1956 | Jaguar D-Type
Vehicle detailsVehicle data
Make Jaguar Model D-Type Model name D-Type Year of manufacture 1956 Condition category Restored Body style Convertible Body detail Racing car Power (kw/hp) 186/253 Cubic capacity (ccm) 3,442 Cylinders 6 Steering Right (RHD) Transmission Manual Drive Rear Fuel Petrol Exterior colour Black Interior colour Black Interior material Others
- 1956 Jaguar D-Type – XKD 526
- The only D-Type to have been raced with a hard-top roof in period
- Retains its original period hard top
- Restored by marque experts CKL developments ltd in 2019
- Delivered new to Australia where it was extensively and successfully campaigned in 1956 – 1962
- The subject of a dedicated Porter Press book on the car
- Eligible for Mille Miglia, Goodwood, Classic Le Mans and so much more
Although Jaguar can trace its roots back to the early 1920s, its sporting foundations were really established with its run of success at Le Mans during the 1950s. Having won the 24-hour endurance classic in 1951 and 1953 with its C-type, Jaguar then scored a hat-trick of victories in 1955, 1956 and 1957 with the iconic D-type.
But while those landmark results at La Sarthe are still rightly feted more than 60 years later, the D-type won all over the world – from Sebring and Reims to Nassau and Ardmore. It was driven by the greatest racers of the time, such as Stirling Moss and Mike Hawthorn, as well as by talented privateers, and achieved its success despite fierce opposition from rivals such as Mercedes-Benz, Maserati and Ferrari. It’s not surprising that it has become one of the most coveted of all sports-racing cars.
The D-type’s story begins in the early post-war years, when Jaguar’s small engineering team came up with a 3441cc, twin-overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine that was originally intended for use in a range of saloon cars. When it first appeared at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show, however, it was fitted into a brand-new sports car that caused an absolute sensation – the XK 120.
This ground-breaking model became an international success story and was particularly instrumental in establishing Jaguar in the USA, but it was also a superb competition car. An exploratory outing to Le Mans in 1950 with a trio of XK 120s led to a return the following year with the newly developed XK 120C – better known as the C-type. Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead famously took victory, and two years later a second win followed courtesy of Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt.
The C-type had been designed by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, who had previously worked for the Bristol Aeroplane Company and brought with him a number of ideas from the aircraft industry. His distinctive way of plotting a car’s shape involved creating a set of co-ordinates, almost like an analogue version of computer-aided design, and he used this method for both the C-type and its illustrious successor.
Intended to continue the marque’s run of success at Le Mans, the D-type was introduced in 1954, when five cars were built – all for the factory team. Sayer had come up with a sublime shape, but there was cutting-edge engineering to go with the eye-catching beauty. Some of the C-type’s most notable features were carried over, such as its revolutionary disc brakes and rubber bag tanks, but the D-type added alloy wheels, a monocoque tub and – on later cars – fuel injection. The XK engine gained dry-sump lubrication and was carried in a front subframe to which the suspension and the steering system were mounted.
Development of the D-type continued throughout its period racing life, even after Jaguar itself had officially withdrawn from motorsport after the 1956 season. Sayer produced the ‘long nose’ body for the 1955 Le Mans cars, which also benefited from the more powerful ‘wide angle’ cylinder head, and for 1957 the engine capacity was increased from 3.4 litres to 3.8 litres, by which time a fuel-injection system had also been developed.
In addition to the works cars, Jaguar built a total of 67 D-types for private customers, of which 42 were sold; the remainder were either destroyed in the disastrous 1957 Browns Lane fire or converted into XKSSs. The ‘production’ D-types were sold all over the world and remained competitive into the 1960s, helping to cement the model’s reputation as perhaps the definitive sports-racing car of its time.
XKD 526 MODEL HISTORY
Only three of the Jaguar D-type were sold new to Australia, and XKD 526 was the first of them. Brisbane dealership Westco was run by the Anderson family and had been a Jaguar agent since 1947. A letter to the Jaguar factory dated 15 April 1955 shows that they were looking forward to taking delivery of the D-type that had been allocated to them, but it was September before XKD 526 was tested at MIRA by Les Bottrill, and not until 13 October did it leave Browns Lane, bound for Brisbane via Liverpool docks. It was fitted with engine number E2042-9 and body number 2026.
It’s thought that the car was jointly owned by Cyril Anderson and his intrepid wife Doris – known as ‘Geordie’ – plus Bill Pitt and Charles Swinburne. Its earliest competition outings were made in the hands of ‘Geordie’, who had been born in Scotland in 1908. Having moved to Australia and married Cyril, she raced an early XK 120 between 1950 and 1952, then replaced that with another XK 120 in which she won the 24-hour Mount Druitt race along with Pitt and Swinburne. On acquiring the D-type, she was quoted as saying that, as well as being used as a racing car, ‘sometimes it will come in handy as a hack for doing the shopping.’
From August 1956 onwards, however, it was Pitt who most often raced XKD 056. He was highly rated on the Queensland motorsport scene, and started as he meant to go on by setting a new lap record first time out at Lowood. Pitt often went up against Bib Stilwell in XKD 520, and in November 1956 beat him comfortably in the one-hour Queensland Tourist Trophy at Lowood – despite having only third and fourth gears available to him.
Later that year, Pitt entered the first Australian Tourist Trophy at Albert Park and lined up on the grid with the works Maseratis of Stirling Moss and Jean Behra, plus the Ferraris of Peter Whitehead and Reg Parnell. Pitt finished fourth despite not having raced at Albert Park before, and the following weekend he was back at the same circuit for the Australian Grand Prix meeting. Sadly, he crashed out of the supporting Argus Trophy, after which the D-type was repaired – the air intake being made larger and more rectangular – and resprayed bronze.
The car was back in action during 1957, Pitt marking his return by lowering his own lap record at Lowood by three seconds. He’d often compete in more than one race during the course of a meeting, and by the time he arrived at Bathurst in October, XKD 526 was once again finished in dark green.
Despite offering the car for sale in mid-1958, when it was marketed as ‘Mrs Geordie Anderson’s successful D-type Jaguar’, Pitt continued to race it throughout that year. There was more success at Lowood, and he once again entered the Victorian Tourist Trophy and Melbourne Grand Prix meetings on consecutive weekends at Albert Park. He led the former for the first 12 laps until being passed by Whitehead’s Maserati and then lost second place when he pitted for bodywork repairs after a slight off. The following weekend, he finished sixth in the Melbourne Grand Prix behind Stirling Moss’s winning Cooper.
In July 1959, the D-type was bought by Leaton Motors, which sold used sports cars out of premises in the Sydney suburbs and went racing at the weekend. It had previously run a C-type for one of its salesman – Frank Matich – and then decided to upgrade to XKD 526. The car was repainted pale yellow with a central black stripe, and young Matich – who would go on to have a fine career as a driver as well as a constructor – broke the sports car lap record first time out at Lowood.
Matich drove XKD 526 at Longford in March 1960 before handing over to Doug Chivas for the rest of that season. Chivas won at Lowood in July, but often had to give best to Matich, who’d switched to Leaton’s new Lotus 15. In 1961, however, the Jaguar was given a new lease of life as a ‘GT’ car via the fitment of an aluminium hardtop built by Sydney-based specialist Alan Standfield. Australian GT regulations allowed such one-off conversions – Bob Jane did the same to his Maserati 300S – and XKD 526 first appeared in its new guise at Catalina Park in July 1961. Matich was back behind the wheel and took victory there, as he did three weeks later in dominant fashion at Warwick Farm.
For its final few races with Leaton in early 1962, the D-type was driven by Barry Topen. He won at Catalina Park and Warwick Farm, before coming unstuck at Sandown in March. Having finished second in a five-lap GT race, Topen crashed out of the 10-lap GT scratch race. Leaton tasked Alan Standfield with repairing the crumpled bonnet, but the company was struggling financially and the D-type – along with the Lotus 15 – was offered for sale in 1963.
By 1965, XKD 526 was with Michael Crampton – a mechanic based near Sydney – and from him it passed to Keith Russell, who ran a panel repair shop in Campsie. During Russell’s ownership, the Jaguar was painted blue and white, and a 3.8-litre engine block was fitted – although the original cylinder head was retained. Russell entered the occasional race with his new acquisition, his competition outings including a slight off at Hume Weir over the 1966 Easter weekend and – more encouragingly – a third-place finish at Oran Park on 3 July.
In January 1967, Keith Berryman bought XKD 526 for $1700 and would end up keeping it for almost 50 years. He was only 26 years old when he acquired the Jaguar, and he drove it the 250 miles from Sydney to his farm in Stockinbingal, New South Wales. He had the car road-registered in March 1967 and, at the time he bought it, it was fitted with the 3.8 block, 15x8in wheels, flared rear arches and triple Weber carburettors. It also still had the GT-spec hardtop in place, but later in the year he removed that and replaced the wheels.
Berryman also added to the D-type’s race history, including an appearance at Warwick Farm in February 1968 in which he was hit by another competitor; minor bodywork repairs were needed afterwards. He continued to race into 1970, and in September that year he won the inaugural Tom Sulman Trophy for Historic Sports and Racing Cars at Warwick Farm.
The D-type was later stored in a barn at Berryman’s farm, and it was still there in 1975 when Ian Cummins visited. Cummins would go on to become a well-known Australian Jaguar enthusiast and was looking for a car that he could use a reference during the restoration of XKD 010, which he’d bought the previous year. XKD 526 was therefore stripped and kept alongside XKD 010 while the latter was restored in Sydney.
Once that project had been completed in 1981, XKD 526 itself was restored to concours-winning condition. During the 1980s and 1990s, it was occasionally used by Jaguar for promotional events and was driven more than once by Stirling Moss. It even competed in two ‘races’ against a Supermarine Spitfire at air shows in Wagga and Temora.
When Berryman decided to sell XKD 526 in 2014, it was acquired by Jo Bamford, grandson of the man who’d founded the JCB heavy plant company. The D-type was brought back to England complete with its original front frame – which had been replaced when Cummins had restored the car – plus the hardtop, and CKL Developments carried out some restoration work. This included rebuilding and refitting the front chassis frame, returning the bodywork to British Racing Green, rebuilding the original cylinder head and repairing some minor suspension damage. It was also noted that XKD 526 was fitted with a ZF limited-slip differential, which was rare outside the factory and Ecurie Ecosse D-types. Once the car was finished, Bamford raced it at the Goodwood Revival.
The Jaguar passed to a new owner in 2018, when CKL again carried out some restoration work, during which the body was returned to its original configuration, minus the tail fin. It was eventually decided not to refit the 1960s hardtop, but a frame was constructed so that this intriguing part of its story can be displayed with the car.
This Jaguar D-Type is now offered for sale exclusively at The Classic Motor Hub. Not only does XKD 526 boast an extensive period race record, it has a continuous known history and in the past few years has received extensive care in the hands of one of the world’s foremost D-type specialists. It’s a beautiful and impressively original survivor from a golden era of sports car racing.
Condition & Registration
Mille Miglia eligible Registered Ready to drive Vehicle-ID: 225980
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