As the Jaguar D-type celebrates its 60th anniversary, Michael Driver looks at some historical diecast models and Keith Powell introduces newly available scale models of this iconic racing car.
Perfection in Miniature by Michael Driver
The Jaguar D-type
Predecessor to this, the Jaguar C-Type had won at Le Mans in 1951 and 1953. This success inspired William Lyons to build a new car to compete in that race. Therefore, sixty years ago there was a hive of extra activity at Jaguars’ Browns Lane plant. The outcome, of course, was the now legendary Jaguar D-Type designed by Malcolm Sayer which went on the win at Le Mans in 1955, 1956 and 1957.
As a result of this, Jaguar was recognised worldwide for its racing prowess and its sports cars which were without equal. With all this glamour the Jaguar D-Type began to interest toy makers who were eager to improve their sales with a famous car. There are many models, but here are just four examples for the starting line!
One of the earliest models was made by Dinky Toys and this was released as a Jaguar Type D Racing car [no.238] in September 1957. The boxes for the early models also had applied labels to them describing the Le Mans victories. An unusual aspect of the model was its colour of pale green rather than British Racing Green or the blue of the Ecurie Ecosse team. Apparently, during the development of the racing cars at Jaguar, this colour of green had been used, and perhaps that inspired Dinky Toys.
The model, in the pale green, had a contrasting dark blue interior and came with a driver in white overalls. The wheels were cast and in blue and had plain black tyres. The next model had treaded tyres and was followed by one fitted with spun wheels. Later models were fitted with plastic wheels in blue and then yellow. The drivers also changed into yellow overalls. The cars never carried competition numbers like other Dinky Toys racing cars, but a set of transfer numbers was sold separately as an accessory.
The Dinky Toys casting was also made in India as a Nicky Toys model using the same 238 number. The first models had yellow plastic wheels with drivers in blue overalls. Over its production run the castings deteriorated, and to this, very basic black plastic wheels were fitted. All the cars seem to have had the racing number 35.
Since Le Mans is in France it is not surprising that the French Company, Solido, also made a Jaguar D-Type model [no.100]. This was available in dark green, two shades of light green and red. They had drivers in white with red helmets. Various racing numbers from 1 to 9 were also applied to the models. The red model had the number 7 on a red and white American style flag and the driver now had a green helmet. All the cars have plastic windscreens and they have spun wheels which can have either plain or treaded black tyres. The models are also fitted with suspension to the wheels.
The Solido casting was also made in Spain under the Dalia name as a Jaguar [no.1451]. It is finished in mid green and has the racing number 4 and there is a blue, white and red roundel on the tail fin. The driver is in white with a black racing helmet.
Depending on condition, the Dinky Toys Jaguar D-Types, with a box sell for between £70 and £180 whereas the Nicky Toys vary between £35 and £70. The Solido models with boxes range from £40 to £80, but the boxed Dalia could set you back about £180 or more. At least they are not quite as expensive as the real ones.
© Michael Driver March 2014 London
Keith Powell introduces the latest Jaguar D-type scale models
Jaguar entered the 1955 Le Mans 24 – Hour Race with a version of the D-Type which had a bonnet seven inches longer than the standard model. Hence the name “Long Nose D-Type”. The car had a cover above the passenger space, a fin behind the driver’s head and a higher windscreen.
Under the bonnet the XK engine had a new wide-angle head and larger valves, which boosted the 3.4 litre 6-cylinder engine with three weber carburettors to 265-270 bhp. The construction of the car combined a front chassis frame with an all aluminium monocoque for the bodywork.
Mated with a 4-speed gearbox, front and rear disc brakes and 6.5 x 16 tyres, the car could reach a maximum speed of over 300 km/h and was able to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in less than 5 seconds.
The three factory teams competing in the race were Ferrari, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. The outcome was overshadowed by the worst accident in the history of motor sport. About two hours after the 24-hour Le Mans race had begun, two cars collided on the race track. Pierre Levegh, who was driving a Mercedes 300 SLR hit Lance Macklin’s Austin Healey, and was catapulted into the air and crashed amongst the crowd. The car disintegrated, killing the driver and eighty three spectators with over one hundred more injured. The race was allowed to continue in order to prevent departing spectators from crowding onto the roads and obstructing the approaching ambulances. Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb won the race in the Jaguar D-Type, which had achieved a record average speed of 107 miles/hour (172.3 km/h). the remaining Mercedes cars were withdrawn from the race as a sign of respect to the accident victims.
This 1/18 scale Auto Art model, a replica of the 1955 Le Mans winning Jaguar D-Type, which has been released after some nine years of waiting has intricate photo-etched metal grilles on all air inlets and outlets, rivets are printed on the window surround and body shell, and also on the headlamps and tail lamps. It has authentic wheels and tyres, a fully decorated cockpit, and an opening boot with metal hinge fitted. The cover of the fuel filler cap recess may be raised, allowing you to open the fuel filler cap. The suspension system is replicated in high detail and the engines’ complex oil cooling and fuel delivery systems have been reproduced in great detail. When closed the bonnet fastens with genuine leather straps, complete with stainless steel buckles. It also has a fully decorated interior, with the seat and headrests covered in real leather.
The only downside to this wonderful model is the price at which it has come in at. The model has a RRP of £269.99. This is a lot more expensive than the recently released Auto Art Jaguar E-Type S1 3.8 Roadster’s and Coupe’s, that have a RRP of £204.99. I have been selling the E-Type Jaguars to JEC members for £184.50 and I will do the same 10% discount for this Jaguar D-Type, a price to JEC members of £242.99.
The 1/43 scale version came out some months ago now and it too is a stunning model, especially as it is a lot smaller than the 1/18 model. It also has all the features as described on the 1/18 scale model and comes in at a price of £139.99.
Other models recently released over the past few months in 1/43 scale include the 1954 Jaguar Mk VII in dark silver, the 1962 Daimler SP250, the 1970 Jaguar E-Type Coupe SII in light blue, the Wilcox Jaguar XJ Limo 6 door saloon and the 2010 Jaguar C-X75 Concept car. I am still waiting for the release of the 1/18 scale Paragon model of the XJ6 2.8 saloon in white and the 1/43 scale model of the ‘F’ Type’s in three different colours.
Diecast Jaguar Scale Model Specialist
Phone: 01933 667358
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All information correct at time of publishing.