There’s this age-old discussion whether valuable cars should be stored carefully without risking scratches on the bodywork, or driven - and even abused - so the driver gets as much fun as possible out of his purchase. In this particular Jag’s case, ‘abused’ can be taken quite literally. It was bought by a Finnish tennis player, Curt Lincoln, one year after the factory team car won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1955. Although this car was only one out of 54 made, he didn’t exactly treat it with as much care as most people would.
Take for example ice racing. Ever since mankind has had the car, they’ve been racing it on ice. It has always been very popular in the Scandinavian countries, and Mr Lincoln was a big fan of the yearly ice race organised in the heart of Helsinki. Having just bought this fast new car and given he was already a pretty good driver, the only logical thing to do was place some studs on the tires and try his luck, of course! Now, for those who don’t know what ice racing looks like, I found this interesting video of how it looked in the sixties. Now imagine doing that in a very rare car with 300hp going to the rear wheels. Must’ve been one hell of a thrill.
After a few years of racing on Finland’s icy lakes, performance was starting to suffer. The car was sent back to Britain, where the engine was replaced and the carburettors were given an overhaul. One year later it was sold to a magazine publisher and the car’s racing career continued, up until 1966 when the Jag was not deemed competitive enough and it was sold to an English collector.
That’s where it all went downhill for this car. At the time, completely restoring the car was too expensive for what it was worth, so the body, engine and transmission were taken off the chassis and sold. A new body and drivetrain was bolted on the chassis and the cars continued their journeys in two different directions. However, in the mid-90s a controversy arose. Both cars were stamped with the ‘XKD 530’ chassis number of the original car, so no one knew which car was the original. A few years later, both cars were bought by a restoration company in the UK and by noting every single part number, they reconstructed the original car which you can see here (and buy, if you’re interested - it’s for sale at RM Auctions Amelia Island event.)
The D-type’s design was revolutionary at the time, an elliptical shape both reduced drag and added torsional rigidity, the iconic stabilizing fin at the back, and innovative all-round disc brakes. If it wasn’t for some problems with the fuel filters it may well have won the 1954 Le Mans too, considering its top speed was almost 20 kmh higher (278 kmh|173 mph) than the winning Ferrari 375 that year. Even though it won only once, its biggest victory is the classic design language that will live on forever.