First new 'original' Jaguar XKSS D-Type revealed in LA
Jaguar has unveiled the first of nine brand new XKSS D-Types to be built to 1957 specification, with £1m+ price tags
Each car will be built by hand by Jaguar Classic using a combination of period and modern techniques, taking an estimated 10,000 man-hours to complete. All nine examples have already been sold with price tags exceeding £1 million, and buyers will receive their cars throughout 2017.
It’s the second continuation model Jaguar has produced – in 2014 the marque created six classic E-Type Lightweights faithful to their original specifications, and lessons learned from that project have been applied to this one.
Like the E-Type Lightweights, the new XKSS models get period chassis numbers, taking the place of nine cars destroyed in a fire at Jaguar’s Brown Lane plant in 1957.
The one-off XKSS on show in Los Angeles will be used as a blueprint from which the customer cars will be built, and is the culmination of 18 months of research and development.
Several original examples of the 1957 XKSS were scanned to build a comprehensive digital image of the car, including its bodywork, chassis and parts.
The bodywork itself is made from Magnesium Alloy – the same as it was in 1957 – but as the original styling bucks used to form the bodywork no longer exist, Jaguar had to produce a new, bespoke buck in order to create the car’s panels, all of which are hand-wheeled.
Jaguar used CAD programming to support the build of the car’s chassis, but teamed with classic frame maker Reynolds – famous for its lightweight 531 tubing - to craft the bespoke parts.
All the frames were created using imperial measurements and are bronze welded, just as they would have been in 1957.
Under the bonnet, the new XKSS gets a 258bhp, 3.4-litre straight six with a completely new cast iron block, new cylinder heads, and three Weber DC03 carburetors. It’s mated to a period four-speed gearbox.
All the gauges in the cockpit are perfect recreations of the original Smiths instruments, and the wood, leather and brass used throughout the cabin is all identical to 1957 stock.
There are one or two minor alterations to the original formula for safety purposes. For instance, the fuel tank has been made using stronger, modern materials.
As a result of the 1957 fire just 16 original XKSS D-Types were built, and the nine destroyed were earmarked for export to North America.
While these ‘new originals’ will set their owners back at least £1m an original can cost several millions, and recently a Le Mans winning 1955 D-Type – the XKSS in its original racing car form – sold for $21,780,000 at this year’s Monterey Car Week.
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