If you’re looking to recreate a classic, there are two ways to go about it. One way involves slapping a bit of bodywork and a classic paint color on what is in all other respects a new car. The other way — favored by Jaguar Cars in recent years — is a decidedly more painstaking process, and its results can be seen in the new Jaguar XKSS that made its first public appearance in November at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles.
Kev Riches, who’s the Classic Engineering Manager at Jaguar, calls the Jaguar XKSS “one of the most important cars in Jaguar’s history,” and emphasized that their mission was to make this “new original” car “absolutely faithful to the period car in every way.” He wasn’t kidding. Each of the more than 2,000 rivets, the Smiths gauges in the dashboard, the Jaguar XK6 engine, and practically every inch* from bumper to bumper is faithful to the original specs. The only concession to modernity is the fuel tank, which is re-engineered for greater driver safety.
The car that debuted at the Petersen is one of ten cars from a strictly limited edition that won’t be seen at Jaguar dealers. The other nine will be based off this prototype. Why only nine cars? The original production run in 1957 was of 25 cars. Nine of these were destroyed when a fire ripped through the Brown’s Lane Jaguar plant in 1957. These are those cars’ replacements. Despite a price tag that’s well north of 1 million dollars, each of the nine is already spoken for. A select few collectors and previous loyal buyers of Jaguar cars will take delivery.
The 1957 Jaguar XKSS is widely regarded as the first super car in history. Sixty years on, its specs have been dwarfed by current Jaguar models like the 2017 Jaguar F-TYPE and 2017 Jaguar F-PACE. However, its place in history — and in the hearts of many a driver — can’t possibly be taken by anything else. Come to the Jaguar Peabody showroom at 247 Newbury St. in Peabody, MA to see the modern classics being built by the company. Sixty years from now, you — or your grandkids — will appreciate your foresight.
*Yes, inch. It’s built in Imperial measurements, just like the original.