1957 Jaguar XKSS

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.

1957 Jaguar XKSS
1957 Jaguar XKSS

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.

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