The legendary D-type Jaguar is to be born again more than 60 years after the last models were produced.
An engineering prototype of the 'new' D-type will be unveiled later today at Rétromobile Paris, with Jaguar Classic then building 25 fully working vehicles at its factory in Warwickshire.
Every aspect of the new D-type will be created to the original specifications, with Jaguar offering short- or long-nose bodywork variants according to customer preference.
The D-type, which was first produced in 1954, is one of the most famous of all sports cars, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in successive years from 1955 to 1957. It was largely designed by Malcolm Sayer, whose aeronautics background helped him craft the vehicle's then-revolutionary aerodynamic design.
The marque had originally planned to build 100 models, but had completed only 75 when it temporarily retired from racing in 1956.
It was working to convert the remaining 25 into road-going XKSS models in 1957 when a fire at the production facility destroyed nine of the vehicles and much of the necessary tooling, and effectively ended the chance of any more D-types being produced at that time.
The new D-types will be meticulously hand-crafted to ensure they closely match the 1955 and 1956 models, with the team at Jaguar Classics using original engineering drawings and records to ensure authenticity.
Clients will be able to choose from either the 1955-specification short-nose or 1956-spec long-nose bodywork, and all will be powered by a six-cylinder XK engine.
The model on show at Salon Rétromobile today will be the 1956 long-nose variant, identifiable by its extended bonnet and distinctive fin behind the driver's head.
Tim Hannig, Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director, said, “The Jaguar D-type is one of the most iconic and beautiful competition cars of all time, with an outstanding record in the world’s toughest motor races. And it’s just as spectacular today.
“The opportunity to continue the D-type’s success story, by completing its planned production run in Coventry, is one of those once-in-a-lifetime projects that our world-class experts at Jaguar Land Rover Classic are proud to fulfil.”
Kev Riches, Jaguar Classic Engineering Manager, said, “Recreating the nine D-type-derived XKSSs was hugely satisfying, and an even bigger technical challenge than the six missing Lightweight E-types, but lessons learned from the XKSS project have given us a head start on the final 25 D-types.
"Each one will be absolutely correct, down to the very last detail, just as Jaguar’s Competitions Department intended.”
Jaguar hasn't revealed a price tag, but don't expect it to come cheap. Original D-types have sold at auction for as much as £9million in recent years, and with only 25 available collectors will likely snap these up before they're even officially onsale.
Still, we can dream.
Jaguar D-types for sale
We don't currently have any D-types in our Classifieds section (well, did you really think we would have?) but you'll find plenty of E-types, XK Series and even a D-Type Evocation. Check them out here