Jaguar XKSS

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Jaguar XKSS
Jaguar XKSS
ManufacturerJaguar Cars
Also calledJaguar XK-SS
Production1957 (official continuations in 2016-17)
AssemblyCoventry, UK
Body and chassis
ClassSports car
Body styleRoadster
RelatedJaguar D-Type
Engine3.4L Jaguar XK6 engine I6
Transmission4 speed manual
Wheelbase2,300 mm (90.6 in)
Length3,990 mm (157.1 in)
Width1,660 mm (65.4 in)
Height1,120 mm (44.1 in)
Kerb weight921 kg (2,030 lb)
SuccessorJaguar E-Type

The Jaguar XKSS is a road-going version of the Jaguar D-Type racing car, initially built in 1957. Only 16 were built and sold at the time.[1] Nine were destroyed in a factory fire in 1957. In 2016 Jaguar announced that a small production run of nine "continuation" XKSS reproductions would be hand-built to the original specifications to complete the originally scheduled run of 25.[2]


Following Jaguar's withdrawal from competition at the end of the 1956 season, a number of completed and partly completed D-types remained unsold at the Browns Lane factory. In an attempt to recoup some of the investment made in building these unused chassis, and to exploit the lucrative American market for high-performance European sports cars, Sir William Lyons decided to convert a number to road-going specification. Only minor changes were made to the basic D-type structure: the addition of a passenger side door; the removal of the large fin behind the driver; and the removal of the divider between passenger and driver seats. In addition, changes were made for cosmetic, comfort and legal reasons: a full-width, chrome-surrounded windscreen was added; sidescreens were added to both driver and passenger doors; a rudimentary, folding, fabric roof was added for weather protection; chromed bumpers were added front and rear (a styling cue later used on the E-type); XK140 rear light clusters were mounted higher on the wings; and thin chrome strips were added to the edges of the front light fairings.

By early 1957 a total of 16 of the planned production run of 25 XKSS's had been completed at Jaguar's Browns Lane plant. On the evening of 12 February a fire broke out, destroying the remaining nine in mid-production. All of the destroyed vehicles had been destined for North America.[1] Most of the previously built 16 XKSSs were also sold in the US.[citation needed]

In March 2016, Jaguar announced that it would be completing the original 25 car order by hand-building the remaining nine XKSS roadsters to the exact original specification, and assigning them the chassis numbers of the destroyed cars. The "continuation" reproductions were expected to sell for more than £1 million each.[3]


XKSS at the Louwman Museum

The American actor Steve McQueen owned a Jaguar XKSS for personal use, painted British racing green. He referred to the car as the "Green Rat".[4][5] In 2010 and 2011 it toured the United States as part of the "Allure of the Automobile" exhibit. Steve McQueen's XKSS is currently on display in Los Angeles, California at the Petersen Automotive Museum.[6]

Another XKSS, along with a D-type and C-type, formed the pinnacle of the James Hull collection, a collection of 450 British cars sold for an estimated £100 million in 2014.[7] Other XKSS include XKSS 722 at the Louwman Museum in The Hague.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Jaguar Classic XKSS Continuation Crowned Car of the Year at 2017 Octane Awards",
  2. ^ "THE 'NEW ORIGINAL': JAGUAR XKSS MAKES WORLD DEBUT IN LOS ANGELES | Jaguar Homepage International". Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Jaguar to make $1.4M XKSS performance car envisioned by founder". USA TODAY. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  4. ^ Stone, Matt (2007). McQueen's Machines. Minneapolis, MN: MBI Publishing. pp. 31–40. ISBN 978-0-7603-3895-7.
  5. ^ Steve McQueen's 1956 Jaguar XKSS - Jay Leno's Garage. 25 May 2014 – via YouTube.
  6. ^ Rong, Blake Z. (20 April 2014). "Retracing Steve McQueen's Los Angeles in his Jaguar XKSS". Autoweek. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  7. ^ Henry Foy (14 May 2014). "Huge classic car collection up for sale". FT.
  8. ^ "Jaguar XKSS". Louwman Museum. 5 September 2013.

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