The Jaguar Classic engineering team presented their amazing recreation of the classic Jaguar XKSS on Nov. 16 at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. The team plans to create nine such cars for customers around the world in 2017.
Originally meant to act as a road-going version of the D-type, built from 1954-1956, the XKSS is often considered the world’s first supercar. Only 16 XKSS cars were built, as nine intended for export to North America were destroyed in a fire at the Browns Lane factory in 1957. Earlier this year, Jaguar’s Classic division declared its intent to build the nine ‘lost’ cars for a few fortunate collectors and customers. Jaguar has experience creating continuation cars; in 2014, they constructed six Lightweight E-types.
The Sherwood Green-painted XKSS which appeared in Los Angeles is the result of 18 months of research, and will act as a blueprint for the nine continuation cars, all of which will be completely new but will sport period chassis numbers from the XKSS chassis log. All nine cars have been sold, for more than £1 million each. The vehicles will be hand-built beginning this year; approximately 10,000 man hours will go into the construction of each one.
The Los Angeles XKSS is period correct, based on original drawings from Jaguar’s archive and enhanced with modern technology. The Jaguar Classic team scanned a number of versions of the ’57 XKSS and from the results built a complete digital image of the car, including all required parts.
As with the 1957 car, the new XKSS’ body is magnesium alloy; due to a lack of original styling bucks, Jaguar Classic produced a new styling buck based on the original 1950s bodies. This new buck will be used to form the bodies of the nine new cars using a process known as hand-wheeling. Frame maker Reynolds was employed to create new parts with imperial measurements, in place of metric. The frames will be period-correct, bronze-welded just as those in the 1950s. The nine new cars will feature period specification four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes with a Plessey pump, as well as Dunlop tires with riveted two-piece magnesium alloy wheels.
A 262hp 3.4-litre straight six-cylinder Jaguar D-type engine provides the XKSS with impressive power. The car’s interior features recreations of the original Smiths gauges, and everything – from the wooden steering wheel to the brass knobs on the dashboard – matches the 1957 specifications. In fact, the only specification changes were made to improve safety; for instance, the fuel cell uses modern, more robust materials to accommodate modern fuels.
“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 Kev Riches, Jaguar Classic Engineering Manager. “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.”