Jaguar XKSS

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Jaguar XKSS
1957 Jaguar XK-SS.jpg
Jaguar XKSS
ManufacturerJaguar Cars
Also calledJaguar XK-SS
AssemblyCoventry, UK
Body and chassis
ClassSports car
Body styleRoadster
RelatedJaguar D-Type
Engine3.4L Jaguar XK6 engine I6
Transmission4 speed manual
Wheelbase2,300 mm (90.6 in)
Length3,990 mm (157.1 in)
Width1,660 mm (65.4 in)
Height1,120 mm (44.1 in)
Kerb weight921 kg (2,030 lb)

The Jaguar XKSS is a road-going version of the Jaguar D-Type racing car, initially built in 1957. A small production run by Jaguar produced the remaining 9 of the scheduled production of 25 XKSS, launched in 2016.[2]

Following Jaguar's withdrawal from competition at the end of the 1956 season, a number of completed and partly completed D-types remained unsold at the Browns Lane factory. In an attempt to recoup some of the investment made in building these unused chassis, and to exploit the lucrative American market for high-performance European sports cars, Sir William Lyons decided to convert a number to road-going specification. Only minor changes were made to the basic D-type structure: the addition of a passenger side door; the removal of the large fin behind the driver; and the removal of the divider between passenger and driver seats. In addition, changes were made for cosmetic, comfort and legal reasons: a full-width, chrome-surrounded windscreen was added; sidescreens were added to both driver and passenger doors; a rudimentary, folding, fabric roof was added for weather protection; chromed bumpers were added front and rear (a styling cue later used on the E-type); XK140 rear light clusters were mounted higher on the wings; and thin chrome strips were added to the edges of the front light fairings.

On the evening of 12 February 1957, a fire broke out at the Browns Lane plant destroying nine of the twenty-five cars that had already been completed or were semi-completed. Most of the surviving 16 XKSSs were sold in the US.

In March 2016, Jaguar announced that it would be completing the original 25 car order from 1957 by building from scratch the remaining 9 cars destroyed by the plant fire; the cars are expected to sell for more than £1 million each.[3]


The American actor Steve McQueen owned a Jaguar XKSS for personal use, painted British racing green, he referred to the car as the "Green Rat".[4][5] In 2010 and 2011 it toured the United States as part of the "Allure of the Automobile" exhibit. Steve McQueen's XKSS is currently on display in Los Angeles, California at the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Another XKSS, along with a D-type and C-type, formed the pinnacle of the James Hull collection, a collection of 450 British cars sold for an estimated £100 million in 2014.[6][7] Other XKSS include XKSS 722 at the Louwman Museum in The Hague.[8]


  1. ^ "Jaguar to Build Iconic XKSS – 'The World's First Supercar'". Jaguar. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Jaguar to Build Iconic XKSS – 'The World's First Supercar'". Jaguar. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Jaguar to make $1.4M XKSS performance car envisioned by founder". USA TODAY. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  4. ^ Stone, Matt (2007). McQueen's Machines. Minneapolis, MN: MBI Publishing. pp. 31–40. ISBN 978-0-7603-3895-7.
  5. ^ Steve McQueen's 1956 Jaguar XKSS - Jay Leno's Garage. 25 May 2014 – via YouTube.
  6. ^ Henry Foy (14 May 2014). "Huge classic car collection up for sale". FT.
  7. ^ "Dentist who has so many cars he keeps them in enormous warehouses is selling his 450 classic vehicles for MILLION". Daily Mail. 16 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Jaguar XKSS". Louwman Museum.