Jaguar XKSS

Jaguar XKSS - Phoenix from the flames  

words: Justin Hynes

Out of the ashes of a fire at Jaguar’s factory that destroyed the originals, nine new cars have been reborn

The odds of getting your hands on a Jaguar XKSS, often referred to as the original supercar, aren’t quite as monumental as those of winning the lottery – they’re worse. In order to pocket the keys to one of just 16 known examples, you’ll need to pick the lucky numbers just to get the funds to enter the real lottery to buy one.

Need proof? Last month an original XKSS, chassis 716, was put up for sale by US auction house Gooding & Co. It was the first time an XKSS had come to market since 2005 and the conservative pre-sale valuation was an eye-watering €17 million. 

Lucky, then, that Jaguar last year decided to offer a ‘budget’ alternative, priced at a mere €1.2m. The only catch is that just nine all-new, perfectly detailed examples of the XKSS have been made – and they’re all sold.

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Why nine? In January 1957, a few months before its D-Type racer would take five of the top six places at Le Mans in the hands of privateer drivers, Jaguar called time on its works motorsport programme. Left with 25 D-Types, the decision was taken to homologate them for sale in the lucrative US market. 

Sixteen were built and eventually shipped. However, on the night of February 12, 1957 a devastating fire broke out at Jaguar’s Coventry plant and the remaining nine cars were destroyed. 

Almost 60 years on, Jaguar’s Classic division intervened, announcing last year that it would build ‘continuation’ versions of the nine lost XKSS cars to the exact specification of the originals – featuring perfect recreations of every nut and bolt, from the 262hp, 3.4-litre, straight six-cylinder D-type engine, to the grain of the leather seats, the brass knobs on the dashboard, even the original Smiths gauges


Die Legende geht weiter. #Jaguar #XKSS

Nice Curiosity

Problem solved, right? Not quite. Because the cars are built to exact 1957 spec, they don’t satisfy current emissions or safety standards. It means that the cars can’t be legally driven on the open road and owners are being advised that they’ll have to seek individual permissions or stick to closed circuits or private roads. At €1.2m a pop, we’re pretty sure the owners will have those in their back yards already.

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05 2017 The Red Bulletin

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