In conjunction with the Racing History Project the Automobile Driving museum now has the 1954 Sutton Jaguar Special on display through April.
In 1953, Ed Wilder of Santa Monica began racing his Jaguar XK-120 at places like Santa Barbara Airport, Reeves Field in Long Beach, March Air Force Base and Willow Springs, all iconic racetracks in the early days of Southern California sports car racing.
We can only surmise that Ed wanted to go faster and commissioned noted coach builder Jack Sutton, then S & S Autocraft to build a one-off supercharged racing special utilizing a custom tubular chassis and aluminum body, reducing the weight by 1000 pounds and moving Ed into a class competing with Ferraris and Chevy Specials.
After a couple seasons, Ed apparently wasn’t happy with the body shape and arguably functional hood scoop so he commissioned Sutton to build another body. The result is the car we see today.
At some point the car was acquired by Robert Chamberlain, known to compete at Torrey Pines in his MG but no history of racing the Jaguar Special. After many years of leaving the car to languish in the care of Chamberlain’s widow. Richard Van Rozeboom then acquired the Jaguar Special and completed a full restoration. Under Richard’s ownership he ran several races at Laguna Seca and exhibited at the 1983 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance. It is on loan for the current exhibit from a local car collector.