Long one of the most coveted of luxury car brands, Jaguar has been a perennial favourite among vintage vehicle aficionados and petrolheads alike. Of the many marvellous creations to bear the illustrious feline badge, the D-Type is particularly revered – not only for its enviable contours, but also on account of its remarkable racing pedigree.
It will therefore not surprise those in the know that a 1955-built Jaguar D-Type recently sold for a cool US$21.78 million, smashing the previous record for a British-built car sold at auction by almost US$7.5 million. At the Sotheby’s sale in Monterey, four bidders battled it out for a tense 15 minutes in a race to take possession of the automotive ace. With a chassis number of XKD 501, it was the very car that won the prestigious 24 hour Le Mans race in 1956. Still bearing its original blue and white racing finish, the XKD 501 is first past the post as far as collectible classics are concerned. In addition to its race-winning provenance, this particular mechanical marvel has also been meticulously restored and maintained, serviced by four keen caretakers.
While the D-Type set a new auction record, making it officially the seventh most expensive car ever sold, the Monterey auction saw another record – the most expensive American car sold at auction. This particular title was taken by a Shelby Cobra, sold for US$13.75 million. Together with the takings for the Jaguar, that totals some US$35.5 million. Not one of Sotheby’s worst days then.