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LA show: Jag delivers first ‘new’ XKSS

First cat off the rank: This exquisite Jaguar XKSS is the first produced to the same specifications as the original cars in more than half a century, and will be followed by nine others.

All nine reproduced Jaguar XKSS sportscars sold before first example completed

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Jaguar logo18 Nov 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

JAGUAR has put the final coat of polish and kicked the tyres of the first “new original” XKSS classic sportscar almost 60 years after the last production run ended, but all nine examples that will roll out of the car-maker’s specialised facility have already been spoken for.

It has not been revealed where the ultra-exclusive Jags will be homed in the world but the iconic brand used the Los Angeles motor show as the stage to debut the first completed XKSS and has revealed that customers were asked in the region of 1 million ($A1.4m) to secure their cars.

The nine car’s chassis numbers will be the only truly original element used in the creation of the fleet, with all components made from scratch using the correct materials and at the hands of experts at Jaguar Classic – the car-maker’ s dedicated restoration branch.

Customer cars are yet to be completed and the LA show car is a special one-off that was created to provide a blueprint for the manufacturing of the retail versions and wears a traditional Sherwood Green paint with tan leather interior. Jaguar has not revealed where the unique XKSS will reside but it is likely that it will live in the company’s private collection after touring a number of public events.

A fire in 1957 at the UK factory destroyed nine of the 25 original cars and the modern day recreation project was officiated in March this year to replace those lost vehicles.

With the demo version now completed, the UK team will turn its attention to the sold vehicles and the first example with a genuine chassis number will be delivered in 2017.

The team scanned several surviving original XKSS cars and carefully studied original drawings to produce a completely accurate schematic for the reproduction versions, including a new clay model ‘styling buck’.

Its body is crafted using traditional hand-wheeling methods from magnesium alloy just as the 1950s cars were, while the chassis is constructed using tube-specialists Reynolds materials and bronze welding.

It is the same story with the magnesium two-piece wheels and tyres, which are produced by Dunlop to exact original specifications.

The XKSS engine is also identical to the original powerplant and was recast and constructed to produce the same 195kW from just 3.4 litres and six, naturally-aspirated cylinders. Fuelling is courtesy of carburettor authority Weber.

On the inside, the same attention to detail has been applied to the reproduction (but original spec) Smiths gauges, brass fittings and switchgear, while even the leather and wood grades have been selected to match the original cars.

The only changes to the original design were made in the name of safety, including a new fuel cell that uses more dependable materials for modern fuels.

Classic Jaguar engineering manager Kev Riches said the team was committed to producing the vehicles exactly as they were before being lost in the fire nearly 60 years ago.

“The XKSS is one of the most important cars in Jaguar’s history, and we are committed to making the ‘new original’ version absolutely faithful to the period car in every way,” he said.

“From the number, type and position of all the rivets used – there are more than 2000 in total – to the Smiths gauges on the dashboard, everything is the same as the original cars, because that is the way it should be”.

The XKSS will be produced alongside six reproduction examples of the even more exclusive Lightweight E-Type Jaguars, which were chalked for manufacturing in 1964 but never made it to the racetrack.

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