LA Auto Show 2016: Jaguar has unveiled a ‘new original’ version of the XKSS, deliveries of which will begin at the start of 2017 – for those that can afford it, that is.
The Jaguar XKSS is the second classic model to get the remake treatment, the first being the E-Type. It is based on the XKSS from 1957, which was a road-going version of the D-Type that was produced between 1954 and 1956.
Nine cars were meant to go to North America but a fire at the Brown Lane factory in Coventry meant they burned to a crisp, leaving just 16 examples. Now Jaguar will be hand-crafting nine more cars, each with period chassis numbers from the XKSS chassis log.
The body of the remake XKSS is made from Magnesium so it is true to the original. Meanwhile the engine is the same 3.4-litre straight-six that outputs 262hp and has new cast iron blocks, new cast cylinder heads and three Weber DC03 carburetors.
Continuing the theme of authenticity are Smith gauges (pictured below), which are replicas, while the wood used for the steering wheel and the brass used for the knobs on the dashboard are also exactly the same.
“The XKSS is one of the most important cars in Jaguar’s history, and we are committed to making the ‘new original’ version absolutely faithful to the period car in every way,” said Jaguar classic engineering manager Kev Riches.
“From the number, type and position of all the rivets used – there are more than 2,000 in total – to the Smiths gauges on the dashboard, everything is the same as the original cars, because that is the way it should be,” he added.
An original XKSS has never been as popular as the D-Type, which earned itself a legendary reputation for winning Le Mans. But they can fetch around £15-million, such is the level of rarity.
The XKSS and D-Type came to be during a sad time for the British manufacturer. The son of Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons, John Lyons, died in a road accident on the way to the 1955 Le Mans race.
At the same race, French driver Pierre Levegh crashed into a barrier at around 150mph and it went into the crowd, taking the lives of 83 spectators in the process.
10,000 man hours will go into each XKSS and have all sold ‘in excess of £1-million’. It is unclear if the new cars will affect the value of the originals.