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Jaguar XKSS is an extremely rare blast from the past

Jaguar has announced the new XKSS will debut in California of North America and coincide with the start of the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Jaguar XKSS is a continuation of the original car produced back in 1957. As such, it has the same exact specification and is said to be hand-crafted by expert technicians.

For the uninitiated, the Jaguar XKSS was essentially a road-going version of the D-Type, which competed in the Le Mans 24-hour race to great success.

The XKSS is often said to live in the shadow of the D-Type that preceded it and the E-Type that succeeded it, but the 16 examples built before the continuation still fetch as much as £15 million apiece ─ partly due to being a firm favourite of movie star Steve McQueen.

Jaguar had planned to sell more of the XKSS but a fire in 1957 at its Brown Lane factory in Coventry destroyed a portion of the stock. The continuation is a way of building the nine ‘lost’ XKSS cars.

Despite its rarity and classic Jaguar look, the XKSS is relatively unknown. One reason could be its past, which is marred with the death of the son of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons, John Lyons, who died in a road accident on the way to the 1955 Le Mans 24-hour race.

To make matters worse, that same Le Mans saw French driver Pierre Levegh crash into and over the track boundaries, killing 83 spectators and himself.

So the story goes, Mercedes laid the blame on Jaguar’s star driver, Mike Hawthorn, who had chosen to pit late, which caused Lance Macklin’s Austin 100S to collide with Levegh’s Mercedes 300 SLR. Subsequently Mercedes left all forms of motorsport a few days later, as did Jaguar later that decade.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Jaguar XKSS, however, as is it widely accepted to be the world’s first supercar in terms of performance and styling, thanks to a 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine and a design built for conquering one of the world’s most gruelling motorsport races.

Just nine will XKSS cars be built and, sadly for the wealthier among us, all have sold for around £1.25 million each so there’s no chance to snap one up. Those who did can expect first deliveries in ‘early 2017’.

“The continuation XKSS reaffirms our commitment to nurture the passion and enthusiasm for Jaguar’s illustrious past by offering exceptional cars, services, parts and experiences,” director of Jaguar Land Rover Classics Tim Hannig commented.

Jaguar XKSS pictures

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