Stunning Jaguar XKSS continuation specials arrive
FOR some it was the world's first supercar, for others it was simply the most beautiful road car ever built.
A mere 16 examples of the Jaguar XKSS - a road-going conversion of the Le Mans-winning D-Type - were made in 1957, while a further nine earmarked for export to North America were lost in a fire at Jaguar's Browns Lane factory in England that same year.
Some 60 years later and Jaguar Classic has finished a one-off "new original" XKSS, authentically produced to exact 1957 specification by expert craftsmen.
This Sherwood green example debuted in Los Angeles this month, and will be used as the blueprint for nine further new XKSS cars ready for delivery to private customers across the globe in 2017.
These hand-built "continuation" models are seen as genuine Jaguar XKSS cars, are completely new and with period chassis numbers from the XKSS chassis log. In effect, Jaguar Classic is building the nine "lost" XKSS cars destroyed by fire all those years ago.
The XKSS unveiled in Los Angeles was built using a combination of original drawings from Jaguar's archive and modern technology. Several genuine 1957 XKSS's were scanned to help build a complete digital image of the car - from the body to the chassis - plus all parts required.
Jaguar Classic made a new styling buck (the originals were lost) and as per the 1957 cars the "new original" XKSSs had their magnesium alloy bodies formed on it using a traditional process called hand-wheeling.
Frames have been bronze welded in the same way as the period XKSS chassis tubing, there's period specification two-piece magnesium alloy wheels and four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes. Inside are perfect recreations of the original Smiths gauges, while the wood of the steering wheel, grain of the leather seats and brass knobs on the dashboard are precisely as they would have been in 1957.
Under the shapely bonnet lies a 3.4-litre straight-six Jaguar D-Type engine with completely new cast iron blocks, new cast cylinder heads and three Weber DC03 carburettors.
It is estimated that some 10,000 man hours will go into creating each of the new XKSS cars, a fair chunk of that taken up by the craftsmen using around 2000 rivets in the build.
As you'd imagine these nine continuation XKSS beauties won't be cheap. Such is the demand all have already sold for in excess of £1million (AUD$1.7million) to a "select group of established collectors and customers".
Wonder how the rich get richer? It's a fair bet that these continuation XKSS cars will already be appreciating in value.