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Remembering The D-Type That Made Jaguar

There are beautiful cars and then there’s the D-Type. This LeMans winning racecar not only proved Jaguar could build fast cars, but it gave the brand identity. The D-Type was the result of an ambitious little British car manufacturer trying to win the world’s greatest race. Winning LeMans is no easy task and in 1954, Jaguar was serious about their latest race car. They took their second ever D-Type and handed the Keys over to Sterling Moss for testing. During testing at LeMans, the D-Type set the speed record on the Mulsanne Straight, a rapid 172 miles per hour. Even with promising testing the lead D-Type, OKV2 did not have a successful LeMans debut.

Unfortunately, contaminated fuel knocked out the D-Type piloted by Sterling Moss and Peter Walker. Although OKV2 didn’t win at LeMans, it found new life as a development car. OKV2 was intended to help develop the cars for the 1955 LeMans and finally bring the D-Type its first LeMans victory. The Countless hours of testing OKV2 endured under the stewardship of some of history’s greatest drivers makes it one of a kind. Jaguar used OKV2 as the audition car for anyone interested in joining the 1955 LeMans team. The incredible talent etched into the history of this car is unmatched.

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In 1955 Jaguar won LeMans starting a three-year winning streak. Thanks to the crucial testing performed on OKV2, the D-Type was unstoppable. Designed by Malcon Sayer, the aircraft inspired D-Type was a beginning of a new narrative of car design. The benefit of using a designer who cut his teeth in the aircraft industry became apparent immediately. The Aluminum fuselage of the D-Type kept its curb weight and center of gravity down to improve all aspects of the car’s performance.  Even the crucial disc braking system came from the aircraft industry.

Heritage aside, the D-Type is a special driving experience. This diminutive work of art wraps around the driver. The snarl of the Straight-6 barking through the side pipes as the wooden steering wheel pulses in your hands, this is what driving is all about. The D-Type is alive. This organic work of art continues to remind us of a simpler time when cars were engines wrapped in aluminum and drivers were likely to meet their demise at the wheel.

Written by Chris Okula - Contributor

Chris was raised on Top Gear and automotive magazines, which still

dominate most of his free time today (he is not a fan of the new

TopGear). After he graduated from Desales University, Chris started his career in the pharmaceutical industry, but missed writing which lead him to the creation of his own automotive blog. This blog lead him to work with Road & Track and now as a contributor here at Shifting Lanes. In his free time, Chris is constantly on the popular automotive auction site, Bring a Trailer, as well as Craigslist looking for ways to destroy his savings account and skip student loan payments.

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