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Car and Driver: Jaguar Classic to Build Nine More XKSS Roadsters to “Complete History”

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Jaguar Classic, Jaguar’s in-house restoration works, has summoned the spirits of nine stillborn XKSS roadsters slated for production in 1957 but which never made it off the line due to a devastating fire at Jaguar’s Browns Lane production facility. Come next year, those nine ferocious felines will at last be born.

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The XKSS was basically a D-type race car converted into a roadgoing sports car, and Jaguar had intended to make 25 of them in total; 16 were delivered before the fire destroyed five cars in the works as well as “everything required to build them,” according to Jaguar. The remaining four were dismantled for parts.

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Each “new” XKSS will be built to its original 1957 specifications, according to Tim Hannig, director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic. That means a 250-hp inline-six and a four-speed manual transmission combo that in the original cars served up 60 mph in 5.5 seconds on the way to a 143-mph top speed. The new owners will be offered a choice of five period colors—Old English White, British Racing Green, black, red, or gray—as well as certain original options such as a luggage rack, a folding top, and one feature that was never offered: a fuel gauge. While the new cars may not be street-legal since they wouldn’t comply to today’s emissions and safety standards, Hannig said that Jaguar doesn’t want them to be stowed away and hidden for posterity, so it is vetting prospective owners to ensure the cars end up the hands of owners that intend to bring the cars to vintage car gatherings, races, and other places where they can be savored by the public. The price tag for each is $1.5 million, and five of them have been sold already, according to Jaguar.

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This is not the first time Jaguar has pillaged its past for unfinished business. It just completed the last six lightweight E-Types of an intended 18-car run, half a century after the first 12 of those were made. This also makes good business sense for Jaguar: Mining this particular vein is worth some $13.5 million.

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