Jaguar D-Type #6 – AUTOart

1955 Jaguar D-Type #6
Pilots: M. Hawthorn, I. Bueb
Team: Jaguar Cars
Race: 1st overall (P class) at Le Mans in 1955
AUTOart - 65586 (diecast) 

Published 04/22/19

Jaguar D-Type #4 (06/06/18):
The D-Type was the car Jaguar Cars created to substitute the highly successful C-Type (XK120C) of 1951. Though it shared basically the same XK6 engine of its predecessor, the body and chassis were very different. The cockpit section was of monocoque construction, basically composed of sheets of an aluminum alloy. With its elliptical shape and comparatively small cross-section it provided torsional rigidity, with the benefit of reduced drag. For better weight distribution, the fuel tank was in the rear. But instead of a conventional tank, Jaguar used a deformable Marston Aviation Division bag.

The engine was the tested & true XK6, a DOHC inline 6-cylinder with 12 valves and 3442 cm³. First introduced by Jaguar in 1949, it was fed through two SU-H6 carburetors producing around 220 hp in race tune. To reduce the engine’s height, Jaguar used two stratagems. First, they developed a dry sump lubrication system, and second, the engine was canted at about 8º from the vertical.

Does it look asymmetric from this angle?

For the 24 Heures du Mans of 1955, Jaguar had three cars in the race. There were also two more D-Types, one from Briggs S. Cunningham, and another from Écurie Francorchamps. Of the five cars, only Hawthorn and Bueb’s finished the race. And their D-Type #6 came in first place. However, that victory will always be sour by Pierre Lavegh’s accident, where over 80 people died. The 1955 crash was the worst racing accident in history, and brought many changes to Le Mans and motorsports. The accident per se was exactly that, an accident, with many contributing factors. Why Lavegh’s Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR rear-ended Lance Macklin’s Austin-Healey was a “race fatality”. Unfortunately, back then safety was not primordial, so things could get bad easily. Honestly, even with the benefit of hindsight, I don’t think there’s a single culprit.

D-Type #6
Being honest, I wouldn’t consider the Type-D a “looker”. But the model? Smashing!

But what gets my panties in a bunch was Hawthorn celebrating his victory. With champagne. Quite a few photos show him doing so, and at the time the French press slammed him for that. Jaguar also gets my reprieve, since even though Mercedes talked to them, they did not withdraw. Though Mercedes did. It’s a fact that in motorsports bad things can happen, specially in those days. I don’t know if people were more innocent, naive or just plain ignorant, but safety was not a big concern. So I guess that nobody at the time understood that carnage could be avoided. But what I can’t accept was Hawthorn’s (and Jaguar’s!) attitude. To celebrate after that tragedy?!? Crass to say the least.

D-Type #6
You can open the engine bay, “trunk” and remove the tonneau cover.

In conclusion, I’m sorry to say that Mike Hawthorn is not a pilot that I respect. And neither is Jaguar, for that matter. On the other hand, AUTOart is definitively high on my list of scale model brands. I had this D-Type #6 as a crappy pw, and it was a model I needed to upgrade. With that, I had two options, Spark or AUTOart. The AUTOart option was more expensive, but as you can see, it rocks.

Model for model maybe the Spark is a little more refined, but AUTOart’s is in a league of it’s own.

It comes in a special black box, with a magnifying glass, a microfiber cleaning cloth and a “certificate of authenticity”. Special package notwithstanding, the D-Type #6 is honestly THE best model in my collection, bar none. So if you want the finest one out there, this is the one. Spark comes in a close second, but this is the one to rule them all.

D-Type #6
I’m done!

And it looks like I don’t need anymore D-Types 😁.

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