Introduced in 1954, the D-Type would go on to carve a place for itself in motor racing folklore by completing a hat-trick of 24 Hours of Le Mans victories between 1955 and 1957. Although notionally based on the C-Type, which also saw success at the Circuit de la Sarthe, it was very much its own car.
While it borrowed its rear suspension, all-round disc brakes, and 3.4-liter XK engine from its equally-exalted predecessor, the D-Type’s structural design came instead from the application of aeronautical technology -- then a novelty for competitive car racing. Its distinctive profile -- complete with stabilization fin -- was largely the work of Malcolm Sayer, who leant heavily on his aviation industry experience.
Despite being plagued by mechanical issues on its Le Mans debut in 1954, the D-Type finished second, boasting a maximum speed well in excess of the winning Ferrari. Its subsequent victories at both Sebring and Le Mans -- all achieved with the redesigned, longer nose modeled by this 1955 car -- would duly secure its status as a track icon.
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