A Jaguar which came fourth at Le Mans and was later raced by Ecurie Ecosse is expected to sell for a staggering £7 MILLION to become the most expensive British car.
The stunning C-Type was the second of three factory lightweight works cars built by Jaguar for the 1953 motorsport season.
Peter Whitehead and Ian Stewart drove the car – known as XKC 052 – to fourth place at Le Mans.
The two racing drivers managed to complete 297 laps of the French racetrack – averaging an incredible 103mph – with Scot driver Stewart finishing the race.
And with Jaguar taking first, second and fourth spot at Le Mans that year, the C-Type’s position as one of the greatest race cars was cemented.
It is also one of the rarest, with just 53 built and they rarely come onto the open market.
As a result, values have soared in recent years and this model is expected to sell for around #7 million when it is auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s at its California sale in August.
This will make it the most expensive British car ever sold at auction, with only classic Ferraris and Mercedes generally selling for more.
RM Sotheby’s today (Weds) described the C-Type as a “very significant component of Jaguar‘s storied racing history”.
The auction house said the car “remains one of the rarest and significant race cars of that period, let alone one of the most timelessly beautiful sports cars ever designed”.
It added the C-Type will make a “spectacular addition” to the most pedigreed collections.
The C-Type is fitted with a 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine which gives it 220bhp and a top speed of more than 140mph.
Jaguar was the only team to fit its cars with disc brakes at Le Mans which, combined with the lightweight body, made it unbeatable through the corners.
After its fourth place finish at Le Mans, Jaguar sold the C-Type to the Ecurie Ecosse team based in Edinburgh.
The Scottish racing team painted the Jaguar in its signature colour of Flag Metallic Blue and handed it to Jimmy Stewart.
He drove the C-Type to victory in four races in May 1954, before Roy Salvadori got behind the wheel and picked up two first places. Stewart then won another race at Goodwood.
In total, XKC 052 netted Ecurie Ecosse eight victories during 1954, with four second-place finishes, four third-place finishes, and three fourth-place finishes.
Ecurie Ecosse sold the C-Type to Peter Blond in 1954 and he painted the car British Racing Green and competed across Europe. Blond later called the C-Type the most stimulating, spritely and exciting car he owned.
The car continued to be raced by its later owners and, in 2000, was bought by its current owner, a Californian collector.
He had the car restored by Pearsons Engineering in Northants, and had it returned to its Ecurie Ecosse configuration.
News of the C-Type’s sale has sparked excitement in the Jaguar community.
Graham Searle, from the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club, said: “Jaguar C-Types don’t come up for sale on the open market very often so it is very exciting when they do.
“There is no shortage of people with money chasing cars like this.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it stayed in the USA but it would be great if it came back to Britain.
“This is a works car, with excellent history and it was raced by Jaguar. It has excellent provenance so if you want a C-Type you won’t get much better than this.”
The C-Type will be sold over the weekend of August 14/15 in Monterey, California.