Jaguar XKSS: Like the Phoenix

Jaguar XKSS

Jaguar Classic unveiled the first genuine Jaguar XKSS to be built in nearly 60 years at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. The Jaguar Classic engineering team has created this impressive XKSS with a Sherwood Green finish in anticipation of the production of nine vehicles that will be delivered to customers around the world in 2017.

Often regarded as the world's first “supercar”, Jaguar once created the XKSS as a road version of the Le Mans-winning D-Type, which was built between 1954 and 1956. One year later, in 1957, nine vehicles destined for export to North America were burned in a fire at Jaguar's Browns Lane factory in the British Midlands, resulting in only 16 units of the 25 planned for the XKSS being built.

A few months ago, Jaguar announced that its Classic division would manufacture the nine "lost" XKSS sports cars for a select group of prestigious customers and collectors. The new and exclusive XKSS presented in Los Angeles is the result of 18 months of research and will be used as a prototype for the manufacture of the nine replicas.

Jaguar XKSS

These nine vehicles will be brand new and will have the chassis numbers of the time, recovered from the original XKSS chassis. Each of the cars has been sold for more than a million dollars.

The XKSS is the second replica Jaguar has created after the six Lightweight E-Types that were built in 2014. This project allowed the team to learn how to design vehicles true to the specifications of the time. Now that knowledge has been entrenched with the creation of the authentic new XKSS.

The XKSS presented in Los Angeles is a vintage replica made by combining original drawings from the Jaguar archives and modern technology. The Jaguar Classic engineering team scanned various versions of the 1957 XKSS to create a complete digital image of the vehicle, from body to chassis, including all necessary parts.

The XKSS body is made from a magnesium alloy, exactly the same as in 1957. As the original design molds no longer exist, Jaguar Classic has created a new custom design mold from the original bodies from the 50s. Bodies of the nine vehicles will be manufactured on this mold using a traditional manual chain assembly process.

Jaguar XKSS

Experienced Jaguar Classic engineers worked with the original structures, from which they created CAD (computer-aided design) mockups to facilitate chassis construction. The Jaguar Classic team enlisted the collaboration of Reynolds, the frame manufacturer famous for its tubular frames and 531 tubes, to build the new model-specific parts with imperial rather than metric measurements. The frames are brazed in bronze, just like the XKSS chassis tubes were at that time.

The replicas have the original specifications, such as Dunlop four-wheel disc brakes with a Plessey pump and Dunlop tires with riveted two-piece magnesium alloy wheels.

Under the hood of the XKSS we find the 3.4-liter 262 hp engine of the Jaguar D-Type, with six cylinders in line. The thruster includes all-new cast iron blocks, new cast cylinder heads, and three Weber DC03 carburettors.

Jaguar XKSS

Inside, the new original XKSS showcases a perfect recreation of the Smiths gauges of the time. The details have been taken care of so that the replica is identical to the models made in 1957: the wood on the steering wheel, the stitching on the leather seats, the metal buttons on the XKSS dashboard ...

Only minor changes have been made to the specifications to improve driver and passenger safety. For example, the fuel tank is made of robust modern materials to withstand the circulation and specifications of today's fuels.

The vehicles put up for sale will begin to be built by hand early next year and it is estimated that 10.000 man hours will be required to manufacture each new XKSS.

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Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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