One of the most beautiful, rarest and fastest of Jaguars, excluding supercars, the 1957 Jaguar XKSS almost didn’t exist. When 25 of the original 67 D-Types were unsold when Jaguar temporarily retired from competition, it was decided to fit them up in a way that would make the D-Type acceptable to the Sports Car Club of America, which required that 50 units be produced. As the French say, aussitot dit, aussitot fait; the D-Type was fitted with an extra door, a full-frame windshield, an exhaust cowling and a rudimentary soft-top and voila, the D-Type became the XKSS, with its gorgeous curves, high tires and slim, stylish bumpers.
The XKSS was powered, like most Jaguars of that time, by a 3.4-liter straight-six engine that developed 250 horsepower, thanks to its triple 45 SCOE Weber carburattors. It was good for a 150 miles per hour top speed, and could accelerate to 60 in the still-impressive time of 5.7 seconds. Power and torque were routed to the rear wheels through a four-speed manual transmission; its impressive stopping power was due to its all-around disc brakes.
If you think 25 is a small number, try 16: an unfortunate fire destroyed the factory, unbuilt cars and tooling both, so only 16 were actually completed. Eventually, a few D-Types were retrofitted as XKSS, but they don’t really count. The 1957 Jaguar XKSS remains one of the rarest Jaguars ever built.