Jaguar’s New XKSS Behind the scenes with Jaguar’s first reborn XKSS Plus! Jay Leno drives Steve McQueen’s original.
Jaguar’s 60-year tea break
N[/dropcap]ought to 60mph in five seconds. In 1957. I love the thought of that. In this case, we’re talking about the Jaguar XKSS, though there were very few other road cars of the period anyway that could get close to such extreme acceleration. It was an astonishing machine, and it still is.
January 1957 sees the 60th anniversary of the XKSS; February, the 60th anniversary of the devastating fire at the Jaguar factory, which ended XKSS production after only 16 of the 25 cars had been converted from unsold D-types.
Now, as you’re probably very aware, Jaguar Classic is beginning to build the nine ‘missing’ XKSSs. On the face of it, this is a strange undertaking for a modern car maker, but Jaguar isn’t the only manufacturer to have thought of it – the most obvious other example is Audi with its phenomenal Auto Unions.
It might also seem an odd car for someone to buy. You could say it’s not a ‘real’ XKSS. It won’t be road legal. And it will cost over £1 million. So why is this new ‘continuation’ XKSS on the cover of Drive-My? Well, as with the Lightweight E-type that went before it, Drive-My COM was granted exclusive access to the XKSS build process, and to the people involved, and the passion, and the knowledge, and the extraordinary lengths gone to in order to ensure the authenticity of the processes and the materials used. We’re fully behind the project – and if any of us here had £1m-plus spare (an academic thought, admittedly), the ‘new’ XKSS would truly be a serious consideration.
As it is, each of the nine XKSS continuation cars was sold long before the unveiling of the prototype at November’s Los Angeles Auto Show. Nine lucky buyers will have an XKSS with none of the history but all of the dynamic appeal of an original, for a tenth of the price. Additionally, the owners of the original XKSSs now have access to previously long-unavailable spares, which will enable them to use their cars with more confidence. And that’s a win-win situation for everyone.