Jaguar have a remarkable ability to produce fantastic-looking cars that feature evocative engines, high performance and effortless style; 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. These include the legendary E-Type, gorgeous XK120 and not forgetting the elegant Mk2. Today, Jaguar has the stunning F-TYPE amongst its stylish portfolio, which is often regarded as a modern-day E-type.
But what happens to be the most sought-after Jaguar of them all? With its racing heritage and iconic celebrity owners, the XKSS is considered the holy grail of Jaguar models. We look at why in more detail below.
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 naturally always in demand, and back in 2014 Jaguar decided to create the 'missing six' Lightweight Jaguar E-type race cars, as only 12 of the original 18 were completed back in the 1960s. One of the 'missing six' was purchased by Stratstone.
With the popularity of the 'missing six' E-type programme, Jaguar delighted enthusiasts by announcing in 2016 that it would build the nine 'lost' XKSS sports cars for established collectors and customers also.
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 25 examples. Consequently, Jaguar decided it would be a fitting tribute to complete the 'missing' cars, each valued at over £1,000,000.
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 film star and '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. This car is now on display in the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California.
Original Jaguar XKSS models hardly ever come up for sale, due to their incredible rarity. It was thought in 2017 that an original XKSS was set to fetch around £14,000,000 at auction. However, near the time, it was expressed that the original 3.4-litre engine had been swapped for a more potent 3.8-litre. The owner may well have enjoyed more performance but the car did not meet its reserve, as potential buyers were put off somewhat by the car effectively loosing its originality.
Therefore, considering a brand new (in 2017), 'old' continuation Jaguar XKSS would have set you back around £1,000,000 and was built by Jaguar seems like a bit of a 'bargain', in the grand scheme of things, of course. Okay, so it may not be 100% original like the ones built back in the 1950s, but it seems like a fine alternative.
Having searched historical auctions, even these continuation models are selling for considerable sums above their original selling prices.
Find your perfect Jaguar
Whilst we cannot offer you a Jaguar XKSS, we do have a fine selection of models as part of our portfolio of new and used Jaguar vehicles.