Jaguar’s motorsports history is one which would make many car companies jealous, and none would be more enviously looked upon than the superb D-Type, a Le Mans great.
The D-Type was a well-balanced machine, with the iconic fin on the rear for aerodynamic stability and 3.4-litre straight-6 engine for near-unrivalled speed. It won the Le Mans 24-hour race three years running between 1955 and 1957, making it an all-time racing great.
But after withdrawing from motorsport in 1957, Jaguar had spare D-Type bodies in the factory left without any purpose. Jaguar made the decision to turn them into road-going models, spawning what is considered to be the first ever supercar.
That car was the XKSS. Minus the rear stabilising fin, the XKSS carried the glamorous flowing shape of the D-Type and, after being fitted with equipment appropriate to on-road use - such as a higher-level windscreen and a passenger door, it was put into limited production.
Only 25 of these conversions from the D-Type were ever built, but unfortunately, 9 of the XKSSs built were destroyed in the Browns Lane factory fire meaning only 16 were available for sale. These 16 found their way into some pretty reputable hands, with Steve McQueen famously being one owner.
After a 59 year hiatus though, Jaguar Classic is bringing back the XKSS, and the remaining nine that weren’t delivered will finally be built and on the road.
Each of the new 'Continuation' run will be made exactly to the standard of the 1957 original, with each aspect fully certified by Jaguar Classic.
Thanks to the similar construction last year of the Continuation Lightweight E-Type, techniques from that process will be transferred to these new models and each one will be hand-built at the company’s new ‘Experimental Shop’ in Warwick.
As an exclusive model to both collectors and Jaguar aficionados, the XKSS is expected to reach in excess of £1 million per model.