Dick Protheroe 1922 - 1966
Weare delighted to be offering one of the most famous E-Type Jaguars of
all. For being auctioned here is the first of three E-Types which were
made famous during early 1960s British motor racing meetings by Elmer
Richard Protheroe, the former RAF pilot and Gaydon V-bomber base
commander, who assisted Jaguar by providing the runways for testing.
Known by fans who lined the circuits at the weekends in great numbers
in those days as 'Dick' Protheroe became a regular winner in E-Types
carrying his celebrated `CUT 7' registration.
The very first right-hand drive E-Types to be released by the works were all roadsters and several, such as the Coombs, Sopwith, Sargent, Sturgess and Lambert cars, were immediately pressed into service on the race track. The first right-hand drive fixed heads were not delivered until late August/early September; the first, 860001, went to Henlys as their London demonstrator and was registered 1 VHP; the second went to Tony Davenport, who had been racing a 150 fixed head; the third to a Captain C A Ramsay and the fourth to Protheroe.
Included in the comprehensively stocked documents file is a June 24 1997 dated Vehicle Information Sheet from Jaguar Cars which records that their Browns Lane Coventry factory built Jaguar E-Type chassis number `860004`, a right-hand drive fixed head coupe, fitted with engine number `R1103-9' and finished in exterior paintwork colour `Opalescent Gunmetal Grey' with Dark Blue interior trim was despatched to the Walter Sturgess of Leicester, Jaguar distributors, on 13 September 1961.
Together with period racing equipment, and with his wife the former
Rosemary Massey of the famous tractor company family recorded in
factory chassis records as the first owner, 860004 was acquired at a
cost of £2006 8s 11d by Protheroe, by then retired from the RAF,
ran the coupe out of his relatively small garage business, County
Motors at Husbands Bosworth, who were Jaguar dealers. Car and driver
then raced extensively, not just in Club events, but also at
International level during the 1962 season. Indeed, Protheroe's results
in a car prepared in his own workshops were truly amazing and make
impressive reading - 3rd Snetterton 24 March, 6th Oulton Park 7 April,
1st Mallory Park 23 April, Ist and 3rd in two races Silverstone 28
April, 3rd Prescott hillclimb 6 May, retired Silverstone 12 May, 3rd
Brands Hatch 11 June, 5th Mallory Park 11 June, 2nd in class 100 Miles
Martini Trophy Silverstone 14 July, 1st AMOC USAF Trophy Silverstone 14
July, 6th overall and 3rd in class RAC Tourist Trophy Goodwood, 1st
Crystal Palace 1 September, 1st Silverstone 8 September, and 1st in
class Autosport 3 Hours Final Snetterton 29 September.
Such a record would be impressive for a factory driver, let alone a privateer in a self-prepared car. Indeed such was his reputation among the Jaguar competition specialists during the later 1950s and into the 1960s, that Protheroe was entrusted with the famous low-drag aerodynamic coupe, which also survives and carries his `CUT 7' registration which was bought from the Protheroe family by its current owner Lord Cowdray.
Protheroe earned a place at the head of the queue for an early E-Type from the factory thanks to his successes at the wheel of his aluminium-bodied lightweight XK120, CUT 6, which, through his acquisition whilst stationed with the RAF in Egypt, was known on the Club racer circuit as `The Ancient Egyptian'. On his return to the UK, he developed the car in the methodical way one might expect from an aviator. He kept his driving skills fully honed during the winter months by racing stock cars very successfully even though he had been forced to abandon his flying career following an accident which cost him the sight in one eye.
Upon ordering his first E-Type, the first to carry his trademark CUT 7 registration, although offered today with the 636 CJU road registration, the specification was upgraded with such competition components as 5¢-inch wide-rimmed lightweight wire-spoked wheels, close-ratio gearbox, D Type camshafts in the narrow angle cylinder head engine and triple Weber 45 DCOE carburettors.
His target in that first season was to secure the Autosport National Championship for Production Sports Cars and, with just one retirement in ten outings due to a broken throttle cable, he took the over 3-litre class win and was awarded the Norbury Trophy after four victories, two lap records and never finishing lower than sixth overall. Most noteworthy of all, though, was his sixth overall in the International category RAC Tourist Trophy 100 lap classic at Goodwood, where he and his trusty E-Type took a third in class behind only the two Ferrari 250GTOs driven by outright winner Innes Ireland and that year's F1 World Champion, Graham Hill.
With so much knowledge, Protheroe then began to prepare another E-Type for the following season, a replacement racer to which he would transfer his CUT 7 plates. With competition equipment still retained, this, his first E-Type was refitted with its road trim and sold on in January 1963 ("an ideal racing/fabulous road car", his ad in Autosport proclaimed ), eventually being restored to the original ex-factory specification in 1973. As for Protheroe himself, sadly the great man lost his life at the wheel of a Ferrari 330P in a practice crash for the 1966 TT at Oulton Park. However, numerous publications have carried material on this, his first E-Type, over the years so much of the car's competition history has been well documented.
More recently, in 1988, the car was once again restored to race-ready condition, following which it competed in the Tour Auto, the Gentleman Driver Series and the Silverstone Historic Festival among many other events. In 2001, the car won the inaugural Cloth Cap race at Donington Park, winning outright from a Gerry Marshall-driven AC Cobra. Among previous owners, some listed in the car's FIA papers, have been David Wilding, John Young, D Bell, Mike Moore and Colin Pearcy.
Among the most recent results achieved have been - 2nd overall Spa Six Hours, 6th RAC TT Celebration GT race 1960-1964 Goodwood Revival and 1st Plateau 4 Race Le Mans Classic, all during September 2002; in 2003, 2nd (behind a Porsche 904/6) Gentleman Drivers Brands Hatch May and 9th RAC TT Celebration Goodwood September; and, during 2004, 2nd (behind an AC Cobra) Plateau 6 Race Pau May, 2nd (behind a Lister-Jaguar) Plateau 3 Le Mans Classic July and 5th RAC TT Celebration Race Goodwood last September, the car being maintained by Techspeed Racing.
The car does have a current V5 registration document and could be driven on the highway, so could therefore be rallied or driven on the road between Special Stages, Speed Event venues or circuits. For while the 3.8-litre race engine in the car (a Crosthwaite and Gardiner prepped 3781cc XK straight six with iron block, aluminium two-valve head, twin DOHC and triple 45DCOE Webers) is reckoned to be producing a likely to be very competitive 350bhp at 6500rpm, among the spares is a freshly rebuilt Dennis Welch c320bhp engine, which is said to be entirely suitable for road/rally work and would therefore be ideal for the Tour Auto, for instance, where the car has been a regular participant and where entry would be welcomed again. The spec is superb, consisting of Moss box with straight-cuts and Salisbury hypoid limited slip, rack and pinion steering, Bilstein dampers at the front and Konis at the rear, and Dunlop L-section racers.
This car's entry has also been sought in the Gentleman Drivers Series (possibly the premier racing series for cars such as this in Europe today), Cloth Cap races at home and abroad, the Goodwood Revival (where it has been accepted for the past four years and finished 5th in very illustrious company only last season), and both the Le Mans Retrospective and the modern Le Mans support race (for which, we understand from the vendor, it would be eligible and has already been invited to take part). The latter events would provide an owner with a rare opportunity to race at the famous Sarthe circuit twice in one season, particularly prized being the opportunity to be able to drive at Le Mans during the morning of the world's most famous sports car race..
With steel bodywork and bonnet section in aluminium, the fixed head is presented today in Gunmetal Grey, the cosmetic condition being described by the vendor as concours. With all the very latest safety equipment required for competing at the top level installed, 86004 is reportedly also absolutely on-the-button and ready for serious competition in 2005. A spare set of four knock-on wheels and tyres are also included.
This famous Jaguar, which is not only blessed with exceptional history in both period and retro racing, and whose ownership should guarantee entry to all the top car events in the world, represents an exceptional and rare buying opportunity for bidders today.