Walt Hansgen was working at the family F.G. Hansgen body repair shop in Westfield, New Jersey when he was bitten by the racing bug aged 32.
In 1951 he managed to scrimp, save and borrow enough to buy a brand new Jaguar XK120 but despite ever improving results soon found it was not fast enough to keep pace with the competition and the new C-type Jaguar first seen in September 1952 in particular.
After racing in borrowed vehicles most of the way through 1952 Walt and Emil Hoffman built the chrome molly steel frame for today’s featured Hansgen Jaguar Special and transferred the running gear from his XK120 to save around 700 lbs in weight.
Photo Copyright Ed Hyman 2007
Walt is known to have raced the car on at least 9 occasions through 1953 winning the SCCA Regional Cumberland Cup third time out and culminated by winning the 6th Annual Grand Prix of Watkins Glen.
Walt sold the car to Paul Timmins for the 1954 season and continued racing with a C-Type he bought from Marsten Gregory until he was eventually picked up by Briggs Cunningham to race as a professional.
Paul scored at least four second place finishes from at least eight known starts in the Hansgen Special.
Photo Copyright Richard Rowley 2014
Today the Hansgen Special is owned by Bob Millstein who bought her in 1983 and set about a six year restoration which was rewarded with a Jaguar Club of North America’s National Concours Champion award in 1989.
Since then Bob has continued to race the Hansgen Special which is seen in these photographs at Lime Rock. Ryan ‘Racer 187’ Smith, seen in the Daimler in the top photo, tells me the Hansgen Special is up for sale. If you would like to know more about this piece of Hansgen History, I will gladly put you in contact with the vendor, usual disclaimers apply.
My thanks to Ryan Smith for arranging permission for me to use the first photo by Ed Hyman and the second by Richard Rowley.
Thanks for joining me on this “Hansgen History For Sale” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I shall be looking at an unusual Japanese Formula One Car. Don’t forget to come back now !