This special sanctioned D-Type series from Fine Sports Cars honors Norman Dewis’ legendary service to motorsport and his contribution to the development of Jaguar’s most famous sports racing cars.

Ten Exclusive Sanctioned D-Type Continuation Cars
Each of these documented cars will carry a hand-crafted all-alloy body and Jaguar mechanicals to the specifications of the original factory cars. A total of only ten cars are available: five “short nose” cars, and five “long nose works” configuration cars as driven by Norman Dewis in the 1955 24 Hours at Le Mans.
 

 

With three Le Mans wins, the Jaguar
D-Type remains as one of the most successful racing cars ever.
 
 
Fine Sports Cars is very proud to be working in association with Jaguar’s chief test engineer and competition driver, Norman Dewis, to construct a limited continuation of ten D-type competition Jaguars.
 
Norman Dewis: A Legend in British Motoring
Norman Dewis is one of the true legends of the British motoring industry. Now in his ninth decade, he remains a passionate and eloquent advocate for Jaguar sports racing cars and British engineering brilliance.
 

 Photo by Tom Grünweg
 
During the course of almost 70 years in the motorsport industry, 33 years of them as Jaguar's chief test engineer, Norman was responsible for the development of some of the most fantastic British cars ever to grace both road and track.
 
 
There was something very real about racing in those days. The classic racing events we’re doing now are becoming very popular because they've reintroduced so many of the things that made a good racing driver. We used to drive the cars over to Rheims, down to Le Mans, or over to Spa, win the race then drive them back! So people would see these racing cars on the road, driving next to them at 30-40 mph, and they could identify with them. As you went through London, on the way to the ferry, we used to get a standing ovation.   – Norman Dewis, 2008
 
 
Well over 20 years after Bentley had dominated at Le Mans another British make stood up to the Le Mans 24 Hours challenge: Jaguar.
 
 

Disc Brakes: An Innovation of Norman Dewis
In 1953 the C-Type Jaguar works cars were among the very first equipped with disc brakes developed by Norm Dewis, giving them a clear edge in the race and another win for the boys from Coventry. In the meantime, the Jaguar team worked hard on a completely new model to continue the company's successful endurance racing campaign.
 

 
By the spring of 1954, the new car was running: the D-Type. It was the first Jaguar to use a monocoque type chassis. The six cars built in 1954 had the sub frame welded to the monocoque, but on later cars it was bolted on for easy detachment.
 
 Photo courtesy of The Chicane
 
Modifications Geared for Le Mans Advantage
Again Jaguar relied on the XK engine, but some modifications were made to limit frontal area. The sump was halved in height by switching from wet to dry-sump lubrication. The engine was also mounted at an 8-degree angle, with the off-centre bump in the engine-cover as a result. Mechanically, the only difference between the 1954 and 1955 “works” cars was the use of larger valves on the latter.
 
 
A small frontal area was high on the Jaguar priority list. This was to allow for high top speeds at the long Le Mans straights.
 
 Photo courtesy of The Chicane
 
To ensure stability at speeds of over 150 mph, the D-Type was equipped with a big fin behind the pilot’s headrest. Works cars built in 1955 were equipped with a longer nose for even higher top speeds.
 
 
This was very indicative of Jaguar's strategy, which had Le Mans as the only priority. During their racing careers D-Types often achieved speeds of over 180 mph down the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans.
 
 
 
Jaguar D-Type Race Results
Four “works” cars were entered in the 1954 Le Mans 24 Hours, including the prototype. Although the Jaguars were on the pace, it was not enough to match the 4.9 litre Ferrari.
 
 
In 1955 Jaguar returned to Le Mans 24 Hours with the large valve engine and long nose D-Types to take the marque's third victory.
 

 
In the following two years, Jaguar's owners were successfully defended by the Ecurie Ecosse team. Rule changes, limiting the displacement to 3 litres, unfortunately left the D-Types uncompetitive for 1958. Dozens of short-nose production D-Types were sold to privateers, which successfully campaigned them on both sides of the Atlantic and downunder in Australia.
 

 
Norman Dewis' Years at Jaguar
The Norman Dewis’ story at Jaguar is both of personal achievement and unique involvement in a heroic period of great cars in Jaguar’s history.
 
 
In a career spanning 33 years at Jaguar, as chief test engineer for Jaguar, Norman Dewis tested and developed a remarkable series of cars including:
C-Type, D-Type, XK 140/150, 2.4/3.4 and Mk 2 saloons, Mk VII/Mk VIIM,
E-Type, XJ13, XJ/XJ-S, and XJ40.
 
 
Norman worked as part of a unique team which made Jaguar great, including company founder Sir William Lyons, engineering director Bill Heynes, development engineer Bob Knight, aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, and service department and race team manager Lofty England.
 
 
To ensure stability at speeds of over 150 mph, the D-Type was equipped with a big fin behind the pilot’s headrest.
 
Below are just some of Norman Dewis' career highlights while at Jaguar:
 

 
• Dewis came to Jaguar Cars from Lea Francis in 1952, where his first job was to ride with Sterling Moss in the 1,000 mile Italian classic of the past, the Mille Miglia (what a way to start a new job!)

• Dewis drove the famous high speed 172.412 mph run on October 21, 1953 on the Jabbeke/Ostend Route, Belgium, in an aircraft canopied XK-120.

• Dewis raced in the 1955 Le Mans race, and finished 5th in the Goodwood 9 Hours race in the same year driving D-Type OKV 2.

• Dewis made the first drive of the E-Type research car -- E1A -- on June 13, 1957.

• Dewis made the first run of the 'Competition E-Type', referenced internally at Jaguar as 'E2A' on Monday February 29, 1960.

• Dewis, drove the now famous '77RW', under severe time restraints and weather conditions from Coventry to Switzerland for the world launch of the E-Type at the 1960 Geneva Auto Show.

• Dewis was the last person to drive the original one-off prototype XJ13 mid-engined 4,991 cc four cam V12 racing car in 1971.

 
The following segments are from an interview with Norman Dewis by Adrian Flux in March 2008:

What do you think of the safety levels
in today’s motorsport?

Well, the safety aspect is very important, but there have been so many driver aides introduced in motor racing these days – I do think it might be overkill. There’s traction control, no clutch, no gear lever – they don’t have to read the oil or the water temperature. It’s all done in the pits.
 


 
 
“When I was involved in racing, the pits were only for refueling or for sorting out a problem with the car. The driver ran the race.”

- Norman Dewis
 

 
All he needed from the pit crew was the lap board, which showed his position and his lap time. You had to work everything out and drive that race for yourself, a clutch and a gear lever to operate, plus you had to watch the temperatures. There was no traction control, so the back would go out, the lot. A 24-hour race was particularly tough because, throughout the race, the fuel levels changed so much that you had to constantly recalibrate your driving, based on the way the car was handling, due to the weight of the fuel. As you got tired, it was easy to fail to notice the subtle changes of the weight on the back end, and so that was when drivers made mistakes.
 

 Photo by Terry Larsen
 
What is your favorite
Jag of all time?

Ha! I get asked that all the time, of course. I think the E-Type was one of the best we ever made, but as far as personal feeling goes, the 1955 D-Type – the one I drove at Le Mans –is one I feel a real attachment to.
 

So how did you go about your job as chief test engineer at Jaguar?
I had to build up a whole department. There was one guy there when I arrived, but he just used to run the cars up and down the road. There were all sorts of people driving the cars and giving Haynes pieces of paper with feedback and suggestions. He knew it had to stop and there needed to be someone in charge of drawing it all together. So, I started by writing out the test procedures from the ground up. So between 1952 and 1975 I introduced over 600 test procedures. What that meant was that staff could pick up a book and read exactly the way that you needed to do tests for any particular bit of the car.
 

The procedure would detail exactly how to prepare the car, how to set up the instrumentation, and then how to do the test itself. It was a lot of work, but it resulted in some of the great cars that Jaguar produced.
 
Once we had signed off the prototypes, then the factory went ahead and produced the first couple of production vehicles. Then my team would take those and check them up to the level of the original sign-off standard.

 
Do you primarily consider yourself an engineer or a driver?
I consider myself both. For some unknown reason, I had this talent. I had the ability to see a machine and feel something, to feel some sort of insight. You can train to be a test driver – I had test drivers working for me. But to be responsible for picking something up that had never been seen – a new car, with new design – and to be responsible for bringing that car up to the point that it was good for the customer or good for racing, that was something special. Fortunately, I was able get into a motor car, spot any problems and have them corrected to the point that they were ready for sign-off to go into production.

The other unusual thing was that, at Jaguar, I was chief test engineer for both race and production cars. Most companies, like Ferrari, Mercedes and BMW, they had two test engineers – one for the production cars, and another for the racing team. But that was simply because [Jaguar founder] Sir William Lyons didn’t want to spend any more money on another chief test engineer!
 

 
“But having the advantage of being able to test certain elements on racing cars and then feed them into Jaguar production models was one of the things that made their cars so special.”  - Norman Dewis
 
 
So much of what we developed on the track – gearboxes, axles, engines – all rubbed off into the production cars. I don’t think that applies so much today. The racing car is usually a completely separate entity from the production version, no matter who the manufacturer is.
 
 
Norman Dewis completed over a million test miles at 100 mph-plus average speed. Norman also played a crucial role developing the revolutionary Dunlop disc brake, and survived high-speed crashes and rollovers in the days before seat-belts – and without ever breaking a single bone.
 

 
Norman was an integral part of the development history of Jaguar, he was directly involved with a wealth of new technical developments on key competition and road models in his 33 years at Jaguar.

Many notable race drivers and personalities such as Ralph Lauren own or have owned D-Types. Jim Clark’s car is shown here.
 


The Mastery of Fine Sports Cars' Engineer, Ashton Marshall
Fine Sports Cars' chief engineer, Ashton Marshall, has also been intimately involved with Jaguars since the mid-1950’s. He purchased his Jaguar D-Type (XKD520) in 1957, one of the 4 factory prepared cars sent to Australia to promote the Jaguar brand. The car had completed 2 seasons of hard racing and required a full restoration. On taking delivery of the car, it took him 12 months to complete the body, chassis, and mechanical restoration.
 

 
The car was then campaigned in local race meets and club events in 1958 and 1959 winning several 1st place trophies.
 
 
During this time Ashton was also in regular contact with the Jaguar factory in England, designing mechanical and aerodynamic improvements that would enable his car to reach in excess of 200 mph. Over the past 50 years Ashton has been in regular contact with Jaguar executives, the Jaguar factory, and Jaguar clubs who have helped provide original mechanical drawings and parts.
 
Today, with his vast knowledge and experience restoring and re-building D-Types, Ashton is able to construct a car that is exact in every detail to the original D-Type cars that rolled off the Jaguar factory floor in Browns Lane.
 
Fine Sports Cars will begin taking orders for the ten sanctioned Norman Dewis Sanctioned D-Type Jaguars – five “short nose” cars, and five “long nose works”.

A Rare Opportunity to Own a Sanctioned Norman Dewis D-Type
This a rare opportunity for both Jaguar and motorsport enthusiasts around the world to take delivery of a unique documented car that has a timeless design, great historic significance, and a proven race record.
 

 
Our cars will be hand-crafted to original specifications and produced with the input of Norman Dewis, Jaguar marque experts, and under the direction of Fine Sports Cars' chief engineer, Ashton Marshall.
 
  Photo: Norman Dewis with Fine Sports Cars Director, Dr. Michael Prior

Rarity Index: 87 cars: 53 customer D-Types, 18 factory team cars,
and 16 XKSS versions

Current Value of an Original Car: $4 million
Keith Martin's Sports Car Market auction price guide
 

 
It is now possible, for a fraction of the cost of an original car, to enjoy driving a legendary sports racing car on the world’s historic race circuits, surrounded by other cars no less mythical. Fine Sports Cars automobiles can be used in competition at selected vintage events, or registered for road use.
 
 
If your car is intended for use in vintage racing events, FIA Certification can be arranged on special request. Fine Sports Cars provides enthusiasts and collectors with faithful and accurate renditions of the world's rarest legendary cars.

Please contact us for to discuss the current price of the above car that will meet your requirements.
 
 

Fine Sports Cars provides extensive documentation
for the Norman Dewis sanctioned D-Type:

• An original chassis plate and original door plate from the period correct Jaguar donor car
• A numbered commemorative dash plaque
• A personalized binder with a numbered certificate, sanctioning each car’s historic authenticity. Each certificate is signed by motorsport legend Norman Dewis
• A copy of Noman Dewis’ personal and original notes on the D-Type Jaguar
• A history of the D-Type Jaguar
• A complete list of each car’s specifications and parts
• A personalized numbered door plate listing the Norman Dewis D-Type place of origin and manufacturer
• A 55th D-Type anniversary badge for the car

 

 
D-Type Jaguar - Original Build Specifications
Return to Top of Scroll
 
Norman Dewis Sanctioned D-Type
Built to Original Factory Specifications:
  
Frame and Body
 
• Integral frame and body
• Monocoque design structure
• Space–frame chassis forward of the firewall made up
from square-section tubes
• Hand-crafted all-alloy riveted body
• Lexan wrap around wind screen
• Two seat body complying with period FIA regulations
• Headrest, small fin or headrest only (customer choice)
• Spare wheel, jack, and knock off hammer carried horizontally
in floor of trunk
 
Dimensions
 
Overall length 12' 10"
Overall width 5' 5 3/8"
Scuttle Height 2' 8"
Wheelbase 7' 6 5/8"
Track (front) 4' 2", (rear) 4'
 
Engine
 
• Jaguar engine 3.4 twin overhead cam - short nose
• Jaguar engine 3.4 or 3.8 twin overhead cam - long nose (customer choice)
• Engine lying at 8 degrees to the left
• Manifold machined at 8 degrees
• Compression 9 to 1
• Cam timing depending on customers specific use
(Le Mans circuit or street use)
• Dry sump with oil pressure pump and single scavenge return pump
• Detachable bottom sump pan with cooling fins
• Dry sump oil tank with quick release filler cap
• Three type 45 Side-draught Weber carbs with 65mm long trumpets
and/or airbox
• Polished cam covers with D-type breathers
• Twin exhaust extractor pipes with expansion box or muffler
(customer choice)
• Alloy radiators; water and oil
• Generator
 
Fuel Supply
 
• Rear mounted fuel tank
• Alloy fuel tank with a rubber bladder
 
Transmission
 
• Steel competition flywheel
• Brog and Beck 7 inch multi-plate competition clutch
or factory in-stock multi-plate
• All-syncro 4 speed gearbox operated by central control level
• Alloy gear level shift knob
• Rigid rear axle
• Differential ratio 2.79 (200 mph speed record)
3.54 (standard)
2.93 – 3.31 – 3.92 - 4.09 – 4.27 -4.55 (customer choice)
• Limited slip differential (optional)
 
Suspension
 
• Rear suspension by trailing links and torsion bar
with telescopic shock absorbers
• Independent front suspension incorporating transverse wishbones
and torsion bars with telescopic shock absorbers
• Shocks by Koni, Girling or Armstrong (customer choice)
 
Brakes
 
• Brakes: solid rotors with three pot calipers
 
Wheels and Tires
 
• Peg drive on all alloy Dunlop perforated disc design wheels
• Peg drive hubs with 3 ear Jaguar knock off spinners
• Dunlop Racing Tires
      Up to 145 mph front/rear 600 x 16
      Up to 175 mph front 600 x 16, rear 650 x 16
      (note: Dunlop R5 tires are not road approved by USA DOT)
 
Steering
 
• Rack and pinion steering - RHD
• Wood rim steering wheel - three spoke
 
Interior
 
• Leather seats and interior
• Gauges with (period correct) D-Type faces
• D-Type horn and light (period correct) switches
• Instruments with (period correct) knobs
• Cotton covered wiring loom
 
Lights
 
• Lucas 7 inch long range driving lights
• Integral stop/tail lights with built-in reflectors
• Side lights
• Fog light (customer choice)
 
Long Nose “Works” Competition Car Specifications -
192.4 mph at Le Mans 1955
 
• Asymmetrical '35/40 head'
• Larger engine valves
• Camshaft lift increased
• Tuned exhaust system
• Full wraparound windshield added
• A larger rear fin extended back toward the tail ( small fin optional)
• 7" Longer nose bodywork added - overall length now 14' 8"
 
Additional features included on each car
- as suggested and approved by Norman Dewis
 
• Thermostat - for durability and fast warm up
• Additional scavenger sump pump - for durability
• Collapsible steering column, built into original casing – for safety
• Alloy-body, to be “bonded” as well as riveted – for long term durability
• Ballistic nylon foam filled, aircraft grade, fuel cell bladder – for safety
 
Optional upgrades available - as approved by Norman Dewis
 
• Multi-plate clutch (period correct)
• Balanced “alloy flywheel” to race specifications
• Alternator concealed in the original generator case
(for improved road lighting)
• Heavy duty starter motor for regular road use (period correct)
• Vacuum-assisted hydraulic brakes (period correct)
• Optional camshaft timing at customer request
• Original Lucas racing number illumination lights – as per Le Mans team cars
• 4 spoke Mike Hawthorn steering wheel
• Three type 45DCO3 Sand-cast Webers
 
Please Note: FIA Certification can be arranged on special request,
if your car is intended for use in vintage racing events
 
• Fine Sports Cars will arrange to apply to the FIA for race certification.
• FIA to issue an HTP (Historic Technical Passport) - certification for vintage racing

Return to Top of Scroll