1963 Proteus C-Type Replica
From the Tresham Collection; one-owner and 1,500 miles from build in 1996; all-aluminium body; Jaguar running gear; Swallow Engineering 3.8 engine with Powermax pistons, high lift cam, C-Type head, 2" SU carbs; foam-filled racing fuel tank; disc brakes all round; very quick; very beautiful
Widely regarded as the most beautiful Jaguar of all time, the immortal C-Type was launched in 1951 with one aim in mind – to win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
This it succeeded in doing at its first attempt, a C-Type driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead coming home some 7 miles in front of the second placed Talbot-Lago entered by a French team. In 1953 the feat was repeated in spades with C-Types coming home in 1st, 2nd and 4th – being helped enormously by the fact that they now had disc brakes on all four wheels.
The bad news is that only 53 C-Types were made and assuming you could find one for sale, you would probably need over £6m to buy it. Virtually all the survivors belong to American billionaires so let’s face it chaps – you just ain’t gonna get one.
The good news is that, unlike an equivalent Ferrari or Maserati, the engine from the C-Type was basically the same XK unit as fitted to every Jaguar saloon made up until the mid ‘70s, so it is possible for a determined engineer to make a very convincing replica.
The original C-Type was powered by a tuned version of the 3.4-litre engine from the contemporary XK120, initially producing some 205bhp in SU carburettor form, but rising to 230bhp with Weber carbs fitted. The lightweight tubular chassis was designed by Bob Knight and the aerodynamic aluminium body by Malcolm Sayer.
Replicas come in all shapes and sizes, but the very best are few in number and all have one thing in common: a craftsman-built aluminium body rather than an inferior fibreglass shell.
Proteus made their first replica in 1980 and have since honed a reputation for making the most unerringly faithful kits available, evolving from the GRP bodies of the first cars to the flawless aluminium bodies of the latest cars using the Superform process. This uses heat and gas pressure to force the sheet aluminium of the outer panels into dimensionally perfect body moulds, a state-of-the-art technology, pioneered by Morgan in car production, and now used by Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce for the ultimate fit and finish.
Our vendor bought his Proteus kit in 1992 for £16,226 which included an aluminium body; powder coated tubular steel chassis; aero screens; special wheels and hubs; radiator; full exhaust system; prop shaft; fabricated wishbones; wiring harness in cotton braiding and a tonneau cover.
Over the next four years he and a friend, a retired motor engineer, built the car up into the magnificent specimen you see today. He estimates that over 3,000 hours were spent on the build and the quality is plain to see.
The engine is a 3.8 XK unit that was rebuilt by Swallow Engineering with Powermax pistons, a high lift cam, C-Type head and twin 2” SU carbs (although the V5C erroneously states 3,442cc). The gearbox is a 4-speed Jaguar unit with overdrive on top. Other features include Spax suspension, disc brakes all round, rack-and-pinion steering and a foam-filled racing fuel tank.
The instruments were all specially made by Vintage Restorations of Tunbridge Wells and the seats were expertly trimmed in leather by ex-Brown’s Lane trimmer Mick Turley of Suffolk & Turley fame. A set of Willans safety harnesses are also present.
Once the build was completed in August 1996, the car was submitted for inspection by DVLA and allocated the SABTVR VIN number shown below. DVLA correspondence on file confirms that it was able to retain the 444 FXN registration number of the donor car (which is transferable) and the V5C records it as a 1963 Jaguar Sports 3442cc Historic Vehicle which makes it exempt from paying car tax.
Finished in mirror-smooth British Racing Green, this gorgeous looking car has only covered 1,532 miles from build which has included a few runs up Shelsley Walsh and Prescott. It has never been out in the rain and has been kept in heated storage as part of a collection of equally fine machines. The attention to detail is most impressive, from the quality of the leather bonnet straps to the Dunlop Racing tyres.
Little used in recent years due to illness, we are told that it has been started and run regularly to keep everything free. It has certainly been starting promptly and running well as we have moved it around on site with good 50psi oil pressure.
As good an example as you could ever wish to find, this beautiful C-Type replica offers all the looks and performance of the original at a fraction of the cost. Who wouldn’t love to have it in their garage?
This is one of nine Lots entered from the Tresham Collection.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
Reg No: 444FXN
Chassis Number: SABTVR037466232396
Engine Number: 7J51693-8
Engine Size: 3781cc
Docs: V5C; old style V5C; 3 old MOTs; invoices; Proteus assembly manual; DVLA correspondence
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