The world’s most comprehensive collection of competition cars from Scotland’s flagship team that won two consecutive Le Mans 24-Hour races in the 1950s is among early consignments for one of the first sales to be held at Bonhams’ newly redesigned and refurbished London headquarters.
Scottish businessman and amateur racing driver David Murray founded Ecurie Ecosse in November 1951. From a humble garage in a cobbled Edinburgh mews, operating invariably upon a shoestring budget, this proudly Scots blue-liveried team would take on — and beat — some of the biggest names in world-class motor racing, and would win consecutive Le Mans 24-Hour races for Jaguar in 1956 and 1957.
Had David Murray not crashed at the Nurburgring during practice for the 1950 German Grand Prix, his now-legendary team might never have been born. Backed by fellow Scottish enthusiasts he had founded Ecurie Ecosse as a cooperative syndicate, running mainly Jaguar sports cars expertly prepared under legendary mechanic ‘Wilkie’ Wilkinson. The team went on to earn both international and industry respect. It would count future three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart and his older brother Jimmy amongst its drivers, and would compete in both sports car classics and single-seater Grand Prix racing.
In just 10 seasons, Ecurie Ecosse scored some 68 victories, including its twin Le Mans laurels, both achieved with its D-Type Jaguar cars co-driven by Ron Flockhart, Ninian Sanderson and Ivor Bueb.
The team was disbanded in 1972, but reformed in 1982 under new direction, with its drivers still competing in the British GT Championship and the European Le Mans Series.
The Bonhams Sale of Important Collectors’ Motor Cars and Automobilia on Sunday 1 December will feature a private single-owner collection of eight Ecurie Ecosse vehicles.
Among highlights of the Dick Skipworth Ecurie Ecosse Collection are two sports-racing Jaguars — a 1953 C-Type and a 1956 D-Type. The Collection also features the iconic Scottish team’s famous double-deck Commer car transporter. The restored transporter — famous to generations as subject of a much-coveted Corgi toy — is capable of carrying three cars (one inside and two on top) together with support crew, and even features an onboard workshop.
A well-known and respected figure in the Collectors’ Motor Car fraternity, Dick Skipworth has for many years been a regular competitor in historic races and rallies. He has been virtually lifelong an ardent fan of Ecurie Ecosse.
The Dick Skipworth Ecurie Ecosse Collection comprises:
- 1952 Jaguar XK120 Roadster
Typifying the foundation of Ecurie Ecosse as a Scottish cooperative racing team, this XK120 was campaigned in period by Sir James Scott-Douglas.
- 1953 Jaguar C-Type
Raced in period for Ecurie Ecosse by the team’s future Le Mans winner Ninian Sanderson, and also by Jock Lawrence, Jimmy Stewart (late brother of Sir Jackie) and Frank Curtis.
- 1956 Jaguar D-Type
A short-nose ‘D’ without the fin – the most beautiful of all variants - and a debut-race winner for the Scottish team driven by Ron Flockhart.
- 1959 Tojeiro-Jaguar
This unique Tojeiro-Jaguar is one of the most distinctive of all modern-era Historic sports-racing cars having been campaigned most prominently by Barrie Williams.
- 1960 Cooper T49 Monaco
Campaigned in period, including Le Mans, by Bruce Halford, Tommy Dickson and – most notably during his meteoric rise to World Champion invincibility – Sir Jackie Stewart.
- 1961 Austin-Healey ‘Sebring’ Sprite
The delightful and distinctive little Coupe, recalling the Scottish team’s 1961 Le Mans foray with drivers Ninian Sanderson and Bill Mackay.
- 1962 Tojeiro-Buick Coupe
Designer John Tojeiro’s ultimate Le Mans 24-Hour race contender, the subsequently V8-powered rear-engined Coupes proved to be forerunners of the 1963 Lola-Ford Mark VI GT and the Ford GT family.
- The 1959 Commer Ecurie Ecosse Transporter
Designed by aeronautical engineer Selby Howgate and immortalized by Corgi’s classic 1:48-scale model – in fully restored running order with its unique bodywork by Alexander’s of Falkirk and Commer TS3 flat-six diesel engine.