Monterey Auction Highlight: Ex-Phil Hill Jaguar C-Type
It’s strange how the D-Type seems to overshadow the memory of the C. Even here in the States, where the excitement of the Ecurie Ecosse team’s achievements was more distant. For me, the C-Type is the very epitome of the 1950s big boys. It’s important to remember that, particularly in the States, sportscars were an extreme rarity, and in 1952 here comes a proper-built racing car. This example is coming available as part of RM Auctions’ Sports & Classics of Monterey auction.
I’d like to give credit to Jaguar for predicting the coming wave of popularity on American road racing. The truth, though is that the credit belongs to Jag’s Beverly Hills dealer, Charles Hornburg, who convinced the boys back in Coventry that some race wins stateside would increase road car sales. This very car was the first to arrive on US shores. Once here, it was driven straight to Elkhart Lake, WI to be driven by Phil Hill in the last street course race before Road America was built.
The race for the Sheldon Cup was a bit of a nail-biter, but ultimately Phil Hill took the victory after a nice battle with Phil Walters’ Ferrari. That win made this car, chassis XKC-007, the first C-Type to win a race on American soil.
C-Types are incredibly striking machines, and an ex-Phil Hill example is even more impossibly valuable. Phil Hill probably said it best when reminiscing about this car: “I was just in awe of the C-Type when I first stepped into it. When I look back on it now, it makes me smile. The steering was light – almost scary light. It was the first car I ever drove that had a really precise feel about it – it really felt like a racing car.”
More photos and information on the auction’s lot details page.
Update: This car set a new record price for a C-Type at auction by selling for a top bid of $2,530,000. Yowza.