Jaguar D-Type Bonnet Auctioned to Create Scholarships for New Collector Car Mechanics

A rare and beautiful piece of racing history was sold at auction with funds to benefit Piston Foundation

A 1956 Jaguar D-Type long-nose bonnet sold at auction by The Piston Foundation in December raised $16,500, funds that will go toward the foundation’s scholarship programs.

The anonymous highest bidder was not just the bonnet’s winner, but is now also the steward of an amazing story in which a handmade piece of sports-car history will help fund career opportunities for young men and women who want to pursue careers in automotive craft, restoration specialties, and service. The auction for this rare and beautiful piece of racing history was held through the Foundation’s auction partner,, and closed December 7.

The Jaguar D-Type bonnet comes from the collection of Joel E. Finn, award-winning author and race-car driver. Joel became one of the country’s foremost historians of motor racing and, as an active competitor, raced for fifty-five consecutive years at Watkins Glen and on the storied tracks across the U.S. and Europe. The bonnet was graciously donated to the Piston Foundation by Joel’s wife, Ann Smith Finn, who discovered it tucked away in the couple’s eighteenth-century barn after Joel’s passing in 2017.

Miles Morris of MM Garage, whose father raced against Finn, remembers seeing the bonnet years ago. Miles, along with Jaguar specialist Terry Larson and Chris Keith-Lucas of CKL Engineering, confirmed the all-aluminum bonnet was hand-built by well-known coachbuilders Williams & Pritchard for Lynx Engineering using an ex-Works/Briggs Cunningham D-Type as the pattern, during the restoration of Jaguar XKD558, a chassis later owned by Finn.

“Lynx’s heyday was the ’70s and ’80s. Modern car construction has done away with a majority of skills; you don’t fix or mend. A lot of the skills of hand-built cars have disappeared. If you do crash your D-Type, there are only a handful of people in the world who you can turn to now,” Miles said. “The Piston Foundation’s support for skilled trade education is very important. There is quite an industry out there and we need skilled people to keep these cars running.”