On Friday evening I attended the unveiling of a very special vehicle; The Jaguar XKSS.
The car has been created by the Jaguar Classic engineering team and is one of nine.
The XKSS is often referred to as the world’s first supercar. It was originally made by Jaguar as a road-going conversion of the Le Mans-winning D-type, which was built from 1954-1956.
In 1957, nine cars earmarked for export to North America were lost in a fire at Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory. This meant that only 16 examples of XKSS were ever built.
Recently Jaguar announced that its Classic division would build the nine ‘lost’ XKSS sports cars for a select group of established collectors and customers. The nine cars will be completely new, with period chassis numbers from the XKSS chassis log.
The XKSS is a continuation car, the cars are engineered to be faithful to the original specifications they were built to. A complete digital image of the car was created, from the body to chassis, and included all the parts required.
The XKSS has a magnesium alloy body just as it did in 1957. Frames are bronze welded in the same way as the period XKSS chassis tubing.
The continuation cars feature period specification four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes with a Plessey pump and Dunlop tyres with riveted two-piece magnesium alloy wheels.
Under the bonnet, the XKSS is supplied with a 262 hp 3.4-litre straight six-cylinder Jaguar D-type engine. The engine features completely new cast iron blocks, new cast cylinder heads and three Weber DC03 carburettors.
Inside, the ‘new original’ XKSS features perfect recreations of the original Smiths gauges. Everything from the wood of the steering wheel, to the grain of the leather seats, through to the brass knobs on the XKSS dashboard, is precisely as it would have been in 1957.
The car is currently on display at the new Jaguar Showroom.