Nine will be made and sold to carefully selected Jaguar owners

In 2014, Jaguar and its Heritage division decided to build the remaining six chassis of the E-Type Lightweight sports car exactly 50 years after the final original example left the factory. The new-old cars were put together using numerous original parts and techniques, as well as modern technology for improved safety, and became an instant hit with collectors, despite the £1.2 million (around $1.5 million as of November 2016) sticker. As a result, Jaguar turned its attention to yet another classic sports car whose production came to an abrupt halt: the XK SS. And, the prototype that will be used as a blueprint for the continuation cars was just presented at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Often referred to as the world’s first supercar, the XK SS was originally produced in 1957 using chassis and components from the retired D-Type race car, which had won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times in a row. Initial plans included a 25-unit production, but nine cars earmarked for export to North America were lost in a massive fire at Jaguar’s factory, leaving only 16 examples on the road. Much like it did with the E-Type Lightweight, Jaguar plans to roll out the remaining nine cars in 2017.

All vehicles, which will look identical to the Sherwood Green prototype shown in L.A. (except for the paint of course) will be completely new and have period chassis numbers from the XK SS chassis log. The cars will cost "in excess of £1 million each." That’s at least $1.25 million. Why the steep price you ask? Well, not only are these cars difficult to build, as the prototype required 18 months of intense work and research, but they’re also highly desirable among collectors and will be sold to carefully selected customers who already own classic Jaguars. All told, the new XK SS won’t be a dealership model and not everyone can buy one. And, despite the high sticker, the Brits will have no trouble selling all nine examples.

So how new is the "new" XK SS? Jaguar says that most components are true to the original car, including the magnesium alloy body, the bronze welded chassis frames, the four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes with a Plessey pump, and Dunlop tires with riveted two-piece magnesium alloy wheels. The engine will be the same 3.4-liter, six-cylinder, D-type unit rated at 262 horsepower, but it will feature completely new cast iron blocks, new cast cylinder heads and three Weber DC03 carburetors. On the other hand, because the original styling bucks do not exist, Jaguar Classic produced a new, bespoke styling buck based on the original bodies from the 1950s.

Inside, the XK SS will get perfect recreations of the original Smiths gauges, the wood-rimmed steering wheel, grain of the leather seats, and brass knobs on the dashboard. However, minor specification changes have been made in order to improve driver and passenger safety. The fuel cell, for example, uses modern materials to support throughput of modern fuels. Jaguar will probably give customers a few exterior color options based on its 1950s palette, including the iconic British Racing Green.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Jaguar XK SS Prototype Previews $1.25 Million Continuation Cars in L.A. High Resolution Exterior
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The Jaguar XK SS is one of the most iconic sports cars ever built, and Jaguars decision to produce the nine examples that never made it out of the factory back in 1957 is great news for collectors. With only 16 units on the road, the XK SS has become increasingly valuable and sought after, with only a handful of lucky collectors managing to purchase one in recent decades. The continuation cars will definitely make a few deep-pocketed Jaguar enthusiasts happy. Needless to say, I wouldn’t mind being able to afford the same car that Steve McQueen drove on the streets of Los Angeles.

Press Release

The stunning XKSS, finished in Sherwood Green paint, has been created by the Jaguar Classic engineering team ahead of the production of nine cars for delivery to customers across the globe in 2017.

Often referred to as the world’s first supercar, the XKSS was originally made by Jaguar as a road-going conversion of the Le Mans-winning D-type, which was built from 1954-1956. In 1957, nine cars earmarked for export to North America were lost in a fire at Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory in the British Midlands; meaning just 16 examples of XKSS were built.

Jaguar XK SS Prototype Previews $1.25 Million Continuation Cars in L.A. High Resolution Exterior
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Earlier this year Jaguar announced that its Classic division would build the nine ‘lost’ XKSS sports cars for a select group of established collectors and customers. The new one-off XKSS presented in Los Angeles is the summation of 18 months of research and will be used as a blueprint from which the nine continuation cars are built.

The nine cars will be completely new, with period chassis numbers from the XKSS chassis log. All cars are now sold at a price in excess of £1million each.

The XKSS is the second continuation car to be created by Jaguar, following on from the six Lightweight E-types that were built in 2014. This project helped the team learn to engineer cars that are faithful to the specifications to which they were built in period, and this knowledge has been enhanced in creating the ‘new original’ XKSS.

The XKSS unveiled in Los Angeles is a period correct continuation, built using a combination of original drawings from Jaguar’s archive and modern technology. The Jaguar Classic engineering team scanned several versions of the 1957 XKSS to help build a complete digital image of the car, from the body to chassis, and including all parts required.

Jaguar XK SS Prototype Previews $1.25 Million Continuation Cars in L.A. High Resolution Exterior
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The body of the XKSS is made from magnesium alloy, as it was in 1957, and because the original styling bucks do not exist, Jaguar Classic produced a new, bespoke styling buck based on the original bodies from the 1950s. The bodies of the nine new cars will be formed on this buck, using a traditional process called hand-wheeling.

Jaguar Classic’s expert engineers worked with the original frames and from there produced CAD to support build of the chassis. In partnership with the Classic team, frame maker Reynolds – famous for their 531 tubing – was briefed to craft bespoke new parts using imperial measurements, rather than metric. The frames are bronze welded in the same way as the period XKSS chassis tubing. The continuation cars feature period specification four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes with a Plessey pump, and Dunlop tyres with riveted two-piece magnesium alloy wheels.

Under the bonnet, the XKSS is supplied with a 262hp 3.4-litre straight six-cylinder Jaguar D-type engine. The engine features completely new cast iron blocks, new cast cylinder heads and three Weber DC03 carburetors.

Jaguar XK SS Prototype Previews $1.25 Million Continuation Cars in L.A. High Resolution Exterior
- image 695934

Inside, the ‘new original’ XKSS features perfect recreations of the original Smiths gauges. Everything from the wood of the steering wheel, to the grain of the leather seats, through to the brass knobs on the XKSS dashboard, is precisely as it would have been in 1957.

Minor specification changes have been made only to improve driver and passenger safety. The fuel cell, for example, uses robust, modern materials to support throughput of modern fuels.

Jaguar XK SS Prototype Previews $1.25 Million Continuation Cars in L.A. High Resolution Interior
- image 695924

Customer vehicles will be hand-built beginning this year, and it is estimated that 10,000 man hours will go into building each of the new XKSS cars.

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. 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, be-cause that is the way it should be.

Kev Riches
Jaguar Classic Engineering Manager

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 for-ward to growing this business, supporting our existing customers and engaging with a whole new generation of global enthusiasts.

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