The first of Jaguar Classic’s new-build XKSS road cars has been shown at the Petersen Museum in LA.
Earlier in the year, Jaguar Classic announced plans to build nine brand new XKSS Roadsters to follow on from the six continuation Lightweight Jaguar E-types built last year. The first example to be completed by the team at Browns Lane has been unveiled at the Petersen museum in LA.
Finished in Sherwood Green, this prototype example has been created by Jaguar Classic ahead of production of the nine ‘new’ cars. Each car will cost ‘in excess of £1million, although all have apparently been sold.
This isn’t the first undertaking of its kind, as the company built a batch of Lightweight E-types in 2014. In the same spirit as the E-types, Jaguar Classic plans on completing the 25-strong run of XKSS road cars that were originally planned – before a fire at the Browns Lane factory destroyed the last nine cars.
The new versions will be built at Jaguar’s ‘Experimental Shop’ in Warwick, utilising modern techniques and knowledge gained from the Lightweight E-type program. Just like the original 16 XKSS models, each one will be entirely hand-built – to the exacting original specifications.
Jaguar has examined the company’s original drawing and schematics, as well as digitally scanning several original XKSS cars, allowing to built up correct digital picture of the XKSS. Like the original, the body is made from magnesium alloy, and will be hand formed on a new styling buck using the traditional method.
The new chassis was built in partnership with frame maker Reynolds – known for 531 tubing. It was built to the correct original specification, using imperial measurements, and bronze welded as per the old cars. Powering the XKSS is a brand new 3.4-litre D-type-spec engine, with new cast iron block, cylinder head and triple Weber DC03 carburetors.
While every step has been undertaken to keep these cars true to the originals, a couple of minor concessions have been made for safety. This includes a modern fuel cell.
The Jaguar D-type on which the original XKSS was based was one of the most successful racers of its era, famously taking three successive wins at Le Mans between 1955 and 1957. Originally, the XKSS was put into production to make use of Jaguar’s remaining stockpile of D-type chassis.
Externally, the XKSS was given a number of additional parts to make it road worthy, such as indicators, as well as a few token gestures towards practicality, such as a higher windscreen and an opening passenger door. Under the skin it remained very much a racing car, and as such Jaguar claims it was the very first supercar.
Tim Hannig, Director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic, said: ‘The XKSS continuation programme underlines the world-class expertise we have at Jaguar Land Rover Classic. We are committed to nurturing the passion and enthusiasm for Jaguar’s illustrious past by offering exceptional cars, services, parts and experiences.
‘Jaguar Land Rover Classic is perfectly positioned to cater for this growing love for classics, with a new £7.5m global headquarters set to open in Coventry in 2017. We are looking forward to growing this business, supporting our existing customers and engaging with a whole new generation of global enthusiasts.’