C-Type Tools from 1953?

Does anyone know what if any tools were carried on-board the 1953 C-Type Le Mans cars. I assume they may have had basic tools for simple roadside repairs, possibly a jack and knock-off hammer, but I don’t have definitive proof of what they may have carried. It was also not uncommon for some teams to carry shovels for digging out of sand traps, but again, I don’t know if Jaguar did this.

As C-types were built specifically for racing, and in particular with Le Mans in mind, it would seem to me that they would not have had tool kits. One, added weight and, two, high maintenance and repair frequency required during pit stops as well as pre and post race would require a variety of tools impractical to carry in the car itself. My two pence, anyway.

Incidentally, a 1953 Le Mans C-type took best in class at Amelia Island last week. It appears at 1:08:52 in the video below:


I can’t claim a great lot of intimate knowledge of the C-Type, so I looked through “Jaguar Sports Racing Cars” by Philip Porter and a couple of other books, and I noticed a few things.

Agreeing with Nick, one would suppose the racers would not carry anything not absolutely necessary, just things they might conceivably actually use if broke down somewhere out on the race course too far from the pits.
The C-Types had a spare tire, and also there is a picture of a set of spare spark plugs stuck into holes in the RH door sill. It is not clear to me whether the plugs were in all cars or just the one in the picture.
So logically they would have carried a jack, knock-off hammer, and possibly a tube type plug spanner (wrench) long enough to reach down there, and tommy bar handle.

One picture showed a car with two ignition coils, so presumably if one failed the driver could change to the other one, just using his fingers, or there might have been a switch.

There was also a picture of a horn. I wonder why a racer would need a horn, perhaps to signal the pits?

There is a funny story I read somewhere about Prince Birabongse, how he was in a race and had a flat tire. He had never changed a tire before, and though he had the tools he did not really know how to do it. He could not accept help from any of the spectators, so he had to give up.


I also had seen a picture of the spare plugs somewhere. Agreed the tools would not have been required at a circuit race, but don’t forget the C Type was sold as a Sports Racing Car, and as such was road registerable, often driven to and from races, even by the factory, and competed in road races such as Dundrod, Mille Miglia and Targa Florio, so surely carrying tools would have been a sensible idea. The added weight of a small toolkit would have been marginal compared to the inconvenience of not being able to effect a simple repair due to the lack of one.

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Hi Nick,
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I had thought of both of your points, however the rules of the AOC at that time stated that in the event of an accident or break down, no outside assistance could be rendered and any and all trackside repairs could only be carried out by the driver, so it was not uncommon for cars to be equipped with minimal spares and/or tool kits for basic repairs. The corner sand trap at the beginning of Mulsanne was infamous for grabbing cars and many teams stashed small folding military style shovels for this very reason. I was at Amelia Island this past weekend and did get to see the '53 winner there.

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Paul, two aspects to your question.

  1. Despite years of research/effort I have yet to see a ‘reliably original’ C-type Tool Kit, but have indeed seen/have photos of the unique to C-type Jack and Jack Handle.
  2. I have copies of internal factory engineering records and schedules that fully detail a C-type Tool Kit to part number, and brief description level, and added engineering comments re materials used, and whether made-in-factory or bought-in from an external supplier. All parts numbers have been cross-referenced to the same tool as used in other model Jaguars of the same period as the C-type, so same as used in XK120 and/or Mark VII saloon - APART from the Jack and Jack handle that are unique to the C-type.
  3. The factory listing also details minor variations to the Tool Kit over the 1951 to 1954 period of supply/use…
  4. So yes, C-type most definately had a extensive Tool Kit, including Jack, and I know exactly what it looks like… Only thing is - as above - I have never confirmed a reliably original survivor…
  5. Clearly the nature of a C-type being used primarily for racing, its most improbable that the tool kit was actually carried in the car when racing, so quickly was removed/lost stowed away, and I dare say C-type race teams would have used their own preferred tools/equipment. Bear in mind even with the XK120 which was predominantly a road car, it is rare to find a reliably/original XK120 tool kit still in its original XK120…
  6. It is ‘unlikely’ that the factory ‘works’ C-types were ever physically supplied with a tool kit, noting these works cars were never ‘dispatched’ new to a customer - so unlikely that when Jaguar sold them off as used cars later on, whether they included a tool kit or not.
  7. But it is most probable that ALL the ‘Production’ C-types that were sold new to private customers, did indeed have a tool kit, as this was a requirement of Jaguar satisfying ‘homologation requirements’ for the C-type to be eligible to compete in ‘Production Car Sports car’ events…

If your question specifically relates to the factory ‘works’ C-types that competed at the 1953 LeMans event, see above re ‘works’ cars, versus the ‘production’ cars sold to private customers…


Thank you so much for your reply. Great info. As I stated in my original post, I’m doing this research as a favor for another party that has one of the Le Mans C-Types. In fact, it is the 1953 winner. It’s not for my benefit, but I know that they would be interested in any information that is available. Would you be willing to share the information you have collected with me/ them?
Thank you again for your detailed reply,



Contact me direct at: rogerpayne@bigblue.net.au


Here you go, right out of the Factory Parts catalog.


Thanks Dick!

Gotta love it! Pecked out on a typewriter.
“We’ll only need 50 carbon copies, Miss Fenton. No need to send it to the printer.”

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Enjoy this photo…the full Jag tool kit…just got to fit it all in the car now :joy::joy::joy:


Speaking specifically of the cars with a documented competition history, would there even be any other race other than the 24 Hours at LeMans where they would even be required to carry their own tools to service the car? It could be that these are extremely rare and little documented because it was something they only used once a year.

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Interesting point. You may be correct, but I would think that other races in the same series would have had the same regulations. I don’t know this for a fact, but it would seem logical. Unless, it had more to do with the nature of the circuit; long distance, high speeds, etc… IDK. Spa and Nurburgring from that time period had similar and even longer (respectively) distance laps than Le Mans as well, so I don’t know if this theory holds up either, but your premise would be the same whether it was once a year or a few times a year.

The C-type both works and production cars came with a tool kit. It’s very similar to the 120 kit of the period. The jack is different though. It’s a Smiths hydraulic jack with a special cast aluminum hook. I’m currently in the process of rebuilding my jack, changing out the cup seals. I’ll post some photos a little later of the tool kit, jack and the build sheet stating the exact tools (part numbers) used in the kit.
The tool kit and jack were stored in a box under the passenger seat. Regulations required this for Le Mans, but it was also needed for Reims, Dundrod, the Targa Florio, Mille Miglia, and many other races I suspect.
Here is a photo of Peter Whitehead changing the rear wheel of XKC012 during the 1953 Dundrod race. Note the jacking position and Thor hammer.


I did an article some years ago on Jaguar Bucket Seats including those of the C-type. My research delivered the following information in relation with C-type tools.

*C-type seats were handed: the complete Drivers Seat (RH side!) was coded BD.7921, while the Passenger Seat (LH) had part number BD.6566. They were handed because the Passenger Seat should hinge forward to give access to the large toolbox mounted beneath it and as a result the passenger sits higher in the car than the driver, in spite of the fact that the seat cushion of the Passenger Seat (BD.6588/1) is much thinner (and less comfortable!) than the Driver Seat Cushion (BD.6562/1).

According to Norman Dewis (Jaguar’s well-known test driver) this (Le Mans regulation) toolbox of XKC 003 was removed for the 1952 Mille Miglia and the passenger seat could have the same height as the driver’s seat. Tools were then carried in a roll in the boot.*

Bob K.


Bob is correct. The two seats are designed very differently. The passenger seat on my C-type was also cut down for the Mille Miglia but in 1953. This was so Mort Goodall’s head did not stick up in the slipstream as he was a tall chap! The tools and jack were also moved to the boot for that race, and most likely the following race at the Targa Florio.
Bob where can I find this comment from Norman? I would love to add it to my archives.


Would love to see a photo of the passenger seat tilted forwards and the box underneath…was the seat hollow underneath…was the seat in one piece or did the seat back also tilt…lastly can you see the hinges that tilts the seat forward if looking in the cockpit…thanks…Steve

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Thanks to all for the great information!

Is this it? I found these pix on a web site that says it was supplied for the C, D and XKSS. Made by Smith’s for DWS, different side lugs available as supplied by Abbey Panels.
Abbey Panels_4