CJC member Lawrence Baxter arrived along with another gentleman (more on him later) just at the beginning of our new members welcoming meeting held at that
Starmount CC in Greensboro. They both had very red faces. Embarrassed to be arriving so late? No! They had just arrived in an open top Jaguar C-Type by Proteus. Did I mention that it was in the 30’s that morning.
The gentleman with him was Chris Randall , the Director of Motorsport for Hofmann’s of Henley, who are dealers for Lotus, dealers in fine collector cars, and most im-portantly the constructors of the Proteus C-type (http://www.hofmanns.co.uk/about/team). He leads the Pro-teus team and is a renowned race car driver in his own right, racing all over Europe (Le Mans, Nurburgring, Goodwood, Donington Park, etc.) and in the US (Sebring, Daytona 24). He races a Lotus now, but has raced a wide range of cars in the GT and C classes.
Chris has played a central role in designing and implementing the current series of Proteus C-type Recreations (www.proteuscars.co.uk). The CEO and major owner of Proteus is Nigel Forsyth, who is also the Chairman and part owner of Lynx Motors (International) Ltd. (http://www.lynxmotors.co.uk), so Proteus and Lynx are sister companies in a way. Lawrence Baxter’s company,
Bespoke British Sports Cars (www.bespokebritishsportscars.com) is the exclusive North American dealer for both Proteus and Lynx, so Chris is a kind of business associate of Lawrence. The XKSS Lawrence is bringing out (hopefully at Little Switzerland) is being built by Lynx (www.lynxmotors.co.uk/index.php?option=com_galcl&view=galcl&Itemid=10z0).
The biggest problem with the Jaguar C-Type is that it’s become an incredibly expensive car. That means that few will have the privilege of owning one, or even driving one. It’s easy to dismiss replica cars as not being the real thing, but perhaps we should give recreations a second look, if they can offer much of the experience of some-thing like a C-Type to a wider audience.
After the meeting Lawrence let members get their hands on his C-Type replica built by Proteus, which isn’t cheap at around (don’t quote me) $170,000, but is a lot cheap-er than the $13 million example that sold at auction last year. So then, the Proteus C-Type replica is more attainable than the real thing, but its replica status also has some other benefits.
Lawrence pointed out that many of the mechanical components are modernized too: The brakes are Willwood discs, the engine is a fuel-injected 4.2-liter XK straight-six from a later Jag, and the gearbox is the ubiquitous Tremec T-5. Proteus also uses modern technique to keep production costs low. But even with all this modernity, this C-Type still feels like a classic–the sort of car where you steer with both the wheel and the throttle but has the safety and reliability the original lacked.
Several members, Bruce Robillard and Gregg Gaylard took the C for a test drive. If the smile across their faces was any indication, Proteus has hit the mark.