Iconic Ecurie Ecosse cars race off for £8m

It took less than an hour for the vehicles from Scotland's Ecurie Ecosse racing team to sell. Picture: HEMEDIA
It took less than an hour for the vehicles from Scotland's Ecurie Ecosse racing team to sell. Picture: HEMEDIA
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THE world’s most comprehensive collection of racing cars from Scotland’s flagship team that won two consecutive Le Mans 24-Hour races in the 1950s was sold for almost £8 million at auction yesterday.

The vehicles, from Scotland’s Ecurie Ecosse team, raced from 1951 and won dozens of events, with drivers including Sir Jackie Stewart and his older brother Jimmy racing under its banner.

The seven cars and their blue transporter were sold at Bonhams in London. The collection, put together by racing fan Dick Skipworth, was sold in less than one hour for £7,909,000 plus buyers’ premiums which alone amounted to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The highest price was for a 1952 Jaguar C-Type two-seat roadster that went under the hammer at £2.6m plus buyer’s premium to an overseas bidder.

One of just 54 built, it was raced by Jimmy Stewart who “Flying Scot” Sir Jackie credits with nurturing his interest in the sport during his “dark” days at school where he suffered from dyslexia. A 1956 Jaguar D-Type “shortnose” two-seater, raced to victory by legend Ron Flockhart, fetched £2.3 million.

The highlight of the sale was the team’s iconic transporter – capable of carrying one car inside and two on top. The “unique” vehicle got a loud cheer in the auction room as bids soared past the £1m mark before reaching a winning bid of £1.6m.

“Other vehicles sold included a 1951 Jaguar XK120 roadster, hailed as the “most important 120 that has ever come to auction”, which went for £630,000 to a bidder in the auction room and a 1959 Tojeiro-Jaguar Sports-Racing Prototype that fetched £340,000.

The 1960 Cooper Monaco rear engine racing car in which Sir Jackie Stewart “won race after race” sold for £195,000. A 1962-63 Tojeiro endurance racing coupe made £190,000, while a 1961 Austin-Healey sprite two-seat grand touring coupe was bought for £54,000 by another bidder in the auction room.

James Knight, Bonhams’ Group motoring director, said Ecurie Ecosse was “perhaps Britain’s best-loved motor racing team”. Campaigners had tried to keep at least one of the vehicles in Scotland as part of the country’s racing heritage, but the Scottish Government was unable to provide funding from its culture budget.

Shonah Gibbon, who started the petition and Save Ecurie Ecosse Facebook page, said: “These were the days of Scottish motor sport when we weren’t just good, we were the best.”