The 1954 Jaguar D-Type Stirling Moss raced at Le Mans is primed to sell for $15m at RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction on January 18-19.
This specimen, chassis XKD 403, was one of three D-types entered in the 1954 race.
While the model would dominate the competition throughout the mid-1950s, on this first occasion all three succumbed to engine trouble.
Stirling Moss drove this D-Type in the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans - Courtesy RM Sotheby's
The source of the glitches was a batch of contaminated fuel, which mysteriously afflicted only Jaguar.
Moss and co-driver Peter Walker battled gamely on in spite of these mechanical issues, taking the lead during the early stages, but were forced to bow out on the 92nd lap.
Moss also raced this vehicle at the 12 Hours of Reims, before it was retired and used as a test car.
RM Sotheby’s comments: “As the Workhorse for D-Type development, this car has been driven, in practice or competition, by 16 of the factory’s most legendary drivers and associated privateers.
“Having been extensively raced by Jaguar and then retained by the Experimental department for further testing and development, XKD 403 is presented [in] exceptionally authentic condition from when it left the factory in 1956.”
Once it passed into the secondary market it became a regular on the amateur circuit. It made the podium on more than half of its 55 recorded races.
Tragically in 1963, a mechanic named Alistair Smith was killed when XKD 403 overturned on the track. It went into storage for a number of years after the incident, only re-emerging in the 1980s.
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