC052 set a marque record when selling for $13,200,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2015 auction. RM Sotheby’s usually have a bi-annual sale in Monaco too, alternating with Villa Erbe / Villa Este on Lake Como in odd years.