It was only a year ago that Jaguar had cheque books wagging when it announced its intent to build and sell the six remaining Lightweight E-Type’s that were never realised, and now they’ve done it again.
Almost 60 years ago Jaguar ceased building 25 road-going versions of its D-Type race car, the XKSS. Only 16 made it through the assembly line before fire brought construction to a halt. The very limited cars that did see daylight were mostly sold in the United States, rarely swapping hands since.
Most famous of them is Steve McQueen’s original white on red XKSS, a colour scheme McQueen dismissed in favour of British Racing Green over a black leather upholstery. Nicknamed the ‘Green Rat’, McQueen was often seen racing the Jag through the streets of Los Angeles and running from the police. The car now resides at The Petersen museum.
Over half a century on from original production, Jaguar’s special ops (responsible for Jaguar F-Type Project 7 and Lightweight E-Type) is hand-building the remaining 9 that were unable to be finished at the Browns Lane factory in 1957. While the vehicles are certified by Jaguar, there’s no guarantee the vehicles produced today will be street legal.
Available from next year at over £1 million the price of admission is well beyond the reach of the average punter, however it’s hardly a cash grab from the British manufacturer who will only sell 9 vehicles and is producing the ‘modern’ XKSS to the exact specification of the original vehicle – a 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine producing 186kW in a gorgeous 921kg package.
While it’s unconfirmed how many XKSS’s are already sold, we image that Jay Leno, who took McQueen’s Green Rat for a spin, would be high on the list to carry-on the Yankee baton.