Clearly, the XK120 was never going to be competitive against pure sports-racing cars and something had to be done to maintain the head of steam and the precious publicity it was accumulating.
The 24 Hours race of Le Mans had the right ingredients as it was technically demanding, famous in America, conveniently close and with factory entries such as Aston Martin, Ferrari, Talbot, Frazer Nash, Allard, and some of the best private team such as Cunningham, it promised a keen competition.
A new secret project began with the XK120C with the suffix “C” for “Competition” soon known as C-Type. Tubular chassis with Alloy body panels, hydraulic dampers, rear live axle with torsion bar springs & torque reaction couplings.
The secrecy was maintained up to the eve of the race. The XK120 waistline was preserved but no doubt this was a different car. Three cars were ready with 200bhp but two had engine lubrication failure and the third driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead coasted to victory.
The season was rounded off with Stirling Moss, a star of Le Mans team and winner of the TT, scoring two more wins at Goodwood. Had there been a sports car world championship in 1951, Jaguar would have won it.
Source. The Jaguar file by Eric Dymock