Nine examples of Jaguar’s XKSS, the road version of the Le Mans-winning D-type, are being built to replace those destroyed during a fire at the factory after only 18 of 25 had been built
Jaguar has announced that it will build nine new examples of its famed XKSS sports car produced in 1957, each costing in excess of £1 million.
The XKSS was a roadgoing version of Jaguar’s D-type racing car, which won the Le Mans 24 Hours race in successive years from 1955 to 1957.
By that time the D-type had become obsolete so Jaguar boss Sir Williams Lyons took the inspired decision to convert 25 remaining D-type racers into road cars, with a taller windscreen and a door on the left for a passenger. The section of bodywork separating the two seats was also removed, along with the distinctive aerodynamic fin behind the driver.
The first deliveries of the new Jaguar XKSS will start in early 2017, with each car being hand-built at Jaguar Classic’s new Experimental Shop in Warwick.
It is referred to as a continuation car, as it is a faithful replica of a vehicle no longer in production and built according to the original blueprints.
The original 25 XKSS cars were earmarked for export to the USA, but only 16 were completed before a fire at Jaguar’s factory in Browns Lane, Coventry, destroyed the remaining nine.
Now, 59 years later, those nine “lost” cars will be replaced, to be sold to what Jaguar describes as “a select group of established collectors and customers”.
Tony O’Keeffe of Jaguar Land Rover Classic said: “A number of continuation XKSS cars have been sold already, more than half, but we wanted to ensure some cars were made available to the public.”
Original cars, whose owners included film idol Steve McQueen, rarely come up for sale but are conservatively valued at more than £10 million.
O’Keeffe said that he knew of a genuine original car currently for sale privately at $18 million (£12.7 million) and that they are so rare and coveted that you’ll never find them at auction.
The XKSS isn’t the first Jaguar continuation. In May 2014 it announced a run of six Lightweight E-type racers to complement the 12 original cars that left the Browns Lane factory in 1963, bringing the total amount of genuine lightweight E-types to 18, the number that was originally intended. It has applied the same logic for the new XKSS and intends to build on the expertise gained during construction of the continuation E-types, which were all sold before production commenced.
Like the original, each XKSS will have a 3.4-litre, straight-six engine developing 250bhp. Every car will be constructed to the same specifications as the first 16 made in 1957, with every aspect fully certified by Jaguar.
Other famous continuation cars include the 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Zagato, as well as the Ford GT40 and AC Cobra.
In mid-March, Jaguar Land Rover renamed its Heritage business as Jaguar Land Rover Classic. It is a division of JLR’s Special Operations and is dedicated to providing cars, services, parts and experiences to owners and fans of classic Jaguars and Land Rovers around the world.
Tim Hannig, the director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, said: “The XKSS occupies a unique place in Jaguar’s history and is a car coveted by collectors the world over for its exclusivity and unmistakable design.
“Jaguar Classic’s highly skilled team of engineers and technicians will draw on decades of knowledge to ensure each of the nine cars is completely authentic and crafted to the highest quality.
“Our continuation XKSS reaffirms our commitment to nurture the passion and enthusiasm for Jaguar’s illustrious past by offering exceptional cars, services, parts and experiences.”
If the six exquisite Lightweight E-types produced last year are anything to go by, that £1 million price tag has to be something of a bargain.
Currently sitting proudly in our London Classic Car Showroom are two beautiful Jaguar’s from different era’s of the iconic brand’s life. Click through to our website for more information.