Jaguar Classic has revealed the first example of its exact recreation of the XKSS sports car from 1957. It is one of nine “continuation” cars Jaguar will produce to the exact 1957 specification, using the original drawings and even some of the production techniques. Deliveries will begin in 2017.
The “new” XKSSs are generally faithful to the original design, with the bodies hand-formed off bucks that were themselves created off an original XKSS. The body is made out of exotic magnesium, an extremely lightweight metal which is often misunderstood to be extremely flammable. It is, but much more so when it’s in little pieces, like shavings; formed into a car body; it’s not quite the incendiary device you might think it’d be. Even the processes to form the chassis are the same, such as the bronze welding technique used to bond its tubing.
A few concessions to modern safety are fitted, however. There’s a fuel cell, partly due to the additional safety it provides but also to better resist the harrowing effects of modern ethanol blend fuel. But the engine, down to the triple Weber DC03 carburetors, is as originally fitted. The engine isn’t a reconditioned vintage unit, either; the block and head are new castings. The whole shebang is good for 262 horsepower, and there’s not much to push around. It’ll be quick.
The interior is positively lovely, with the sort of high-quality materials and classic design the XKSS benefited from back in 1957, its only year of production. Smiths gauges stud the dash, the steering wheel is crafted from the same sort of wood, and the leather is of the same grain. Jaguar says it’ll take 10,000 man-hours to build each one
The nine cars will be completely new, with period chassis numbers from the XKSS chassis log. All are now sold, with each buyer paying more than £1 million.