In 1957, a disastrous fire began in Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant in Coventry, England and among the cars destroyed were nine XKSS (for XK Super Sport) models, the road-going variant of the legendary Jaguar D-Type, along with the assembly jigs needed to build the cars.
Nearly six decades later, Jaguar will finish production of the XKSS, completing nine continuation cars for a “select group of established collectors and customers.”
The lead-up to all this was a cessation of racing by Jaguar in 1956. This left the company with an inventory of 25 D-Types. Looking for a way to take the car racing in SCCA competition, it was American Briggs Cunningham who approached Jaguar with the idea of turning the remaining D-Types (plus 25 more needed to reach the minimum homologation quantity of 50) into road-going automobiles, and the XKSS was born.
To convert the D-Type into the XKSS, Jaguar’s staff added a taller windscreen with a chrome frame, chrome bumpers, a passenger door, turn signals, side windows, larger tail lamps, and a rag roof, and some examples were even fitted with a chrome luggage rack. The chassis brace between driver and passenger seat was removed, along with the dorsal fin that ran down the driver’s side behind the cockpit. The D-Type’s 3.4 liter inline-six, rated at 250 horsepower and mated to a fully synchronized four-speed transmission, carried over intact, giving the XKSS a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 146 MPH.
However, in the words of Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, “The XKSS occupies a unique place in Jaguar’s history and is a car coveted by collectors the world over for its exclusivity and unmistakable design. 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. Our continuation XKSS reaffirms our commitment to nurture the passion and enthusiasm for Jaguar’s illustrious past by offering exceptional cars, services, parts and experiences.
“Each of the nine continuation models will be constructed to the exact specifications as the originals, and while a final price was not listed, Jaguar expects each car to cost in excess of £1,000,000.”
Get your order in now, as s deliveries are only expected to begin in early 2017.