Jaguar XKSS Replica by Temporo
In October 1956, Jaguar announced its temporary retirement from motor racing, and by that time, 42 production D-Type sports racing cars had already been produced. Demand had dried up, however, so 25 of the original batch of 67 cars remained unsold. Jaguar’s answer to this problem was to create a proper road-going version of the Le Mans-conquering D-Type, called the XKSS. Plans for the conversion to the XKSS were discussed by Sir William Lyons with Bill Heynes and in turn with Phil Weaver, who got a D-type over to the competition shop. There, Bob Blake carried out the prototype work as instructed, but using some initiative.
To create the XKSS, the basic D-types were altered in several ways, although none were of major structural importance. The central division between the driver and passenger was cut out, the head fairing was removed and a second door was fitted for the passenger. The doors could be fitted with side screens and a folding top was provided. A full-width, framed windscreen with wraparound styling and two wipers was fitted, and a luggage rack was added while the bright headlamp trim and delicate bumpers foreshadowed the items to appear later on the E-Type. With an incredible power-to-weight ratio, the resulting XKSS maintained the tremendous performance of the D-Type, with a top speed approaching 150 mph and acceleration from rest to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. It could sprint to 100 mph in about 13 seconds.
Unfortunately, only 16 cars were completed when a factory fire broke out on February 12, 1957, destroying the remaining nine cars, as well as the jigs and tooling for their completion. Two other D-Types, XKD 533 and XKD 540, would later be converted by the works to XKSS specifications as well. With its Le Mans pedigree, high performance and shapely bodywork, the XKSS quickly became a favorite of the wealthy and the Hollywood elite, including Steve McQueen, who was an enthusiastic XKSS owner himself. In turn, their extreme rarity and desirability have created a demand profile far exceeding availability.
The vehicle offered here is a hand-built recreation by Tempero Coach & Motor Co. of New Zealand, the world-renowned creator of the finest bodywork for some of the world’s most desirable cars, using time-honored techniques. Virtually identical to 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 three 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 its 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 1957 XKSS recreation by Tempero is a very enjoyable alternative at a fraction of the cost.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
300 bhp, 4,235 cc Jaguar XK inline six-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts, hemispherical cylinder head and three 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