In 1956, Jaguar decided to put motor racing on hold for a bit, and focus on building production cars. They used the Le-mans winning D-type as a base for the 25 XKSS they built.
There hasn't been a public sale of an XKSS in over a decade, this one being an original model from 1957. Rich car connoisseur's flocking from all corners of the globe are expected to bid savagely, desperate to get hold of this stunning vehicle of “iconic, almost mythical status”.
The performance was astonishing for its time. Motoring magazine managed 0-60mph in 5.2 seconds, 0-100mph in 13.6, and on to a top speed of 149mph.
However, the 25 were not to be, as tragedy struck Jaguars Browns Lane plant in Coventry, on the 2nd February, 1957. The 9 unfinished models were taken in a fire. The model at auction, however, got out in time and ended up in Montreal, Canada. Passing through the hands of collectors in the US and England, Gooding & Co will sell the XKSS at its Amelia Island sale on March 10th in Florida. With a guide price of $16- $18 Million (£13.5m), it is expected to be the most expensive British car in history, and one of the most valuable ever sold.
It is more than 3,000 TIMES the car’s original cost in 1957!
President and founder of Gooding & Company, David Gooding, said: “This renowned sports car delivers D-Type performance with nimble and responsive driving dynamics, paired perfectly with the most voluptuous design.
“For us to present this XKSS, one of the greatest sports cars of all time and the first one offered at public auction in over a decade, is truly a great honour.”
Gooding & Co added that this XKSS is among the “very best examples” of the production D-type, which is “one of the most successful and important models in the history of endurance racing”. The car has also been displayed at many of the worlds most prestigious concours events.
The current owner took ownership of the XKSS in 2000. It was restored about 10 years ago by Gary Pearson of Pearson Engineering, whose expert father had owner the car in the '80's. It has not been in a major accident, despite being 60 years old and raced hard in its early life. It also keeps hold of the original body, chassis and engine block.
Of the 16 cars which were completed, 12 were delivered to the USA, two to Canada, one to Hong Kong and a single example remained in the UK. It has become a sports car legend, helped in part by Steve McQueen owning one for over 10 years, which is now in a museum in the US.
The Aston Martin DB4 Zagato currently holds the title of most expensive British road car, selling for $14.3 million (£9.5m) in December of 2015. The overall most valuable British car is, the car that the XKSS was based on, the D-Type that won Le Mans in 1956, selling for $21.7 million (£16.6m) in August 2016.
Jaguar announced last year that it would be resurrecting the 9 'lost' XKSS that were lost in the factory fire. Jaguar Land Rover Classic are taking around 10,000 hours, to build each vehicle to the exact spec level it would have been in 1957, and then selling them for more than £1 million.