As part of the opening of Sotheby’s inaugural Life of Luxury Week at the company’s New York headquarters today, RM Sotheby’s is displaying the 1954 Jaguar D-type that Stirling Moss raced at Le Mans and that will be offered for sale at the company’s annual Arizona auction in January 2018.
RM Sotheby’s expects the former factory Works racer to sell in January for more than $12 million.
While the D-type won’t cross the block for a few more weeks, 32 collector cars and a selection of automobilia comprise the RM Sotheby’s “Icons” docket that will be offered during the Life of Luxury Week, which also will include eight auctions featuring jewelry, watches, wine and fashion, all under the banner of Sotheby’s new Luxury Division.
The auctions begin Saturday with the Icons sale scheduled for December 6.
Among the cars being offered in the Icons collection are an alloy-bodied 1959 Ferrari 250 GT long-wheelbase California Spider Competizione that finished fifth at Le Mans in 1959 and is estimated to sell for $14 million to $17 million; the first C-type Jaguar imported into the U.S. and raced by Phil Hill ($5.5 million to $7 million); the Ghia-built 1952 Chrysler d’Elegance concept car ($900,000 to $1.1 million); several other exotics, including a 1990 Lamborghini LM002 “Rambo Lambo” ($400,000 to $500,000); but also a 1960 Volkswagen Deluxe 23-window microbus ($150,000 to $225,000).
While selling luxury collectibles at its New York auctions, RM Sotheby’s also is using the event to preview its upcoming Arizona auction, scheduled for January 18-19 at the Arizona Biltmore resort in Phoenix. In addition to the D-type, on display in New York is a 1955 Alfa Romeo 1900C SS Speciale bodied by Boano to be offered in Arizona as part of a docket being billed as “A Century of Sports Cars Collection.” The Alfa is expected to sell for $1.25 million to $1.75 million.
But the Arizona star will be the D-type, chassis No. XKD 403. The car is the third of six Works racers and was the factory’s lead car for its 1954 Le Mans effort. With Stirling Moss and Peter Walker as drivers, the car set a Mulsanne Straight speed record of 172.97 mph and led the race before being retired with brake issues just after midnight.
The car continued to race for the factory that season and at the end of the year was fitted with a 3.4-liter engine for testing evaluation by Jaguar driver Norman Dewis.
Jaguar sold the car to Jack Broadhead in 1955 and was raced by Bob Berry. It was damaged at Goodwood in 1956 but was rebuilt at the Jaguar factory and continued to race extensively throughout the decade.
“It is this D-Type that cemented the foundation of Jaguar’s immense success at Le Mans in the ensuing years,” RM Sotheby’s reported in its news release. “XKD 403 was the team’s workhorse as well as their testbed for continuous technological development. The D-Type pushed not only Jaguar, but also their competitors, to the very limit of racing — it is the veritable cornerstone of Jaguar’s racing history.”
The car then went into storage until the early 1980s, when its metal bodywork was preserved during restoration. It took part in Jaguar factory cavalcades to Le Mans in 1996 and 1997 before being sold to an American collector in 1999. In the U.S., the car has participated in various vintage events, including the Monterey Historics, Goodwood Revival and Colorado and Copperstate vintage rallies.
The car was sold privately in 2009 and is being offered for public sale for the first time at RM Sotheby’s auction in Arizona. RM Sotheby’s notes that the car will be offered with full documentation and still retains its original tub, chassis, drivetrain, and suspension.
In addition to announcing the D-type and showing both it and the Alfa in New York, RM Sotheby’s also announced that the Arizona auction will include a 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter coupe with one-off coachwork by Ghia. The car was shown at Turin and Paris in 1952 and in 1953 was purchased from its original owner by Juan Peron, president of Argentina. Person owned the car for two decades. It has been owned for the last two decades by an American collector and has been preserved in its original yellow and black colors, RM Sotheby’s said. The car is expected to sell for $1.6 million to $2 million.