Jaguar was dominant at Le Mans in the 1950s as a series of its sports cars were developed into racers. The XK120 started it all after World War II and the long-hooded sleek sports car set the styling and performance standards.
What grew from that was the C-Type racing Jaguar and now CMC produces the 1952 variant in several paint schemes and race trims. Our review sample was the unmarked British Racing Green model in 1/18 scale.
The XKC was William Lyons baby along with chief developer William Heynes, who designed the chassis and was launched in time for the 1951 version of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It used the XK120’s 3.4-liter inline 6 cylinder engine, but souped up to 205 horsepower. It also moved from the 120’s heavy chassis to a lightweight tubular frame to be more competitive.
The C-Type won on its first try at Le Mans, actually being driven to the track (no trailering then) prior to the event. The cars featured drum brakes, two SU carburetors and big air inlets on the long hood. For 1952 those became swept air outlets.
By 1953 the C-Type was in full form using three Weber double carbs and the body now a thin alloy sheet metal and a rubber fuel tank. Dunlop disc brakes also were added and a stronger anti-roll bar added up front and more suspension support in back. The result? A win, plus second and fourth-place finishes.
Eventually 53 C-Types were built, most sold to private owners for about $6,000 each. Now the survivors fetch millions of dollars at auction.
CMC delivers another beautiful finish in a deep British Racing Green that oozes Jaguar DNA. And like past CMC models this is a metal, not resin, model. Likewise, CMC goes into great detail again, the C-Type being composed of 1,155 individual parts.
The hood features leather straps and metal buckles, plus metal release handles to keep it in place. Once released you can flip that giant hood forward to reveal the detailed straight 6 with its twin carburetors. All the cables and plumbing are here, plus electrical wiring, even to the large encased headlights. With the hood up the engine is beautifully showcased.
Underneath you can see the engine’s bottom end plus a triangular front axle with wishbones, shocks and a longitudinal torsion bar suspension, all a Heynes design. This is all metal, no plastic being used in these out-of-view areas. You can see less of the rigid rear axle and its transverse torsion bar suspension due to the flat metal underside of the chassis.
CMC also delivers a stainless-steel grille, a hinged chrome gas cap on the bonnet behind the driver’s seat, and brown leather-covered seats in the sparsely equipped (as it was in the day) cockpit. There’s a large black steering wheel, a few detailed dash gauges, floor-mounted shifter and black pedals. One of the spiffier features is a canvass cover for the cockpit’s second seat. Pull it tight to get small magnets to fasten to posts inside the cockpit.
There’s only one door here, for the driver, but it is authentically hinged so the door swings outward. Hood venting is perfect too and there are tiny metal release handles low on the hood.
Where the rubber meets the road are Dunlap racing tires, treaded of course, and then CMC’s gorgeous stainless-steel spoked wheels and alloy rims. There are knock-off spinner lock nuts on each wheel, appropriately inscribed with “Jaguar.” You can unscrew the nuts to remove tires, but be careful as they are right- and left-hand threaded, so don’t mix them up. On the sample the wheels did not feel as well seated as I would expect though.
Yet visually CMC scores another victory with the Jag C-Type. Check out CMC’s website for all the varieties it will offer. – Mark Savage
Stock No.: M-191