Converting Surplus Le Mans D-Types Into the Iconic XKSS

Expanding upon its remarkable selection for Monterey 2023, RM Sotheby’s is thrilled to unveil another addition: the 1957 Jaguar XKSS. This racing thoroughbred, originally designed for Le Mans and other world-class racing events, then later converted for street use, stands as one of the most notable Jaguar models accessible to the public.

The ensuing boom that defined post-war America saw a surge of young, wealthy drivers who desired cutting-edge vehicles with sexy lines and powerful engines. War-torn European automakers, eager for American dollars, happily supplied these cars, resulting in automotive marvels like the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, Ferrari 250 GT California Spider, and Porsche 356 Speedster.

The Jaguar XKSS epitomized this era. After withdrawing from racing in 1956, Jaguar had a surplus of unsold D-Type chassis in their factory. They devised the idea to convert these to road cars for the American market. The conversion involved removing racing elements and adding passenger features such as a full windshield, side screens, and a rudimentary folding top.

Originally planned for a production run of 25, the XKSS became even rarer due to a fire in the factory that destroyed nine of the cars. Ultimately, only 16 XKSS cars were produced. Despite their limited numbers, these cars gained legendary status, essentially D-Types modified for the street just a year after their last victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was an audacious idea driven by the economy, and anyone fortunate enough to go one experienced a truly enriching moment in their lives.

Among the original XKSS production was XKD 564, transformed into XKSS 707 and immediately sent to the United States. Changing hands through notable collectors throughout its life, XKSS 707 competed in historical events and has become one of the best-known examples of the model, especially in Europe.

With an odometer reading of 25,535 miles, this remarkable 1957 Jaguar XKSS retains its originality and showcases its authenticity. The car proudly displays its original serial number plate, chassis number stamping, gearbox, engine block, head and rear axle.

Two of the three carburettors are original, with only the front carburettor being replaced, possibly before leaving the factory. The brake calipers, master cylinder, and Plessey pump all remain original. The steel tubular chassis frame, front and rear suspension components, and monocoque are all original, maintaining the car’s integrity.

The bodywork is largely untouched, except for the bulkhead behind the seatbacks and the bonnet. This XKSS is a testament to its exceptional preservation and historical significance.

Rarity and fame have ensured that the XKSS remains the most sought after roadgoing Jaguar, with most examples now in the hands of owners who have held them for decades with no intention of parting with them shortly.

The offering of XKSS 707 represents a rare opportunity to acquire an ultra-original example ready to introduce a new owner to the thrill of a D-Type for the street.

Corey Buys Classic Cars - Sell Your Classic Car


Similar Posts