Two years ago, Jaguar reached into its past and conjured up the Lightweight E-Type. Six cars were built by Jag’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division to the specifications of an original 1963 race car to complete a production run Jaguar never had a chance to the first time around.
Fans raved, and the new Lightweight became an instant collectible. That led everyone ask what SVO would try next. On the eve of the 2016 New York Auto Show, Jaguar let everyone know. And it turns out the next SVO heritage project may be an even bigger deal than the Lightweight E-Type. This is the legend of the XKSS.
Confirming previous rumors, Jaguar will complete the production run of one of its most legendary cars which, as with the Lightweight E-Type, was cut short. The XKSS actually started life as the D-Type, a full-on race car that one the 24 Hours of Le Mans and inspired today’s F-Type Project 7 with its unique styling. When the racing program wound down, Jaguar was left with 25 extra D-Types, but then the bosses had an idea.
Those leftover cars were converted into XKSS road cars. They were tamed just enough to not kill their owners, a small group that notably included Steve McQueen. But before the production run could be completed, there was a fire at Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory in England. That fire, on February 12, 1957, destroyed the last nine chassis before they could be completed.
And like a Phoenix, the XKSS is set to return 59 years later. Jaguar will build those last nine cars, making the modern XKSS a “continuation” model, rather than a replica, in spirit at least. As with the Lightweight E-Type, SVO will work from original documents and build the cars exactly as Jaguar would have done in 1957.
If you want one, Jaguar told Digital Trends and the assembled media at its pre-New York show bash that there are still a few available. But expect to pay “in excess” of $1.5 million for the privilege. Jaguar plans to show the first revived XKSS before the end of the year, while the first deliveries will take place in 2017, on the 50th anniversary of the car’s debut.