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Don’t call it a replica: Jaguar’s reborn XKSS to debut at the 2016 LA Auto Show

Jaguar XKSS
The Jaguar XKSS went out of production in 1957, but it’s making a comeback. Earlier this year at the New York Auto Show, Jaguar announced that it would build nine “continuation” replicas of the XKSS to symbolically complete the original production run. The finished product will debut in November at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Each car will be built to the exact specifications of the original XKSS, but Jaguar considers these cars to be more than replicas. A fire at the company’s Browns Lane, England, factory ended the original production run before the last nine cars were built. Jaguar considers itself to be finishing what it started 59 years ago, which is why it calls the nine new cars “continuation” models rather than replicas.

The XKSS is certainly deserving of revival. It was a road-going version of the D-Type race car that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. When the racing program ended, Jaguar was left with 25 D-Type chassis that were then converted into road cars and sold to customers. One of those original customers was Steve McQueen, so it’s fitting the make its return in California. All nine of the new cars are already spoken for, probably by people who aren’t as cool.

Read more: Meet the Ford GT40 that won Le Mans in 1966, and became a legend

This nostalgic stunt follows the same pattern as the Lightweight E-Type Jaguar revived in 2014. Like the XKSS, the original Lightweight E-Type production run was never completed, so Jag built only the number of cars it intended to build in period. The company had planned to build 18 of these cars for racing, but only completed 12. That left room for the “Missing Six” to be built about five decades later, and sold to some very wealthy customers.

All six cars were completed in racing spec, allowing owners to enter them into FIA-sanctioned historic races. To drive that point home, Jaguar is entering one of the Lightweight E-Types in the Le Mans Classic this weekend, with automotive journalist and Top Gear host Chris Harris at the wheel.

The XKSS would look great on a track, but considering that it costs in excess of $1.5 million, it would be understandable if owners decided not to take the risk. Following its debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, deliveries will begin in early 2017 to mark the car’s 50th anniversary.

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