The Jaguar D-Type was, for its time, a cutting-edge race car. It was also designed as a car that could, theoretically, drive from Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory to the race in France and back again without any problems. This was an era in which top-tier race cars weren’t all that different from their road-going counterparts.
The XKSS was a D-Type with the barest nod to road-going conveniences, like proper wind protection. With some unsold D-Type racers cluttering up the shop after three successive Le Mans wins, Jaguar converted 16 into XKSS spec, and had more in the works. It wasn’t a comprehensive transformation, as only a windshield and a passenger door were added. On the flipside the cabin partition and the fin behind the driver were removed. Everything else remained intact, though, including race-spec suspension and a 3.4-litre straight-six engine with 250bhp. Otherwise, it wasn’t much different than the all-conquering Le Mans-winners.
However then tragedy struck, a fire destroyed nine of the cars, and the company never picked up where it left off after the mess was cleaned up. As a result Jaguar aficionados, and the company itself, keenly felt the absence of the “lost” cars.
Consequently after the success of the continuation E-Type lightweights built by the Jaguar Classic division of Special Operations, the company will finish the run. Nine cars will be hand-crafted for a select group of customers and collectors, much as the company did for the lightweights. Thus completing the cars nearly 60 years after production started.
Jaguar expects to start delivering the continuation XKSS cars early next year.
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