Jaguar XKSS Roadster Recreation
When Jaguar announced its temporary retirement from racing in October 1956, 25 of the original 67 D-Type sports racers remained unsold. Jaguar’s answer was to convert them to road cars, designated XKSS. The central division between the driver and passenger was cut out, the head fairing was removed, and a passenger door was fitted. Side screens and a folding top provided weather protection. A full-width, framed wraparound windscreen with two wipers and a luggage rack rounded out the conversion, along with bright headlamp trim and delicate bumpers that foreshadowed the later E-Type. Of course, performance remained breathtaking.
Just 16 XKSS conversions were completed before a factory fire destroyed the remaining nine cars, plus the jigs and tooling on February 12, 1957. Two other D-Types, XKD 533 and XKD 540, were later converted by the works to XKSS specification as well. With its Le Mans-conquering pedigree, extreme rarity and shapely bodywork, the XKSS quickly became a favorite of the Hollywood elite, including Steve McQueen, who was an enthusiastic XKSS owner. Predictably, demand far outweighs supply and the cars are so desirable in fact that an amazing assembly of survivors was on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2010.
This vehicle is a hand-built recreation by Tempero Coach & Motor Co. of New Zealand, which creates bodywork for some of the world’s most desirable cars, using time-honored techniques. Faithfully duplicating an original 1957 XKSS, this recreation is based on a 1966 Jaguar E-Type chassis, with aluminum bodywork and equipped with a 4.2-liter Jaguar XK engine with triple Weber carburetors and a five-speed gearbox. The electrical system features modern-specification fuse relays and wiring for enhanced reliability. The cockpit is trimmed with rich red leather seat inserts and includes a padded dash and a floor console, while the floor and side panels were left bare to reveal the beautifully crafted aluminum.
Today, original examples of the XKSS rarely come to market, and when they do, they easily command multi-million dollar bids. This excellent recreation by Tempero is a very enjoyable alternative at a fraction of the cost.
Please note this 1957 Jaguar XKSS replica is titled as a 1966 by virtue of its E-Type underpinnings.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2012 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
300 bhp, 4,235 cc Jaguar XK DOHC inline six-cylinder engine, triple Weber carburetors, five-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with double wishbones, torsion bars and anti-roll bar, independent rear suspension with lower wishbones, trailing lower radius arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 96"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Ned Jackson