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Styling the Jaguar C-type

Styling Inspiration? By Philip Porter

By Philip Porter

In view of the legal turmoil currently in the Jaguar C-type world, I thought it might be amusing to dig out a few pages from my very first book, published in 1984. 

Very new to this writing game, I had a short chapter at the conclusion of the book entitled Styling Themes. I cheekily floated a few thoughts on the similarities between various models of Jaguar and … Bugatti.

C-type Jaguar style

It is probably quite well-known these days that one can see the essence of the very stylish XK 120 Fixed Head Coupe in various pre-war Type 57 body styles and particularly the Atalante. Less well known is that pre-war SS built a one-off SS Jaguar 100 Coupe, along similar lines.

The prototype 120, code-named the XL, appears akin to the T57 45 Bugatti ‘tank’ that was taken to Le Mans for practice in 1937 but not raced.

The Type 57 re-bodied post-war and named the T101 has a look in the treatment of its lights, grille and front wings, that would become familiar with the XK range and the later small Jaguar saloons.

C-type Jaguar style similar to Bugatti

However, to get to the point, there is some dispute at the moment about the copyright in Malcom Sayer’s C-type shape. I find it amusing to highlight the similarities with the racing Type 57s with streamlined bodywork, nick-named the ‘tank’.  

The more you study motoring history, the more you discover that nothing is new!

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Donald Toms - February 19, 2021

The most egregious example of Jaguar’s plagiarism can be found by comparing the XK120 and the 1940 BMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadsters. And indeed, the Fixed Head Coupes with the Bugatti Atalante roof line.
Shame on Jaguar for this judicial injustice !

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