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 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. jaguar.com
The new sportiest shop-runner in town
Abarth, Fiat’s performance arm, returned to the rally circuit this year, but if you want to run some errands rather than drive up a mountain, they have you covered, too. The Italian carmaker’s take on Fiat’s 124 Spider is for those who want a racier roadster. A 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo engine ups the power from 140 hp to 170.
With a weight of only 2,400 pounds, the Spider boasts an impressive power- to-weight ratio that serves up zero to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds, with a topspeed of 143 mph. Abarth has crammed the engine in behind the front axle for a performance- enhancing near-50:50 weight distribution that further boosts the Spider’s sports-car credentials. A stiffer suspension, racing shocks and tightly set anti-roll bars suggest recreating scenes from The Italian Job on your way to the store.
Motor Merch: Dress up and drive on