Each automotive manufacturer has a story to tell and a period in time that defines the marque, setting the standard for their brand and future. For Jaguar it was the golden age of motor racing; the 1950’s. The C-Type had become a well-known winner on circuits across Europe but was quickly finding the need for further engineering as the likes of Ferrari and other class competitors further developed their cars with the goal of not only a win at LeMans, but a Manufacturers Championship as well. By 1954, Jaguar had developed an all-new monocoque design with further improvements to suspension, braking, aerodynamics and overall ability to perform. This new D-Type would kick off a winning streak that has etched the company into automotive history. Not only was the D-Type a pure bred performer but it was the basis for development of the E-Type and a true marvel of racing technology in its day.
With approximately 71 D-Types built (18 factory and 53 customer) they are indeed rare, coveted, and highly sought after. Rod Tempero’s contribution to the D-Type story starts in New Zealand and a long tradition of coach building; with family roots in the industry since 1949 and three generations of expert craftsmanship. Tempero built cars have long been known for their quality and extraordinary craftsmanship that often equates to blue-print copies of some of the worlds most famous cars. Amongst their creations are Maserati A6G’s, Ferrari Testarossa’s, Aston Martin DBR2’s, and many others. All completed to exacting standards leaving even well educated inspectors to contemplate the authenticity. In short, these hand-built recreations are as good as it gets, in every possible way.
The example on offer, a 1957 Jaguar D-Type by Tempero, Chassis # 740170BW is a short nose variant and is the 4th in a series of about 25 D-Types built by Tempero in the 1990’s for a classic car dealer in Florida. They were completed in batches of 5, and all were hand crafted and produced from scratch with only the engine, transmission, rear end, and VIN # borrowed from a MK Saloon donor car. The rest required months of bending aluminum over wooden bucks, hammering, heating, cooling, and fine tweaking until only an exact copy in proportion, line, and design matched that of the original. It is the close attention to detail that separates a “replica” from a recreation, and this is carried throughout the entirety of the build right down to seating, center console, electrical fuse box position and wiring etc… there is nothing skipped and there is no expense spared.
The condition of the short-nose D-Type on offer is excellent. So many of these cars are justly used, driven, raced, and enjoyed all over the world on back roads, racing circuits, rallies and the like. As a result many are often weathered, and slightly rough with heavy patina. For a racecar, and especially a recreation there is nothing wrong with the inviting character that gives an added feeling of a genuine racing car. However, the example on offer stands alone in condition and presentation. This car has been well tended to over the years, seldom driven hard and in and out of collections since it was new. Its most recent owner; a prominent East-Coast collector spared no expense in making sure this example was absolutely perfect both cosmetically and mechanically. As such, receipts in excess of $20,000 accompany the car for services performed by the well-known restorers/race prep mechanics at Vintage Motorsports of Malvern, PA where the car was completely serviced and brought up-to-date. After which it was sent to Richard Mullin Coachworks, also of Malvern, PA to receive further paintwork and detailing throughout. Ultimately bringing the car up to a concours quality presentation with no excuses or flaws to be addressed.
Cosmetically, the car shows extremely well with straight aluminum panels, smooth contours and pronounced rivets per the original. Leather straps are properly replicated, Plexiglas headlight covers, wind screen, and bonnet locks all add up to a job well done with no major flaws present. If further nit-picking brings anything to light it should be mentioned that there is a faint depression/dent behind the passenger side portion of the body directly behind where a passenger’s head would be if sitting in the cockpit. Faint and likely not captured in the photos. The only other item to be found is a touched up scratch about 1 inch in length on the drivers side rear ¼, one or two instances of small star like cracks in the paint and the front windscreen shows one small area of stress. None of which would ever be worth addressing, nor do they detract from the overall theme and presentation of the car. Otherwise there are no real faults and it is quite a handsome purpose built machine to admire.
Climbing on board one can find the continuing British Racing Green color scheme with the Seats and center console appropriately wrapped in leather, per the originals. The dash and point of view from the driver seat and surroundings are a near exact match to Mike Hawthorne’s view while barreling down the Mulsanne Straight. The steering wheel is really the only item that could stand for a replacement. Originally this car was fitted with an exact copy of the ubiquitous 3 even spoke steering wheel found on D-Types. It was later switched out for the current wheel, as it is smaller in diameter and was the preference of a previous owner. Everything has a very genuine feel to it, very real and purposeful with nothing extra. The cockpit is an inspiring place for a driver with only the bare necessities in order to go fast. The seats show some wear and there are maybe one or two blemishes, but overall it is as expected and faithfully presented.
The engine bay is perhaps the one place on this car that may give away that this is not the “real deal”, but only to well versed Jaguar D-Type aficionados. All of the elements are present, between the 3 Weber Carburetors, Lead block separator, equal length headers, aluminum rounded header tank and the like. While the originals were 3.4L cars and later production saw 3.8L examples (some with fuel injection as well), this D-Type utilizes a 4.2L variant of the LeMans winning Twin Cam straight 6. It is however merely a basis for a power plant as the entirety of the engine is rebuilt from a bare block to a competitive yet reliable race engine, running best on race fuel. The apparent addition of a dry-sump system as noticeable by the reservoir on the passenger side firewall gives a very genuine representation but is actually for show and acts only as a breather. This is a wet sump motor, but with the trade off of less to go wrong, and increased reliability for someone looking to enjoy this D-Type while not pulling g-forces in a corner. The wheels are proper Dunlop replicas, 15” wrapped in new reproduction Dunlop tires per the originals that were used at LeMans. Heat sensitive with period handling characteristics.
As one may have noticed from the photos and video there was quite a bit of fun to be had in capturing the beauty of this car. It also gave LBI a chance to know absolutely everything about this car and how it performs and makes one feel. There is no doubt that the experience behind the wheel of this tremendous machine is identical to the real thing. It is exhilarating and relaxing all at the same time, with an overwhelming sense of authenticity. At about 5% of the cost of a real XKD serial numbered example, this Tempero built masterpiece offers an inexpensive thrill that will rival the real thing in most ways. Becoming widely accepted and increasing in value the Tempero D-Type will provide the basis for continuing collectability due to high quality, but even more so will be a worthy event contender and a joy to own.