This Jaguar D-Type Lynx Recreation Is My Personal Dream Car
Photography by Ted Gushue
D-Types are unicorns. There’s effectively none of them, but science can’t entirely rule them out. Now, I’m no scientist, but this unicorn is as real as it gets. Paul Martin is a set designer for big budget commercials by day, and an obsessively detailed recreationist by night. He’s commissioned a Peter Brock blessed Shelby Daytona (that we’ll be profiling at a later date) and this gorgeous example of a long nose, pre-wing, 1955 FIA legal D-Type.
To spend a few minutes with it, was, as you’d expect, awesome.
Ted Gushue: All right, Paul, tell me the story of your Jaguar D-Type.
Paul Martin: The Jag was commissioned three years ago, it’s a recreation of a 1955 Le Mans Jaguar D-Type. The body style is actually right before they went to the built-in aerodynamic fin in ’56, so we have a short-nosed rear of the car and a long-nosed front, which makes for what I consider the perfect D-Type silhouette.
The car is full FIA-spec. It’s all built on original Jaguar running gear. We have a dry sump engine. We have a Jag box, Jag rear, Jag brakes. The car’s built around an aluminum monocoque. It’s all period correct. It is, in fact, a tool room copy of the original car.
TG: What does that mean, ’tool room’?
PM: The expression means it’s absolutely correct, as if the original guys were in the tool room, grabbing the tools off the bench. It’s a sort of standard term they’re using for perfect replicas now. It took about two-and-a-half years to build. It was built by a company in England, Phil and Ollie Cottrell. It’s just a father and son team. They’re both ex-Jaguar racing mechanics.
TG: How did you choose them and not, let’s say, the guys from Eagle or the other guys that were around? What made you choose these guys?
PM: These guys originally built my C-Type I commissioned four years previous, and I was so impressed with their build and their attention to detail. That’s why I picked them to build the D-Type. They managed to get their hands on the very last remaining Lynx body because they’re actually making their own D-Types now. This was one of the last Lynx bodies, which was a very, very well-built…
TG: Tell me about Lynx.
PM: Lynx was really viewed as being the best D-Type out there. They’re commanding pretty high prices, six-figure prices, even today. Their cars were originally based on E-Types, and then they went to full FIA-spec cars. You’ll see a lot of them actually racing in historics. Quite a few of these will be Lynx FIA cars. They were just incredibly accurate and very, very well made. That’s the story of the body and chassis on the car.
TG: Very cool. Why D-Type? It seems like a silly question, but I imagine you could have had your choice in exquisite recreations no?.
PM: I was captivated by the Mike Hawthorn black and white films. Most people have seen this incredible film of in-car footage of Mike Hawthorn, going round Le Mans. The cockpit, when I first got in one of these cars, it was like sliding into a Spitfire. It envelops you. You have these period correct, analog rev counter and speedometer. You’re wrapped in there with a Plexiglass windscreen. You’ve nothing but a huge aluminum hood in front of you. I think it’s probably the closest you could get to driving a Spitfire on the road.
I think it’s an absolutely beautiful car. It’s iconic. That along with having owned a C-Type, it was the natural progression. I’ve also done an E, so one could say I went backwards.
TG: Have you tracked it yet?
PM: Nope. The car’s relatively new to me, so we’ve just got it into California. This is really about its third trip out.
TG: What a great future it has ahead of it!