Ecurie Ecosse have created a new car, the Ecurie Ecosse C-type, to pay homage to the past success of the Jaguar C-type, which was officially the Jaguar XK120-C with the letter “C” standing for “competition” and was in production between 1951 and 1953. Only 53 C-types were built, most of them ending up in the hands of private owners in the United States.
The story began in 1952 when a young Ian Stewart, who was the pioneer driver for Ecurie Ecosse, visited Jaguar Cars in Coventry to collect his brand-new Jaguar C-type. He then drove the car to its first race on Jersey and found himself up against tough competition from the likes of Aston Martin and Frazer Nash. Undeterred, Stewart won the race in his new C-type and so writing the opening chapter of Ecurie Ecosse’s international motor racing career.
Ecurie Ecosse enjoyed great success on the racetrack, achieving 59 podium finishes across the seven C-type chassis raced by the team. The legendary team manager ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson was responsible for clever tuning and together with meticulous planning by founder David Murray, the team demonstrated how capable the Jaguar C-type was on the international racing scene, starting a legacy that would take the Scottish national team to countless wins, including their crowning glory at La Sarthe.
The first racing car to be refined in the wind tunnel, the Jaguar C-type was a technological masterpiece. It was also the first car to use fuel ‘bag’ tanks, borrowed from the aviation industry, and was the test bed for Dunlop’s revolutionary disc brakes. A steel spaceframe chassis formed the rigid backbone of the C-type. It was then covered in a lightweight, thin-gauge, streamlined aluminium body designed by Malcolm Sayer and powered by a superbly smooth Jaguar overhead cam straight-six engine. Stirling Moss once said:
“I always really rated the C-type – for me it was a far better car than the D.”
So, over half a century later, Ecurie Ecosse have created this wonderful new car to pay homage to the past success of the fabulous C-type. Current Ecurie Ecosse patron Alasdair McCaig said of their new car:
“How better to celebrate the historic success of the Ecurie Ecosse C-types than to manufacture a batch of cars in their honour? The seven priceless chassis raced in period still exist today, coveted by their lucky owners, occasionally seeing the light of day for race or concours events. We are paying homage to these cars by creating a numbered sister car to each one. Meticulous in their detail, like their forebears, hand-built in Coventry and tuned by Ecurie Ecosse technicians.”
All the key elements that contributed to the success of the 1950s Jaguar racing car have been retained, whilst, in the true spirit of co-founder ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson, a number of improvements have been made using up to date know-how and technology. So, while the aerodynamic shape remains the same and is still crafted from thin-gauge aluminium alloy and mounted to a steel spaceframe chassis, the new car is now wider and stiffer than before and laser-cut for accuracy. The fabulous Jaguar straight-six XK engine is retained, however the capacity has been increased to 4.2 litres and a fuel injection system has been fitted to bring the power up to 300bhp. In addition, both the suspension and disc brakes have been uprated to cope with the additional performance of the car and a five-speed gearbox added to maximise the acceleration and top speed, giving the new car a 0-62mph time of just 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 156mph.
Take a closer look and you’ll notice the outstanding level of detail that has gone into creating this car, from the hand-crafted aluminium bucket seats covered in supple blue leather by Crest, the hand airbrushed Ecurie Ecosse shields on the car’s flanks, and Tag Heuer ‘Master Time’ stopwatches on the dashboard, adding a lovely touch.
The company’s first of seven cars they are building, to match the seven original chassis, has been completed and is available for viewing and to test drive at Hofmann’s, their Henley-on-Thames dealership in Oxfordshire. You can find out more about the Ecurie Ecosse C-type, which is priced at £430,000, by visiting www.ecurieecosse.com
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a member of The Guild of Motoring Writers, professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Photographs courtesy of Ecurie Ecosse