In The Clearing Stands A Jaguar C-Type
Photography by Nigel Harniman
Of all the cars I’ve shot over the years, I have a particular soft spot for Jaguars. I’ve followed the historic Jaguar marque for many years, and was asked to shoot the RD6 concept a while ago and meet Ian Callum’s design team, which was very inspiring. I then went on to shoot the XF concept and many other production models for Jaguar directly.
But of all the Jags, I have a penchant for the E-Types, D-Types, and C-Types. While the E- and D-Types are a thing of rare beauty, getting up close to an original C-Type is like coming across a rare Turner or Rembrandt—with a price tag to match!
So when an engineering friend of mine, Andrew Tart, called to say he was working on an original C-Type Jaguar with more history than Joan Collins just 3 miles from my house, I was already banging on his door before he’d put the phone down.
Andrew’s workshop is like an Aladdin’s cave of historic racing cars, some complete, others in pieces. As well as the C-Type, on show were two Lotus 15s driven by Graham Hill, a Lotus 17 and 18/21 Lotus Grand Prix car, as well as incredibly rare Formula Junior Bond racing cars designed and built by Lawrence Bond. I’ve seen a lot of historic marques, but seldom had the pleasure of catching so many classics under one small roof at once.
For the time being, though, let’s focus on Penny Woodley’s Jaguar C Type.
Jaguar built only 53 C-Types and entered 3 of them for the 24 Hours of Le Mans races from 1951-53, and I was now staring at one of them: chassis no XKC011. Stirling Moss drove it and said it was one of his favourite cars!
Andrew’s been working on it now and again for some 15 years, and as a card-carrying petrolhead, he knows the history of this beautiful old car like the back of his hand. So I’ll let him take up the story:
“After Le Mans in ’53, it was loaned to Belgian racing team Ecurie Francorchamps who painted it yellow and raced it at Rheims and Zandvoort, where it won first place. It later broke a few records at the Shelsey Walsh Hill Climb, among others. The present owner’s father bought it in 1963, and painted it back to its original green.
“There have been a lot of replicas built, but you can see this is an original and although it looks like a heavy car it’s actually extremely light. The doors have no weight to them, and the whole body is thin aluminium. With very little work, both the front and rear panels can be removed, you can then see that it is a strong, light space frame chassis.
“It’s competed in all aspects of motor sport. Circuit racing, both endurance and sprint races; hill climbing and road rallying, and it does it all extremely well. Original cars like this carry a premium value, ensuring you will always be invited to the prestigious meetings well before the cars without history and or the replica’s.”
I wanted to give the C-Type a good makeover, so I asked Andrew to drive it a few yards from the workshop to photograph it and bring it to life. I wanted it set in the late afternoon wintry sunshine; low light and long shadows…
Editor’s note: This story is a shortened version of the original posted on Nigel’s website. Head there for a bit more on the car, including a huge list of period racing results. You can also follow Nigel on Instagram.