Jaguar Revives the XKSS

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After a 59 year hiatus, Jag's ravishing roadster rolls from the factory again

Jaguar calls it the ‘Experimental Shop’ but to classic car enthusiasts, the new Warwick facility might as well be the candy store. Responsible for the build of nine ‘continuation’ XKSS models to replace the cars lost in the 1957 Browns Lane factory fire, every car is set to be constructed to the same specifications as the first 16 built in 1957, with every aspect fully certified by Jaguar.

The XKSS is a car that looked set to cash in on Jaguar’s three successive Le Mans victories in 1955, 1956 and 1957 with the all-conquering D-type, chairman Sir William Lyons deciding to convert the remaining 25 D-type racers to road-going specifications. The modifications included the addition of a new higher windscreen, an extra door on the passenger side, taking away the divider between driver and passenger and the removal of the fin behind the driver’s seat.

Flushed with success at the reception afforded to the recent Lightweight E-type project, the build will be handed over from the Jaguar Heritage workshop at the company’s Browns Lane workshop. Perhaps afraid of tempting fate again, the project will be handled at the Experimental Shop, Tim Hannig, Director Jaguar Land Rover Classic, underlining the importance of continuity of expertise. "Jaguar Classic’s highly skilled team of engineers and technicians will draw on decades of knowledge to ensure each of the nine cars is completely authentic and crafted to the highest quality," he said. "Our continuation XK-SS reaffirms our commitment to nurture the passion and enthusiasm for Jaguar’s illustrious past by offering exceptional cars, services, parts and experiences."

The first deliveries of the new continuation Jaguar XKSS will commence in early 2017. The price will be in excess of £1 million (A$1.9m before taxes).

Steve McQueen owned many cars but perhaps his favourite was his 1957 Jaguar D-type XK-SS. Purchased for $5000 in 1958, he had Von Dutch custom build a locking glovebox to keep those Persols from flying out when he floored the loud pedal. Originally white with a red interior, the King of Cool had it repainted British Racing Green and treated it to a black leather interior retrim. His weapon of choice for terrorising local boy racers on Mulholland Drive, the Green Rat now resides in LA’s Petersen Museum.

 

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