NYIAS 2016: Jaguar Stuns with News of Classic XKSS Dream Car

The most exciting news coming out of NYIAS 2016 for anybody with a pulse might just be a car only nine people will ever have a chance to buy.

In a move that defies any common wisdom or business sense — and, therefore, immediately qualifies as marketing genius – Jaguar announced it will build and sell exact copies of what they term “the world’s first supercar.”

The claim is not an idle one. After Jaguar won The 24 Hours of LeMans for three straight years starting in 1955 with the D-Type, the automaker decided to offer a street legal version of racer as the Jaguar XKSS.

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The idea was groundbreaking at the time — to put racing power and handling on the public roads. But, the XKSS became an immortal hit, owned most famously by the man’s prototype, Steve McQueen. To this day, it’s a  highly sought after collector’s item and classic museum piece.

Tragically (…For car lovers, anyway…It was’t a tragedy on the scope of the Titanic, Bubonic Plague, vegans or skinny jeans…), the final nine XKSS builds were lost to flames when the then Jaguar factory burned to the ground in 1957. Just in time for the 60th commemoration of the blaze, Jaguar will replace those nine cars with the precise specifications of that era.


The only changes Jaguar Classic must make to the nine re-created classics will be forced by modern automotive safety and regulatory requirements. The XKSS came from a sweeter, simpler time when, if some hack with more money than brains couldn’t handle his supercar and was determined to go ballistic through the windshield, a 1950s seatbelt probably couldn’t be bothered to stop him (if the driver was even wearing it). These resurrected XKSS builds will need to adjust to our 21st century nanny state.

Only 16 of the original XKSS design were ever built before the ’57 conflagration, and the nine that burned were reportedly bound for American. However, the lucky buyers jockeying to get one of the replacements can come from anywhere — as long as they can hang with the seven figure price tag.