It’s proving to be a big year for the C-Type — which is impressive, considering Jaguar stopped making them in 1953. But now, over half a century down the road, the British brand’s racing sports car is enjoying a well-earned, if somewhat unexpected resurgence.
Last week, Jaguar itself announced that it would be producing a strictly limited production run of new C-type Continuation cars; a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the legendary racer. But, mere days before that revelation, historic British racing marque Ecurie Ecosse made an announcement of its own.
To honour the success of the original car in their own, singularly Scottish way (the C-Type, between 1951 and 1955, won Ecurie Ecosse 59 podium places) the Edinburgh-based race team will be creating seven continuation cars; a model newly named the ‘Ecurie Ecosse LM-C’. And boy, are they something to behold.
In Ecurie Ecosse’s iconic blue and white racing livery — perfectly recreated down to hand-airbrushed shield symbols — the new septet of sportsters will retain all the key elements that contributed to the roaring success of the 1950s Jaguar.
But there will be several ‘improvements’, too. The timeless aerodynamic shape of the car will remain — the C-Type, designed by Malcolm Sayer, was the first ever car honed in a wind tunnel — and its body will still be crafted from thin-gauge aluminium alloy mounted to a steel space frame chassis. But it’ll be wider and stiffer than before — and laser-cut for improved accuracy.
The sonorous Jaguar XK straight-six is also making a rowdy reappearance — albeit with capacity increased from the original 3.4-litre twin-cam to a more substantial 4.2 litres. Throw in fuel injection, and these bright blue continuations will put out an impressive 300bhp.
The suspension will be treated to an overdue upgrade, along with the disc brakes (another first; the original C-Type was the test bed for Dunlop’s revolutionary disc brakes back in the 50s). Ecurie Ecosse will also introduce a five-speed manual gearbox to maximise acceleration and top speed — a figure the historic racing team claim will give the LM-C a maximum speed of over 150mph.
The first of Ecurie Ecosse’s seven continuation cars (the one you see here) was recently completed — and can be viewed at the brand’s Henley-on-Thames dealership, Hofmann’s. And, if you are lucky enough to see it in person, the project’s arduous attention to detail becomes even clearer.
The aluminium bucket seats are hand-crafted and clad in supple blue leather by Crest. The car’s original timekeeping kit has been replaced with TAG Heuer ‘Master Time’ stopwatches on the dashboard. And those shields we mentioned above? They add a perfectly understated hint of motoring heritage to these newer, more reliable models.
But the best part of all? Unlike Jaguar’s official C-Type continuations — which are likely to cost northwards of £1 million each, the Ecurie Ecosse LM-C is flying across the finish line at £430,000. It’s still not exactly a steal — but we know which we’d go for…
Want more classic cars? Follow Gentleman’s Journal as we enter the Mille Miglia 2020…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.