A new CMC is always an exciting event. These days, CMC only manages to produce, at most, two new subjects a year, but any serious collector would agree that models of this quality are worth waiting for. Others, of course, are simply relieved that CMC only manages to release two new subjects a year, because a CMC replica undoubtedly makes a dent in anybody’s bank account!
Very rarely does CMC tackle a British subject; in fact, the only time they have done so before was for the stunning Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato.
The Jaguar C-Type is a perfect subject for the German maker, in our opinion. It is a beautifully intricate subject that lends itself to CMC’s particular brand of artistry. It is also, of course, a truly iconic car that won at Le Mans not just once, but twice.
The C-Type has been modelled in 1:18 before, but that was nearly 15 years ago, and whilst AUTOart made fine models back in the day, the quality of the CMC puts it in a different league. Importantly, though, CMC is not modelling any of the cars that were made by AUTOart.
The Jaguar XK120 was first shown at the London Motor Show in 1948, largely as a testbed for the company’s new XK engine. But the reception it received caused William Lyons to decide to put it into production. The 120 nomenclature referred to the car’s top speed, which made it the fastest production car at the time of its launch. The first example was delivered to Clark Gable in 1949.
It was in 1950 that William Lyons decided that, in order to achieve international recognition for the Jaguar brand, they should develop a racing version of the 120 to race at Le Mans in 1951. The car was conceived by Jaguar’s chief designer, William Heynes. The drive-train would be taken from the 120, but the heavy chassis was replaced with a lightweight tubular frame.
Over the course of its three years of production, there were three variants of the C-Type.
The first series comprised three ‘pre-production’ cars that were created to compete at Le Mans. The cars were equipped with drum brakes and twin SU carburettors. Only two of the cars finished the race, but in so doing one car put its drivers on the top step of the podium.
The second production run of 45 cars were similar to the ‘51 cars, but with a different air outlet system. Most of these cars went to the US.
The third variant was created for the 1953 running of the La Sarthe marathon. The cars were fitted with three twin-choke carburettors. Their bodies were built of very thin alloy sheet metal, and to save weight an aircraft-style rubber fuel tank was fitted. For the first time on a race car, disc brakes were fitted. The rear axle was strengthened, whilst the front axle got a more robust anti-roll bar. These additions must have worked because, that year, the C-Types came home in first, second and fourth position.
Obviously, as you’d expect, the doors and bonnet open, but not like they do on your average 1:18 model. On the Jaguar, the hinge mechanisms are simply scaled-down versions of those on the real car. The engine, of course, is faithfully reproduced, as is the exhaust system, the cooling system and the fuel and oil piping.
The front axle and suspension are made from metal. So is the rear axle, roll bar, longitudinal torsion-bar suspension, and so on. The hand-made radiator is fashioned from stainless steel. And both the fuel and oil-filler caps hinge just as they do on the real car. The wheels are perfectly crafted with stainless steel spokes and nipples on alloy rims. The wheels are held in place with threaded locking nuts. The interior is trimmed in genuine leather.
Nobody in the model business comes close to being able to incorporate this level of detail into their replicas. We’ve been saying this for a number of years, but we still think that, for what they offer, CMC’s subjects are the best value models in the business.
They take attention to detail, verisimilitude and craftmanship to a totally new level. Most 1:18 replicas, these days, are made from 100 parts or less. The most detailed might consist of 200 parts. CMC tell us that it takes more than six hours of an experienced model maker’s time to put together the C-Type’s required 1,555 parts.
We’re not suggesting a CMC replica is cheap. Clearly their models are relatively expensive, and beyond the reach of many collectors. But what CMC offers for the money is still unbelievable. We firmly contend that in the years to come, when CMC has stopped making models, their replicas will be heralded as masterpieces of a bygone era. Like a Vacheron Constantin clock or a Chippendale drawing-room desk. Whether you’re a classic car fan, a model collector, or just somebody with an eye for an investment, you’ll never regret becoming the owner of one of CMC’s miniature masterpieces.
The first car in the series of six is a road car in plain British Racing Green, and has already been released.
CMC have not assigned to it a particular chassis number, so we can only assume that it is based on a typical 1952, second-series car; from chassis XKC 005 to XKC 049.
Of all the replicas being released by CMC, this is the one with the least provenance. All of the other cars have histories that can be traced, and are based on cars that are still in existence today.
Nevertheless, a plain roadgoing C-Type, if there is such a thing as a plain C-Type, is the dream of many a classic car enthusiast. And in this form, the C-Type really is the ultimate road-going race car.
Jaguar had won at Le Mans with the C-Type in 1951 at their first attempt. But their return in 1952 had been a total failure. And so, for the 1953 running of the race, the team’s preparations were fastidious.
After the retirement of the whole factory team in 1952, all four cars were returned to Coventry, to be rebuilt for the coming season. The engines were rebuilt, and re-equipped with Weber 40DC03 carburettors. New bodies were fashioned from thin aluminium sheet and, to save weight, a rubber petrol tank replaced the aluminium one; a development borrowed from the aircraft industry.
1953 also saw the first use of disc brakes at Le Mans whilst, for improved road holding, the C-Type’s rear axle got additional support and a stronger anti-roll bar.
Jaguar dominated proceedings that year, coming home in first, second and fourth places. At the end of the race, William Lyons dedicated the team’s triumph to the recently crowned Queen Elizabeth. In the spring of 1956, he became Sir William Lyons.
Limited to just 1500 pieces worldwide, we would suggest that this will be the most popular subject in the range.
For the 1953 running of the 24 Hour Le Mans event, Jaguar wanted a back-up for the three-car factory team. Ecurie Francorchamps was founded in 1952 by Jacques Swaters. William Lyons was impressed with the way the team organised itself, and so decided that they would run a fourth car in the race.
The car, which was little more than a standard, over-the-counter C-Type, finished the race in ninth position, an impressive result. So much so that Lyons despatched the team to complete the remaining races of the season in Spa and the Nurburgring.
At the end of the season, chassis XKC 047 went back to Coventry for a new engine, Weber carbs, and the revised suspension of the factory lightweight cars. It was eventually passed to Dunlop as a test and development vehicle. It raced until 1959, and in 1963 it was acquired by Guy Griffith.
Griffith paid £635 for the car, and used it for track days and hill climbs. It remained in the family for more than 50 years until it was sold at auction in 2016 after Guy passed away. It fetched almost £6 million.
A mere 1000 examples of this version will be produced.
The C-Type was the car to own and race in the 1950s. They were driven by many of the world’s most famous racers, and saw action at many of the world’s greatest tracks.
Chassis XKC 029 was delivered to US Jaguar importer Charles Hornburg in late 1952, from where it made its way to Mexico in early 1953. Its new owner, Paco Ibarra, entered the car into the 1953 running of the Carrera Panamericana, but engine failure meant the car did not finish the race. The car was then sold to Javier Velasquez, who entered the car into the ’54 running of the race. Unfortunately, once again, the car failed to finish.
A short time later, the car found its way back to Massachusetts. In 1981, it was sold to the Dunkerley family in the UK, who owned the car for over 30 years. In 2010, the car ran at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in its 1954 Panamericana livery. In 2016, the vehicle was sold by classic car specialist: Gregor Fiskens.
Most of the cars in the CMC series are being produced in limited editions of 1000 or 1500 pieces. For some reason, the Panamericana car has been limited to just 500 examples. We do not know why CMC took this decision. It was probably a mistake, because it is the first car to sell out entirely with CMC. Ironically, it means that this replica is probably going to become the most desirable of them all.
CMC has sold out, but we have not done so yet, so the car can still be ordered. It will still, though, probably sell out from us before any of the other versions
In April 1954, the Ecurie Ecosse team acquired the three triumphant C-Type lightweight racers from Jaguar. They immediately had the cars painted in the team’s ‘flag metallic blue’.
The team finished the 1954 season with no less than eight victories. But the highlight of the season was probably Jimmy Stewart’s victory at Goodwood in the number 19 car. (Jimmy was actually Jackie’s elder brother).
The C-Type fleet was sold off at the end of the year to fund the purchase of new D-Types. The Goodwood car, XKC 052, was eventually sold to Peter Blond, who continued to campaign the car in the UK and overseas.
At Pebble Beach in August 2015, chassis XKC 052 was sold by RM Sotheby’s for £13.2 million, making it the most expensive Jaguar ever.
The edition is limited to 1500 pieces worldwide.
Chassis XKC 023 was first delivered to Charles Hornburg, Jaguar’s West Coast importer, in late 1952. From where it made its way to Joe Henderson, a Jaguar dealer in Seattle.
Jack Douglas, a comedy writer and television producer, became the first owner of the car. He took every opportunity to show off the car to his Hollywood friends, but he also liked to race, so the C-Type was frequently entered into local events.
But Douglas’s interest in racing took a knock when the car suffered serious damage, and in 1962 it passed to Frank Schierenbeck, owner of a repair shop for European cars. For many years, nobody knew the whereabouts of the car. The search for the chassis XKC 023 began in 1986, but it was only found in 1997, albeit in a state of disrepair.
The car was put into restoration and, with the paint barely dry, it was entered into the Mille Miglia Storica in 2001 with Dr Christian Jenny, the new owner, at the wheel. In 2003, Jenny took XKC 023 to the celebrations in honour of the C-Type’s win at Le Mans.
This one will be a limited edition of 1000.
We cannot tell you in what order these CMC Jaguar C-Type replicas will be made available, so there is no particular science behind how we have presented them here. But we do expect to see them all by the end of the summer.
We are also pleased to be able to offer all of these CMC replicas at £25 off of the RRP, so only £564.99 instead of £589.99.
We have already ordered our quantities of all these cars from the UK importer. The UK importer tells us that they are unlikely to be able to increase their order from CMC. Which is our way of saying that, whilst we have enough cars to easily meet all our existing back orders, we cannot guarantee that we will have enough models to meet future demand. But the bottom line is that if you want to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of these cars, you should not leave it too long before making a decision.
CMC don’t make many models these days. They release no more than two subjects a year, and the rate of production is, if anything, slowing down. If you’re a discerning collector with an eye for the finest of models, you really don’t want to miss out on these stunning C-Type Jaguars; almost certainly the finest Jaguar replicas ever produced. They’ll be here soon (ish), we hope!
Shop for all the 1:18 Jaguar C-Types
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