Factories at Work: Jaguar D-Type
I always assumed that the D-Type was never a full production model. I know they made a few dozen of them, but assumed they were fairly coachbuilt one-offs. This picture sure seems to indicate otherwise.
The panels were supplied by Abbey Panels of Coventry and shipped over to the factory itself to be assembled in the factory alongside XK140s and MK VIII sedans. These shots are from late ’55/early ’56 shortly before the factory was nearly flattened by fire in 1957, so this is indeed a rare view of the Coventry facility.
Just look at them all. This could easily be described as a D-Type assembly line; albeit a non-mechanized one. Fantastic.
Ahh, British industrial efficiency in full view. Sorta explains why the ’72 TR-6 is so prone to random failure (above and beyond that five letter name British car enthusiasts refuse to speak out of fear).
Very cool. I count about 14 of them in the line. Do we have an official number on how many were built? I’d be interested to know what percentage of all D-Types built are shown in this picture.
The D-Type was second at Le mans in 1954 and first in 1955, 1956 (Ecurie Ecosse) and 1957 (Ecurie Ecosse). In October 1956, Jaguar announced its retirement from motor racing. The original production batch was 67 cars; at this time only 42 were sold, and jaguar decided to convert the remaining ones to produce the XKSS. 16 had been converted when, in Feb. 1957, a fire at the factory destroyed the remaining ones. A famous owner from a KXSS was Steve McQueen. You can discover some still alive on http://www.coventryracers.com
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[…] of unhappy cogs meaninglessly turning bolts. I’m exaggerating of course, but look at this earlier shot of D-Types being built and tell me which facility you’d rather work […]
Just imagine to think the d type that my dad used to go for rides in during the 60s could well be in this photo. This was owned by a local business man named Clive Unsworth; the car in question – MWS 303 – was one of the Ecurie Ecosse, short-nosed versions which had no tail fin. It was bought back then for about £1500. Hard to imagine what it’ll be worth now. This is the car that got him hooked on classic sports cars. He’ll never forget the power of it pushing him back in the seat with the excellaration.
Forever one of the most beautiful racers ever built.