Historic Jaguar becomes most expensive British car at auction

The historic Jaguar D-Type that won the 1956 Le Mans race in France has been sold at a record-breaking $21.78 million at an auction at RM Sotheby’s auction house.

This hefty figure breaks the previous record of $20 million, making it the largest sum ever paid for a British car at auction. The first Shelby Cobra from 1962 also broke the record for the most expensive American car ever to be sold at auction, fetching a less impressive $13.7 million.

The auction house had previously suggested that the Jaguar could even be sold for more money, up to $25 million, although it is still only the fourth British car to sell for over $10 million at auction; a highly impressive feat.

The car, driven by Ninian Sanderson and Ron Flockhart, drove more than 2,400 miles and completed 300 laps at an average speed of 140mph at the 1956 Le Mans race, finishing ahead of an Aston Martin DB3S driven by Stirling Moss and Peter Collins.

The team even managed to get to a top speed of 156mph going down the Mulsanne Straight, gaining its immense power from a 3.4-litre engine that could produce up to 245bhp. The Jaguar was retired from racing only a year afterwards, in 1957, and has only changed hands once in over 20 years.

Shelby Myers, car specialist at RM Sotheby’s, said about the Jaguar D-Type: ‘It has an incredible racing pedigree, having won the most gruelling contest in sports car racing, the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, and what’s more is its amazing originality. Pure in terms of body, chassis and engine; there is no other Le Mans winner from this period that is as original as this car.’

Jaguar’s long history of British excellence can be seen here in this stunning example, and it is clear from incredible cars like the record-breaking Jaguar F-PACE that the tradition is continued to this day. Lancaster Jaguar is proud to offer an extensive range of Jaguars available now to test drive.