Jaguar XKSS sportscar: repurposed unfinished D-Type chassis

The comeback kid:
The Jaguar XKSS Sportscar


News on wheels: Jaguar is about to complete its unfinished symphony, a D-Type chassis for road use. Abarth, FIAT’s performance arm, can now be driven through town with the new 124 Spider

The Jaguar D-Type won the 24 Heures Du Mans in 1955, ’56 and ’57, at which point Jaguar decided to pull the works entry and leave the racing to privateers. In a more austere age, it chose to repurpose unfinished D-Type chassis for road use and thus, the Jaguar XKSS sportscar was born. Twenty-five cars were planned, but only 16 were shipped before a fire at the Jaguar factory destroyed the final nine.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a history lesson. Jaguar has announced that now, 59 years later, it intends to complete the run.

The market for classic car rebuilds and reproductions is vibrant, however this isn’t that. At least not in the accepted sense. Jaguar calls it a “continuation model” – and if the nine new XKSSs are built by the original manufacturer to the original spec, they can probably get away with that designation. 

The Jaguar XKSS will have a 3.4-litre, straight-six engine

© Jaguar // YouTube

The Jaguar Classic team will be hand-building the XKSS models in Jaguar’s Experimental Shop, using the skills developed in the production of last year’s lightweight E-Types. While technology has moved on, time will stand still for the XKSS, with only materials and techniques that would have been used in 1957 being employed.

Deliveries will commence early next year.


The new sportiest shop-runner in town

Abarth, FIAT’s performance arm, returned to the rally circuit this year, but if you want to drive to the shops rather than up a muddy mountain they have you covered, too. The Italian car maker’s take on FIAT’s 124 Spider is for those who want a racier roadster.

A 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo engine ups the power from 140hp to 170. With a weight of only 1,060kg, that gives an impressive power-to-weight ratio that serves up 0-100kph in a nifty 6.8 seconds, with a top speed of 232kph. 

Abarth has crammed the engine in behind the front axle for a performance-enhancing near 50:50 weight distribution that further ups the Spider’s sportscar credentials. A stiffer suspension, racing shocks and tightly set-up anti-roll bars suggest recreating scenes from The Italian Job rather than doing the supermarket run. 

Abarth Fiat 124 spider roadster

A 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo engine ups the power from 140hp to 170. The 124 Spider reaches a top speed of 232kph

Motor Merch: Dress up and drive on 

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07 2016 The Red Bulletin

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