Reborn! The Jaguar XKSS is Going Back into Production After 59 Years
In 2014, Jaguar tantalized the collector car scene when it announced it had not only held onto six previously unfinished “Lightweight” E-Type chassis, but would also finish that production run… a whole 50 years later. Now, Jaguar is back at it again and finishing production of another historic piece of its legendary history—the Jaguar XKSS, a road-going version of the hallowed Jaguar D-Type race car. In 1957, a fire at the XKSS’s Browns Lane factory destroyed nine of the original 25 cars, leaving just 16 of the roadsters to be sold. This year Jaguar Classic will rebuild all nine of those “lost” cars to the exact same specifications. That said, each of these continuation models will carry a price tag in excess of £1 million, or about $1.4 million, so if you want one… you better start saving. RELATED: Take a Closer Look at the Rare 1956 Jaguar D-Type
So why so few Jaguar XKSS cars produced? The XKSS was the clever idea of Jaguar boss Sir William Lyons, who had been sitting on a surplus of relatively slow-to-sell D-Types. Despite winning both the 1955, ’56, and eventually the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans, the decision was made in January 1957 to convert all of the remaining 25 D-Type race cars into street-legal roadsters, hence the birth of the racy XKSS.
Modifications were few, but included a new higher windscreen, the addition of a passenger’s side door, and the removal of the cockpit divider and famous rear fin. The D-Type’s XK6 straight-six engine remained ever present.
Most Jaguar XKSS cars were sold to buyers in the US market, exploiting the strong demand for fast European sports cars, and just as the D-Type was fast on track, the XKSS was blisteringly quick on the road. Hollywood and motoring icon Steve McQueen even had one, which he nicknamed the “Green Rat.”
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Jaguar says it will hand build each of these nine lost XKSS cars at its “Experimental Shop” in the British town of Warwick, and the first customer cars will arrive in early 2017.
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