Page 1 of 1 Le Mans winners in 1956 and 1957 with ex-works Jaguar D-Types, the private Ecurie Ecosse team had lost their edge when a three-litre displacement limit for sports cars was introduced in 1958. Team principal David Murray realised that the reduction in power had put additional emphasis on aerodynamic efficiency and so he commissioned John Tojeiro to build a particularly slippery car for the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. It would join the vast Ecurie Ecosse stable, which in addition to the trusty D-Types also included a Lister and an earlier Tojeiro on loan from John Ogier.
The new Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro was built around an enlarged version of the 2.4 litre Jaguar XK engine created for the team by chief engineer 'Wilkie' Wilkinson. The 'square' engine (both the bore and stroke were set at 86 mm) was equipped with three twin-choke Webers. It was mounted in a straightforward steel tubular frame with double wishbones at the front and a DeDion rear axle. The new Tojeiro was clothed by Williams & Pritchard following a Cavendish Morton design, which included a tail-fin mounted behind the headrest. One of the advantages of using the 2.4 litre engine instead of downsizing race-bred 3.4 litre was that it was substantially lower, which in turn meant the new Tojeiro Jaguar had a smaller frontal area.
Following a brief test, the car was finished in Ecurie Ecosse's familiar blue and white colours and shipped over to France. Alongside one of the team's earlier D-Types, also equipped with a Wilkinson engine, the slippery Tojeiro Jaguar was fielded for Ron Flockhart and Jock Lawrence. Although slightly overweight compared to the competition, the two British drivers faired well and were running fourth at the six-hour mark. Sadly after 11 hours, the engine started to leak coolant and eventually overheated, prompting the car to retire. Upon later inspection, the engine had run with very high compression, which probably caused the head gasket to eventually blow out and start the leak.
After the D-Type's engine had failed as well, Murray decided to go the more conventional route and fit a reduced version of the 3.4 litre engine for the Tojeiro's next outing; the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood. This did required the addition of a bulge to the engine cover to clear the taller straight six. During the race, the car was shared by the highly experienced Masten Gregory and a very young Jim Clark. Both drivers struggled with the car's handling and Gregory eventually crashed the car at Woodcote Corner. This was the end of the car's contemporary racing career, although it has since been revived and is regularly raced in historic events. Ecurie Ecosse continued with three-litre D-Types before commissioning Tojeiro to build a brand new mid-engined machine for 1962. Page 1 of 1