This is a completely new car, and it’s not from the 1950s. And no, it isn’t a Jaguar C-Type.
What is it?
I’m sorry to be so downer-oriented, but George Orwell’s gloomy warning in Nineteen Eighty-Four “Who controls the past controls future” has a surprising relevance when it involves famous cars.
The Ecurie Ecosse LM-C is not a Jaguar C-Type. It looks almost identical to one. Jaguar confirmed that 16 C-Type Continuations will be built, each one a nearly perfect copy of the sports car that won the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours. The LM-C was built by a company which takes its name from a well-known privateer racing team, but there is no official Jaguar branding.
Jaguar sued another C-Type replica maker on copyright grounds. This is why the careful distinction made here is undoubtedly a wise one.
It also reveals a deeper truth – something I have struggled to see even after carefully comparing the LMC with photos of authentic C-Types. This car is significantly larger.
Chris Randall from Ecurie Ecosse says that while the LM-C is 100mm larger and 50mm wider than a factory car, the proportions of the car are almost indistinct.
This is due to a fundamental change in purpose: the LM-C was not designed for motorsport like the C-Type. The changes allow for much more space in an otherwise cramped cabin.
However, the actual-world mission felt very possible on the day I drove the car. Contrary to the inspiring Scottish backdrop of these images, I test drive the car in rural Oxfordshire, in wet and wintry conditions. Weather protection is not provided by anything more than the LM – C’s Perspex screen cut down and a smaller pop-up window wind deflector.
There is a lot of differentiation under the skin. The LM-C is similar to the C-Type in that it has aluminium panels hand-formed over a chassis made from steel tubing. However, it also benefits from non-standard strengthening plates and various suspension mounting points.
Naturally, the engine is a Jaguar XK straight-six, but it has a capacity of 4.2 litres. All the fuel-injection gear and emissions control gear required to pass the IVA testing have been added (see right). The engine produces a respectable 300 bhp. It is driven to the rear axle by a five-speed Tremec transmission similar to that used in late-era TVRs.
The LM-C weighs in at just 1000kg. This is especially considering the 185-profile Avon Turbospeeds that are responsible for steering, powering and stopping the vehicle on the soggy, cold asphalt. Ecurie Ecosse doesn’t have any electronic safety measures.
This car is not for the faint of heart. Its lumpy idle can sometimes be harmonising and sometimes slowing down to countable beats. The abrupt accelerator response and clutch are difficult to get used to when passing through Henley’s one-way system.
My trepidation does not continue beyond the first sign of restriction. The rears only have a limited ability to produce longitudinal grip, and corners indicate that lateral loads aren’t going any higher.
The LM-C clearly flags its limits, but the unassisted slack free steering delivers proportional front-end responses and what feels like unambiguous feedback. However, this is largely about growing slip angles.
It is reassuring to find that the rear end grips more than I expected. The front follows the front with a faithful follow-through unless provoked. This is possible because of the accelerator pedal’s sensitiveness. However, the joy of driving lies in managing the relationships between the axles and trying to get the most out of each at relatively low speeds.
The cockpit is still snug, even though it’s larger than the C-Type’s. They are much more luxurious, with a leather dashboard facing the C-Type’s painted metal and a pair of Tag Heuer stopwatches attached to it.
Although the switchgear is more modern than its 1950s counterpart, it is still mounted in a discreet offset panel on the right-hand. The steering wheel is made of wood and sits between the speedometer and the tachometer. The needle on the latter moves anti-clockwise as in the C-Type.
The rest of your driving experience is similar. The manual gearshift is solid and light, and the all-disc brakes are effective once they have woken up. This is much better than what I had seen in 1950s classics.
Even though the engine sounds fantastic, it quickly becomes apparent that the car is most happy when it rides at the top of its mid-range.
The aero screen works well if you sit low and are moving at a reasonable speed. However, if you slow down, it can cause your vehicle to get wet.
Although it is unlikely that anyone will use the car for winter work, its ability to handle any challenge is impressive. It is one of those cars that makes every journey feel like an adventure. However, if I had to choose, I would prefer warmer and dryer conditions.
Do I need one?
The C-Type Continuation’s C-Type Continuation is distinguished by its usability. This is due to the Jaguar being designed for historical competition and not road registration. Although the LM-C’s design is clearly based on the same principles, the key difference lies in its ability to carry numberplates. Although it’s not an original car, it’s a highly entertaining vehicle.
Ecurie Ecosse won’t produce a large number of the LM-C. It plans to make more cars inspired from the outfit. While PS516,000 is a considerable price tag, it offers a significant savings over the unreported seven-figure sum needed for the C-Type continuation. Another argument that Orwell’s famous quote is correct: “Who controls what is happening now controls what will happen in the future.”