Jaguar prowls at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb (part 2)

Be sure to check out part one first !

 

XK120 Jaguar at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race in 1953

The early years recap.

The first year was 1953 and then jumping ahead to 1958 the first four XK120 Jaguar trips to the Summit accomplished a best time of 17:20. Frank Bramley took the all Jaguar three car field win in 1953 . There was no sports car class from 1954-1957 at the Peak .The return in the fifty eight race was the last for a XK120 and Frank would again bring the fastest Jaguar time, but the time of 17:20 was only good enough for 7th place.   The 1960’s would bring larger fields, larger engines and many new fiberglass bodied entries among them would be also be the next brand of Jaguar race cars.

D-Type at Pikes Peak

The D-Type Jaguar was a factory built race car with a limited production of around twenty factory team cars and 50 customer cars. These were bar none the best of the breed and they demand astronomical prices today, if you can even find one that is for sale. Bill Krause bought his D-Type (serial # XKD-519)  in 1956 and tore up the local tracks in California. Taking wins at Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, and Willow Springs . The dark blue car wore yellow “Von Dutch” scallops and pinstripes. First raced with the factory Jaguar 3.8 liter engine and later replaced with a bored and stroked 327 Chevrolet Corvette V-8.  Yes, many crazy American’s would update the D-Type’s to V-8 power during the hay day of sports car racing.  It was just cheaper and easier to build horsepower out of the V-8 platform then what you could get out of the Jaguar designed engine.

PPHC 1960 Bill Krause

A  Jaguar D-Type with a Chevy V-8 wasn’t what the Jaguar purist wanted to see at Pikes Peak, but it was most definitely what the hill climb fans wanted. The gorgeous, curvaceous, streamlined, European body and an American V-8 motor. What a combination ! The sports car field was divided into three groups for the 1960 event by engine displacement. Bill’s D-Type would be in the Group One Unlimited Class 3001cc and up, along with several Corvettes, a Ferrari Testa Rosa and five fiberglass bodied V-8 powered race cars , a Devin, a Victress and 3 locally built fan favorite BoCars.

Left to Right, Ferrari Testa Rosa, D-Type Jag, BoCar at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race 1960

Bill Krause was fast during practice and garnered much attention, he would qualify second in time trails  Unfortunately on race day Pikes Peak would see the worst weather in PPHC history. The weather started out mild and intensified as the day wore on. The Sports Car Class ran last after the Championship and Stock Car classes and would receive the worst of the weather. The storms would be hit and miss along the course, the local newspaper accounts used words like “Furious” and “Chaos” to describe the mini storms. Some of the driver raced in the rain and sleet, while other experienced blowing snow with white out conditions.  Just getting to the summit was the challenge for the sports car class in 1960 regardless of the time.  

During practice PPHC 1960 D-Type Jaguar Bill Krause. Notice face mask
Sports Car Class results 1960 Pikes Peak Hill Climb race.

By a handful of second (less then five),  Bill Krause finished in second place. He made it to the top even with the challenging weather and the hopeless traction loss, all thanks to mother nature. He would go back to Pikes Peak in 1961, would things work out better ?

PPHC in 1961 and “TWO” D-Type Jaguar’s ?

Bill Krause ran a different paint scheme in 1961 at Pikes Peak. White body with blue scallops and red lettering. A second D-Type Jaguar was entered by the “Gambles Racing Team”  with John Barless from Minnesota as the driver.

The Barlass entry is somewhat a mystery. Just a few mentions of the team prior to race week and nothing from practice, time trails or race day. My guess is the car was also entered at the race on July 3rd at Continental Divide Raceway the day before the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Perhaps there was a mishap during practice there prior to coming to Pikes Peak ?  The race track at CDR is just up the road from Colorado Springs and during the raceways short lifespan, races were scheduled on the off day before the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race drawing more competitors for the two races. Bill Krause would cooked his Jag’s blown and stroked engine at CDR prior to race day at Pikes Peak in 1961. Could both Jaguar’s been causalities ?

Bill Krause 1961 at the Official Mobilgas station
Experiencing overheating problem during practice.

During practice Bill’s ‘Jag-Vette” was experiencing overheating issues perhaps an early warning to the upcoming engine failure later in the week.  As mentioned earlier, Bill was one of those who entered in both the CDR event on July 3rd and the PPHC on July forth. The team would jump back and forth from Colorado Springs and  CDR (outside of Castle Rock Colorado), to practice each course during the week leading up to the holiday weekend racing.  During qualifying for Pikes Peak Bill Krause would take first place in time trails , but blow the 327 Corvette engine Friday during practice in Castle Rock for the CDR race. Was his weekend over?  Not if his crew could help it.  The team didn’t have any spare Corvette motors but a local Chevrolet dealership had 283 short block available . Swapping out as many parts as possible the team got the car running again except with much less horsepower. The weather wasn’t an issue in 1961, thankfully, and even with an under-powered car, Bill Krause would take second place in class with a time of 14:49.7. That would be the end for the D-Type Jaguar’s at Pikes Peak.

Does the Bill Krause D-Type Jaguar still survive ?

Serial number XXD-519 raced from 1956 to 1961. It’s last recorded race was the 200 mile event on October 15th 1961 at Riverside. Later reports have said the car was returned to a Jaguar engine and painted a factory yellow color and shipped to the UK. Some say it is still alive and well.  I have no pictures or info for the current owner or previous owners. If you have additional information please contact me.

E-Type

Jim Anderson of San Luis Obispo California would bring an E-Type Jaguar to the Sports Car Class in 1963.

E-type jaguar in 1963 at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race.

The car was listed as a “Mustang Special” and qualified 11th out of the  field of 13 cars. Once again the Sports Car Class ran as only one combined field regardless of engine size. On race day he would finish with a time of 17:42 . 10th out of 10 cars making it to the summit. Three did not finish.

Hope for another Jaguar victory at Pikes Peak ?

Justin Law brought an F-Type Jaguar to the PPHC in 2015. Let’s hope it is the beginning of a new trend.

For more information on this wonderful car check it out at:

http://www.carbonrev.com/motorsports

http://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/videos/a26091/jaguar-f-type-pikes-peak/

If you liked part one and part two of  “Jaguar prowls at Pikes Peak’ let me know. Thanks for checking out this blog !!

 

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