In the early 1950s, Jaguar took the world by storm with the introduction of its magnificent twin-cam inline six-cylinder “XK” engine. The brilliant design brought race-bred technology to the masses, thanks to Sir William Lyons’s ability to balance outright performance with volume-production affordability. While it powered the entire range of Jaguar automobiles, it was in the XK120 sports car where the new engine first shone brightest, taking the club-racing world by storm, particularly in the white-hot US market. But Jaguar’s ambitions went beyond club racing, and Lyons wanted to prove his engine on the international stage, setting his sight on the greatest prize of all – victory in the Le Mans 24 Hour race.
It took an extraordinary car to win the world’s toughest motor race, and Jaguar delivered that with the stunning new C-Type. Based loosely on the XK120, the C-Type featured a highly-tuned version of the same twin-cam inline-six used in the production cars and the world’s first application of four-wheel disc brakes, which were pioneered on WWII-era aircraft. The lightweight tubular chassis was wrapped in a gorgeous, svelte skin designed by Jaguar aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, and it was an instant hit. In 1951, the C-Type won Le Mans on its first attempt and punctuated that with another win in 1953, catapulting Jaguar to the top of the sports car world.
Jaguar built just 52 C-Types, and they are among the most prized collector cars in the world, with values stretching into seven figures. Thankfully, the average enthusiast who lusts for the raw driving experience and aching beauty of a Jaguar C-Type has a more reasonably priced alternative in the form of a replica or recreation. Several companies have produced C-Type replicas through the years, but few are as widely respected as the cars built in England by Proteus. From the early 1980s, they sold kits based on the Jaguar saloon underpinnings with aluminum or fiberglass bodies. By the end of the decade, Proteus had refined its formula, becoming the premier manufacturer of C-Type replicas worldwide, shifting away from kits and toward bespoke, ground-up builds for individual clients. Utilizing hand-formed aluminum coachwork over a specially constructed chassis closely matching the original design, Proteus cars exude the purity and spirit of the C-Type, with enhanced refinement and reliability for the ultimate high-performance driving experience.
Finished in the quintessential livery of dark British Racing Green over a suede green leather cockpit, this Proteus C-Type is a highly desirable, alloy-bodied example with 3.8-litre XK power. According to a previous custodian, Proteus confirmed this car arrived in the USA in the late 80s or early 90s. The owner of a genuine C-Type commissioned the build as he desired the authentic driving experience for rallies and tours without risking damage to his massively valuable original. This car is authentically detailed with covered headlamps, cut-down windscreen with adjustable Brooklands screens behind, Le Mans-style filler cap, and silver painted wire wheels shod with period-style Vredestein Sprint Classic tires. The dark green paint is beautifully finished, with a rich luster that captures the undulations and curves of the alloy bodywork.
Cockpit finishes mirror those of the original C-Type, with suede green leather bucket seats, silver-painted floors and chassis tubes, and a black Hardura providing a modicum of insulation on the transmission tunnel. Beneath the clamshell bonnet sits a 3.8-litre inline-six breathing through twin S.U. carbs with trumpet intakes. The driving position is superb, and steering via the four-spoke wheel is light and beautifully direct. Period-style Smiths instruments monitor engine vitals, and the power goes through a Jaguar four-speed gearbox with added Laycock overdrive on 3rd and 4th gears, allowing for effortless high-speed cruising. Four-wheel disc brakes and a well-located live rear axle ensure surefooted road manners. The engine compartment and mechanical components are all very well detailed, and the car shows a pleasing character from moderate use.
The Jaguar C-Type is a motoring masterpiece that only a few lucky collectors can aspire to own, and while this Proteus costs a mere fraction of the original, it is beautifully crafted and a joy to drive, paying faithful tribute to the iconic original.
Please note titled as a 1966 Jaguar
Offers welcome and trades considered