Jaguar turns back

the clock for £1m

Jaguar XKSS Front threequarter
Jaguar XKSS head on
Jaguar XKSS front action
Jaguar XKSS rear threequarter
Jaguar XKSS profile
Jaguar XKSS front portrait
Jaguar XKSS overhead action
Jaguar XKSS rear overhead action
Jaguar XKSS cockpit
Jaguar XKSS engine
Jaguar XKSS production
Jaguar XKSS engine building
Jaguar XKSS dashboard

JUST days after revealing its all-electric future, Jaguar has turned the clock back almost 60 years.

The company's Classic vehicle engineering unit has taken the wraps off the first genuine Jaguar XKSS to be built since 1957 and it will form the blueprint for the production of nine of the historic, D-Type-based two-seaters which will be built over the next year.

Each will cost more than £1 million - but don't rush for your check book, because all nine have been pre-sold, unseen, to what Jaguar calls "a select group of established collectors and customers" around the world.

Fittingly, perhaps, Jaguar chose to unveil this classic masterpiece in La-La land only days after the company's battery-powered I-Pace supersports SUV - scheduled for production in 2018 - was revealed at the Los Angeles auto show.

But this is no replica model - it has been been authentically produced to the exact 1957 specification of the XKSS, only 16 of which were built before a fire at the company's Borwns Lane, Coventry, factory destroyed nine cars along with the styling bucks used to create them.

Often referred to as the world's first supercar, the XKSS was originally made by Jaguar as a road-going conversion of the Le Mans-winningD-type, which was built from 1954-1956.

The XKSS unveiled in Los Angeles is what Jaguar calls "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.

The body 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 traditional processes and parts such as Dunlop disc brakes and magnesium alloy wheels.

The nine cars will be completely new, with period chassis numbers from the XKSS chassis log. Each will be hand-built and it is estimated that 10,000 man hours will go into building each one.

Under the bonnet, the XKSS is powered by a 262hp, 3.4-litre, straight six, Jaguar D-type engine with 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, says the company.

Kev Riches, Jaguar Classic Engineering Manager, says: "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, because that is the way it should be."

The XKSS is the second continuation car to be created by Jaguar, following on from the six Lightweight E-types built in 2014.

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