Multi-million dollar D-type Jaguar at Motorclassica auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 11th October, 2017

The highest value car ever to go to public auction in Australia – a 1955 Jaguar D-type – should have enthusiasts gasping at this year’s Motorclassica at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building.

One of the most iconic and coveted cars among collectors, the vehicle carries an auction estimate of $7 million to $8 million and is the only genuine Jaguar D-type in Australia.

The last Jaguar D-type sold at public auction in August last year for $US21,780,000. This was the 1956 Le Mans winning Ecurie Ecosse vehicle and at the time set a new world record for any British car sold at auction.

This vehicle – part of Mossgreen’s first Motorclassica auction from 6pm Saturday October 14 during the three-day annual Australian International Concours d’Elegance & Classic Motor Show – was owned in Europe by the renowned former Le Mans 24 Hour winner Duncan Hamilton and achieved success in the United Kingdom and French West Africa before going to Singapore and Australia in the 1960s.

Noted Jaguar collector Ian Cummins owned the car for a while before Australian motor racing legend and former Lear Jet president Bib Stillwell bought the vehicle at auction for a then world record price.

Stillwell took the car to the United States and successfully campaigned it on the historic racing scene across America.

In recent times, the car was displayed at UK’s famous Donington Museum before returning to Australia. 

The Mossgreen auction features 31 prestigious, rare and collectable cars and motorcycles – along with 18 lots of collectable number plates and automobilia.

One of the highlights is the 1956 British Cooper Climax T39 Bobtail Sports Racer that once belonged to millionaire playboy Lance Reventlow, the son of Danish Count Kurt Reventlow and Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton.

Born in 1936 in London, Reventlow’s interest in cars and racing was heavily influenced by his mother’s second and third husbands – the first of whom raced in European Grand Prix events and the second at Le Mans.

At school in Arizona, Reventlow met fellow racing enthusiast Bruce Kessler and in 1955 the two began competing in California.

The following year they acquired two of the popular 1956 Cooper Climaxes, including the 1100cc Bobtail, for what turned out to be a highly successful racing season. 

Mossgreen’s head of collectors cars & motorcycles Robert Richards says the auction contains several other noteworthy vehicles including a 1930 Model A Boat-Tail Ford that broke the record for the Sydney to Bourke run (512 miles – 820 kilometres – in nine hours 47 minutes) – set January 14 that same year by Norman Aubin and Ted Tunbridge.

“The time still stands because, shortly after the event, road record attempts were banned in the interest of road safety,” he says.

Several exciting incidents occurred during the trip including hitting a fence at 60mph (100kmh), damaging a front wheel and right side of the body.

Another interesting vehicle is the 1934 MG Q Type, one of only eight in the world, with a catalogue estimate of $400,000-$450,000.  

A 1961 blue Jaguar E-type Series I joins its D-type cousin at the auction. A well-known South Australian car and one of only 942 right-hand drive versions, it was built as an open two-seater. 

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