Reincarnation Magazine

Reincarnation Magazine
Continuation, Reproduction and Replica Automobiles
Rein Car Nation Cover Spring 2020
						1 Proteus C Type
What Would You Give?

Proteus C-Type up for internet auction

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

At the risk of tarnishing my shred of automotive credibility, I’ll admit that I’ve driven just two classic Jaguars ever, both the illustrious E-Type. Both experiences were absolutely sublime, as the E-Type was like nothing I’d ever experienced before.

But in terms of the full experience and classic six-cylinder thrills, the E-Type learned everything it knows from the legends that preceded it — going all the way back to the XK120 and competition-bred C-Type. What I wouldn’t give to get behind the wheel…

Building on the strengths and success of the XK120, Jaguar constructed 53 competition-spec cars fit with aerodynamic aluminum bodies and lightweight tubular frames. The XK’s 3.4-liter, twin-cam six-cylinder was upgraded from 180 to 205 hp and disc brakes were used on all-four corners.

The C-Type delivered on track too, winning the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans on its first attempt in 1951, and then again in 1953. Legends such as Phil Hill, Stirling Moss, Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt helped to solidify the C-Type’s icon status, reinforced by the exemplary Jags that followed it.

Status, rarity and beauty make the C-Type better than your average blue-chip collector, and only a precious few cars have traded hands in recent years. A ’52 C-Type with extensive competition history was sold by RM Sothebys in 2017 for a massive $5,285,000, effectively guaranteeing that you and I will never drive one. Dying to sample a C-Type, but don’t have a few million to spare? Then check out this Proteus C-Type replica up for online auction on BringaTrailer.com.

Founded in 1980 in the U.K., Proteus Sports and Racing Cars has constructed roughly 260 high-quality C-Type replicas. With 3.4-liter engines being hard to come by, Proteus cars are generally powered by refurbished 4.2-liter XK engines and manual transmissions. A tubular chassis inspired by the original forms the foundation of the build, topped off by aluminum bodywork and period correct finishing details. More recently, Proteus has employed a new metal working process called Superforming, or superplastic forming, where the metal is heated before being forced over a die by gas pressure. The process leads to a more standardized and repeatable part, and saves time as well.

This particular Proteus offered for auction on BringaTrailer.com appears to be an earlier example, evidenced by its 3.8-liter engine and fiberglass, one-piece bonnet. The odometer shows just under 58,000 miles, and the ad reveals that the car’s original owner, actor Malcolm McDowell, drove the car quite regularly. Even so, the C-Type looks to be in fantastic condition, and evidence of its maintenance and care can be seen thought.

The exterior of the Proteus also looks the part, finished in British Racing Green over painted wire wheels. Engelbert Competition tires from Michelin are fit on all-four corners and a pair of Brooklands screens are installed in addition to a full-width windscreen.

The interior is spartan, as would be expected, with just a pair of black buckets and a bit of carpet installed. Smiths gauges monitor critical engine functions while a pair of stopwatches add in extra nostalgia.

With such few examples to compare to, it’s tough to put a precise number on the sale. Lesser C-Types can be found now and then for under $100,000, while higher quality cars ask $125,000 and more. With the reputation of Proteus, we’d expect this car to exceed that mark. Sure, that's no small chunk of change, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the original, and worth it for your budding Jag enthusiast looking for a taste of Le Mans.

See the C-Type here on BringaTrailer.com.

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