Jaguar D-Type (XKD511).
Original photographs of classic racing Jaguars rarely turn up amongst photos of "normal" cars, so when this one dropped out of an envelope recently (with the negative) it had to be added in here. The D-Type in the picture, a shortnose D-Type, is road-registered (TNG 959) and dates to 1955. This photo was taken in the mid-1960s I believe. Originally the Jaguar was finished in BRG (British Racing Green), although by the time of this shot had been through a series of different owners, and was re-painted white, which presumably was the colour when this photo was taken. Note the Jaguar script on the forward edge of the bonnet, something usually seen on the road-going XKSS version.
In the background is a Ford Thames 400E dropside truck, used in some capacity - perhaps as a racing car transporter?
|(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
A check online confirms that TNG 959 bears chassis number XKD 511, and was originally supplied to Mann Egerton. In September of 1955 this
short-nose D-Type Jaguar was sold to Captain Ian B. Baillie, and several years later to M.V. Mackie. It then passed to a James Boothby (see update below), and in the mid-1960s to Guy Griffiths, the motor racing photographer. It went on to be raced by his daughter Penny, and remained in their family ownership until recent times. Where is it now?
More news on this photograph.
A number of years after posting this photograph on OldClassicCar, a visitor to the site (William Wheeler) was kind enough to drop me a line and add in some background information to the above scene, not least being that he appears in it himself, as he now relates:
"A friend of mine recently found your photo of the above car after me
talking about it to him. In the picture there is a schoolboy on the right
hand side looking towards the camera. That's me! Well, I'm 99% certain it
is - friends, family & contemporary photos of myself all say so too.
"Perhaps I might tell you what I know about the car & it's owner:
"Firstly, the photo was probably taken in 1959 or 1960.
It is almost certainly at Goodwood where Jim (James Boothby) did most of
his racing. That's Jim leaning against the car with his back to the camera. I don't
know who he is talking to. I'm sorry but I cannot say exactly when he bought & sold the car but I can
say that it was white for the duration of his ownership. He would have
sold it in the 'mid sixties' as you mention.
"The possible transporter in the background has nothing to do with this car.
Jim drove the car to all race meetings & sometimes I got to ride with him
- presumably on this particular day. I am in school uniform because I was
living at a boarding school in Brighton at the time. Being a passenger in
the D Type was quite an experience because there was no seat - you just sat
on the spare wheel. And when he had a driver-only aero screen fitted you
had to duck down into the cockpit to take a breath at high speed! We
reached 140mph on several occasions - pre-national speed limit of course.
Jim & his wife Sylvia lived in Hassocks, East Sussex.
"The car was actually kept, for much of the time Jim raced it, in the
showroom of Woodbourne Garage on the outskirts of Brighton - displayed with
signs telling of the 5 world speed records that it still held. All
averaging around 175mph.
"I am a little surprised that Fred Rocker (owner of the garage) is not
listed as an owner, because it was always my understanding (as a teenager,
mind) that he may have sponsored Jim and/or the car in some way. Fred could never even sit in it,
let alone race it, due to him having lost both his legs in the war. Anyway, whatever it was he did, it was done to keep
Jim & the car on the race track. That's a true enthusiast for you! Fred himself used to tear around in a Vauxhall
Victor VX4/90 (he was a Vauxhall dealer) converted to hand controls. I probably should have explained also that
James Boothby worked as a salesman at Woodbourne garage, where my mother ran the spares department.
"Just to explain my own connection to the car; my late mother, Mary Wheeler (founder of the British Women Racing Drivers' Club) was a very close friend of Jim & his wife. At this time she was racing a TVR Grantura Mk1.
Thanks for much for getting in touch, being of school age and getting the chance to ride in a D-Type on the open road must have been fantastic.
Children in the 1950s could often be found playing with toy D-Types, such was their popularity at the time. Some die-cast toys were offered (eg those by Dinky and Crescent), as well as friction-drive plastic examples, such as those shown on this page of the site.
Return to Page 11 in the vintage car motoring gallery.
Other sporting Jaguars on the site include the wonderful CUT 7 lightweight E-Type, and S1 E-Type roadster BUY 1.