British motoring legend Jaguar has created nine authentic reproductions of its classic XKSS, right down to the 2000 perfectly positioned rivets.
Here’s something unusual – a classic car authentically reproduced to create what Jaguar are calling the ‘new original’. It’s catchy, and when the results are this spectacular, who cares if they are being a little loose with their language?
The first genuine Jaguar XKSS to be built in almost 60 years was presented at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, by Jaguar Classic – a division of Special Operations dedicated to providing cars, services, parts and experiences to owners and fans of classic Jaguars and Land Rovers around the world.
The XKSS, finished in signature Sherwood Green paint, was created by the Jaguar Classic engineering team ahead of the production of nine cars for delivery to lucky customers this year.
Often called the world’s first supercar, the XKSS was originally made by Jaguar as a road-going version of the Le Mans-winning D-type, built from 1954-1956. In 1957, nine cars destined for export to North America were lost in a fire at Jaguar’s factory, meaning just 16 examples of XKSS were built.
Jaguar announced that its Classic division would build the nine ‘lost’ XKSS sports cars for a select group of established collectors and customers. The one-off XKSS presented in Los Angeles is being used as a blueprint for the nine cars. Those nine cars will be completely new, with period chassis numbers from the XKSS chassis log, and cost their new owners in excess of £1 million.
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.
The continuation XKSS was built using a combination of original drawings from Jaguar’s archive and modern technology. The Jaguar Classic engineering team scanned versions of the 1957 XKSS to build a digital image of the car.
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.
Jaguar Classic’s engineers worked with the original frames and from there produced CAD to support build of the chassis.
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.
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.
Customer vehicles will be hand-built, with up to 10,000 man hours going into building each individual car. That’s craftsmanship.
“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 – 2,000 in total – to the Smiths gauges, everything is the same as the original cars, because that is the way it should be.”