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Hawthorn/ Walters D-type Sebring 1955


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#1 Tony Lethbridge

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 22:01

I am currently attempting to add a 1/43 model of the 1955 Sebring winning D-type Jaguar of Mike Hawthorn and Phil Walters (XKD 406) to my collection. I have trawled through my books and magazines as well as previous threads here but so far have only come up with some very small images. Can anyone please tell me if the race number (19) was painted onto a black background on the fin, and did the side and front numbers have black roundels or were they white on green? I am aware that the car was loaned to Briggs Cunningham by the works but did it carry a registration number on the nose? My pictures are just too small to decipher what is actually there.

Your expertise would be greatly appreciated.

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#2 Carles Bosch

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 22:19

There are two pictures in Andrew Wythe's "JAGUAR SPORTS RACING & WORKS COMPETITION CARS FROM 1954", and there's no sign of black roundels. Anyway, the pictures are b&w, of course...

If you don't have these pictures, I'll post them here if there's no problem with copyright issues.

Carles.

#3 Tony Lethbridge

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 22:33

Thanks Carles. I would really appreciate that.

#4 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 03:47

There is a black & white picture of Mike and the rear of the car in "Annual Automobile Review". I can see the white 9 and cannot see any roundel. The paint work of the fin is shiny, so it doesn't look as if a roundel was painted on it.

#5 Carles Bosch

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 22:37

Originally posted by Tony Lethbridge
Thanks Carles. I would really appreciate that.



These are the two pictures:



Posted Image



Posted Image



Carles.

#6 Tony Lethbridge

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 08:02

Many, many thanks Carles. This is exactly what I need to complete the model. Thank you too Robin. I will be checking out your source.

#7 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 10:04

Was that car finished overall in green - or in black...?

DCN

#8 Jean L

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 11:49

The winner of Sebring 1955,if we consider it is the Jaguar #19 and not the Ferrari #25,is sometimes describe as black,but this factory car,XKD406,was very dark green at the TT54 and at Silverstone/mai 55.

#9 fines

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 14:17

I never really realised how much this car resembles the Disco Volante - which one came first? I believe the Alfa!?

#10 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 14:19

Originally posted by Jean L
The winner of Sebring 1955,if we consider it is the Jaguar #19 and not the Ferrari #25,is sometimes describe as black,but this factory car,XKD406,was very dark green at the TT54 and at Silverstone/mai 55.


The car was black when run on Daytona Beach and when tested at Sebring...

As for any resemblance to the Alfa DV - have the lenses misted up again Michael? :confused:

DCN

#11 Jean L

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 15:21

I have read somewhere that William Lyons hated the green colour and wanted his cars as less green as possible (and so almost black),is this correct or a legend ?

#12 D-Type

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 16:24

Originally posted by Jean L
I have read somewhere that William Lyons hated the green colour and wanted his cars as less green as possible (and so almost black),is this correct or a legend ?

I think you may have been misinformed. The works Jaguars raced in a 'normal' shade of 'British Racing Green' - fairly dark but certainly not nearly black.

I think the dark green almost black story originated when Masten Gregory drove a works Cooper. He held the [typically American] superstition about green cars being unlucky so Cooper painted his car as dark a green as they could. This effectively meant all the works cars became this very dark green as Coopers weren't prepared to repaint the cars between races depending on who the driver would be, nor did they want to enter a team of cars of differing colours.

#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 20:01

I have an excellent quality Kodachrome photograph before me taken at Daytona '55 and the D-Type on approval to Cunningham is plainly not green, but black. Did it remain so for Sebring?

DCN

#14 fines

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 20:13

Originally posted by Doug Nye
As for any resemblance to the Alfa DV - have the lenses misted up again Michael? :confused:

DCN

Sorry to breach your insular sensitivity ;), but there's definitely a resemblance!

#15 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 20:21

Fair assumption - but I suspect this might be a symptom of Eurovision... :cool:

DCN

#16 Tony Lethbridge

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 21:51

I must admit I am quite surprised to have opened such a can of worms, as all I intended to do was repaint a three quid model for my Hawthorn collection. Please tell me more! I am intrigued that the D type had been painted black and may have remained that colour for the Sebring race, as the reason for starting this thread was that my only photo source (a tiny LAT picture in the June 2004 issue of Motorsport) led me to think that the fin was painted black to highlight the white numerals.

The only reference to colour I could find was in Lord Montagu's book 'Jaguar' ( Cassell 1961). On page 141 he states " The works Jaguars were absent too, but Briggs Cunningham was pinning his principal hope on his newly acquired D-type which ran, incidentally, in British Racing Green, and not in the American national colours of blue and white which it was to wear at Le Mans in the summer." Chris Nixon, while not making any reference to the colour scheme, states in Mon Ami Mate that "the Coventry firm loaned a D-type to the American millionaire sportsman Briggs Cunningham, who entered it for the Sebring 12-hour race in mid March and invited Hawthorn to drive it with Phil Walters." thus I assumed (always a dangerous thing to do) that, given the LAT photo, it was painted BRG. Clearly this may not have been the case. But why black?

It does seem that JMH has left us something of a legacy of driving cars in unconfirmed colours e.g the green Ferrari in Argentina in 1953.

#17 Barry Boor

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 22:15

No question about the green Ferrari in the Argentine, Tony.

As for the Jaguar.... I haven't got a black one in my collection, but I just might have soon. :)

Duncan, I know the term British Racing Green encompasses numerous shades, but I think the version used on the factory D-types was very very dark; much darker than, say, what Vanwall, Connaught and Lotus used. As you said yourself, the factory Coopers were pretty dark - and I would have put the Jaguars in that area, colour-wise.

#18 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 23:16

For some reason, I have always assumed the Sebring D Type was black....

#19 Jerry Entin

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 15:31

Well, Don:
Ed Rahal remembers the D-type well. It appeared in practice only during the Fort Pierce National in Florida on February 27, 1955, where it was tested by Phil Walters in preparation for Sebring.
Ed Rahal says the D-type, the first one ever seen in the U.S., was dark BRG.
above as told to Willem Oosthoek.

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#20 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 16:42

If anyone would know, it would probably be Ed Rahal. Not really a surprise that it was a very dark green, but I am wondering where I got that impression, XKD 406 being black at Sebring? It was black at Daytona, as DCN points out, but B&W photos certainly make it difficult to tell black from dark shades of green. It obviously never entered my mind that they would paint it. Doh....

#21 Barry Boor

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 17:00

If it was green, I guess it must have been Jack Lewis green!

#22 Tony Lethbridge

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 20:16

No question about the green Ferrari in the Argentine, Tony.

As for the Jaguar.... I haven't got a black one in my collection, but I just might have soon.



I've read the thread on the green Ferrari, Barry, and am planning to add one to my collection. The Jag is currently dark green but the aerosol of black paint is on standby! Slightly off thread we have a couple of 'what if' models on the stocks, a '62 sharknose in Rob Walker colours, while a friend has a '68 Ferrari with a Scottish blue top as promised to Jackie Stewart by the Old Man.

In the light of Doug's colour photograph I remain curious as to why the Sebring D-type should have been repainted green instead of white and blue.

#23 Barry Boor

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 20:30

What, this one.....

Posted Image

Sorry to get O.T.

#24 Tony Lethbridge

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 21:14

Yes, that one! Glad somebody else shares the passion.

#25 Manfred Cubenoggin

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 11:03

Barry:

You ARE a wonder. :)

#26 Barry Boor

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 22:08

Yes, people have often said of me, "I WONDER if he will ever grow up!" :)

#27 lanciaman

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 12:43

It always surprises me when I see photos of Famous Cars driven by Famous People, and the machines appear so tatty.

Was there generally so little thought give to cosmetics? Was the standard of overall preparation as correspondingly casual?

When Penske first showed up at the IMS, there was a collective deep breath taken at the cleanliness and obviously high standards of preparation of his cars.

But when I see pics of a rasty D-Jag driven by Mr Hawthorn, adhesive-tape flapping in the breeze, it gives pause to ask: what was important to the teams back then in terms of race prep? Apparently tidyness was not high on the list.

#28 Catalina Park

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 12:54

Back then the important thing was winning the race.
These days the important thing is keeping the sponsor.

#29 drivers71

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 13:53

I believe XKD 406 only arrived in the USA during the week before the Sebring race, giving the Momo organisation no time for anything other than a cursory check of the car, before transporting it by road to Florida.
This may account for it's cosmetically 'tatty' condition? Nevertheless, it must have been in pretty good nick!
Given another week, my guess is it would have been painted white with blue stripes.........Thus obviating the need for this interesting discussion!
I only have B&W photos of it , like everyone else ):

WRONG!

It arrived in the USA during the week before the Daytona race meeting, a month before Sebring.
The remainder of the post (above) still stands. Phil Walters drove it at Daytona intwo races, including the Paul Whitman trophy. 20-21 February.
Walters won both races in it, so surely there are some photos out there?

#30 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 13:54

Originally posted by lanciaman
It always surprises me when I see photos of Famous Cars driven by Famous People, and the machines appear so tatty.

Was there generally so little thought give to cosmetics? Was the standard of overall preparation as correspondingly casual?

When Penske first showed up at the IMS, there was a collective deep breath taken at the cleanliness and obviously high standards of preparation of his cars.

But when I see pics of a rasty D-Jag driven by Mr Hawthorn, adhesive-tape flapping in the breeze, it gives pause to ask: what was important to the teams back then in terms of race prep? Apparently tidyness was not high on the list.


The overall preparation of most of the cars was often better than the appearance of those cars. However, the cars looked tatty because they were tatty, the sports machinery more so than the monopostos for some reason. Or so it seemed at the time, perhaps simply because it was more obvious, particularly since some of the Hero Machines were rather scruffy once you looked more closely.

One of the revelations for most Europeans was the AAA/USAC emphasis on appearance of both cars and crew personnel. Many of the reports on the "Monzanapolis" races raise this point time and again, commenting on how well-turned out the American machinery and their crews looked. SCI (or maybe it was C/D by then) did a light-hearted look at the contrasts between the American (Championship Trail) and European participants, their machinery and attire. In retrospect, it was really quite on the nose.

When Penske got the "collective deep breath taken at the cleanliness and obviously high standards of preparation of his cars," it was not at the IMS, but when he began to field cars in the Can-Am, USRRC, Trans-Am, and Continental series races. Others had led the way, Cunningham and Hall to mention only two of many, but Penske took it to a different level.

Returning to the mid-Fifties and earlier, preparation work tended to be focused on the mechanical bits with the appearance being far down the worklist. It was not ignored, simply not as important a priority.