A car doesn’t need to be produced in large numbers to capture the popular imagination or to have an outsized influence. That’s especially true of the Jaguar D-Type, of which less than 90 were built between 1954 and 1957. 

The Jaguar D-Type lent some of its body design and parts of its construction with the Jaguar E-Type when the latter appeared in 1961. A Jaguar D-Class XKSS also lent a certain air of class to the car collection of Steve McQueen, who, it must be said, knew a thing or two about car racing. While the D-Type has passed into history, it’s still highly respected and beloved, as evidenced by the 2.2 million pound price fetched by the last D-Type to go on the auction block in 2008.

Just how important was the Jaguar D-Type? When current Jaguar designer Cesar Pieri, who’s known as much for his artwork as he is for his design, conceived of the Jaguar Project 7 concept car, he reached back to Jaguar’s storied past and melded a D-Type with a Jaguar F-Type as a basis for the design. The car, which was first seen in the wild in 2013, went from drawing board to working concept in four months. What’s interesting is that the end result doesn’t look much like the D-Type or the F-Type, and yet manages to capture the essence of both.

While we’re waiting for the Project 7 to move from concept to showroom here at Jaguar of Peabody (we can dream, can’t we?), there are plenty of other options to tide you over in the meantime, from the D-Type’s “grandson,” the Jaguar F-Type, to the combination of ferocity and luxury that is the 2015 Jaguar XJ.