C and D Types
In 1950, Leslie Johnson spearheaded Jaguars assault on the classic Le Mans 24 hour race, and took his near standard XK120 to third place, leaving many outright racing sports cars trailing, until failing brakes led to an overstrained clutch and eventual retirement. Despite this retirement, Heynes was convinced that, with a special competition version of the XK120, it would be possible to win at Le Mans.
Lyons agreed and authorized a special competition version of the car aimed at winning the race in 1951 no small task given that the pressure of work on developing the Mark VII saloon for production left them with only six months in which to prepare before the race in June.
The engines power was increased by more than 30% to 210 bhp, by means of a new high compression cylinder head with bigger carburettors and a better exhaust. In addition, a new chassis was designed with torsion bar rear suspension and the whole car was clothed in a new body. The chassis was very different to the XK120s, being made mainly from steel tubes to save weight without sacrificing rigidity. The rear suspension was designed with trailing links for better traction than was possible with the standard leaf spring arrangement.
The result was the XK120C, or C Type as it became known.