Jaguar have a remarkable ability to produce fantastic-looking cars that feature evocative engines, a combination that serves to cement their legacy in automotive history.
Their back catalogue of classics includes some of the world's best-looking cars, including the Jaguar E-Type, gorgeous Jaguar XK120 and not forgetting the elegant Jaguar MKII. Then there is the striking Jaguar XKSS, which has a fascinating history to say the least.
Origins of the XKSS
The Jaguar XKSS was Jaguar's road-going version of the Jaguar D-Type racing car, which won the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours not once, but three times in 1955, 1956 and 1957. The cars were almost identical, yet the XKSS had to have the necessary changes to make it road legal. Some even believe that the Jaguar XKSS was the world's first supercar.
Classic Jaguars are still heavily in demand, so much so that in 2014 Jaguar decided to create the 'missing six' Lightweight Jaguar E-Type race cars, as only 12 of the original 18 were completed. One of the 'missing six' was purchased by Stratstone.
Originally, 25 examples were planned to be built back in the 1950s. However, back in 1957 when the Jaguar XKSS was released, a fire engulfed the Jaguar Coventry factory and completely destroyed nine of the twenty-five examples. Consequently, Jaguar decided it would be a fitting tribute to complete the 'missing' cars, each valued at over £1 million.
With classic car prices only going one way, rare cars are fetching biblical sums of money and purists and collectors are always looking for original examples, or cars with a documented history or interesting past. The Jaguar XKSS certainly had its admirers back in its day, one of which was 'King of Cool', Steve McQueen.
McQueen loved his Jaguar XKSS so much, he bought the identical car back after selling it, although he had to pay significantly more than he originally paid for it.
An unnamed gentleman has recently announced he will auction one of the 'original' Jaguar XKSS models - which would see it become the most expensive British road car ever to be sold at auction, with an estimated price of £14 million. That's quite the increase considering a brand new, 'old' Jaguar XKSS will set you back only £1 million.
While a Jaguar D-Type did sell for more than the estimated £14 million of this Jaguar XKSS, it was a race car, and not road legal, making this XKSS the most expensive British road car ever.