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1957 Jaguar XKSS news, pictures, specifications, and information
Twenty-five of the 68 Jaguar D-Type race cars were left unsold when Jaguar decided to cease its participation in the International Sports Car Racing program. Jaguar decided to convert the 25 remaining vehicles into road-worthy sports cars.
The rear fin was removed, bumpers were added, and the single seater was left topless with a canvas hood available to protect the driver from the elements. A windscreen was designed and a second door was added to accommodate passengers. With a Dual-Overhead Cam straight-six cylinder engine with 3442 cc capacity, the vehicle could race from zero to sixty in 7.3 seconds. The 250 horsepower output was capable of propelling the car to a top speed of nearly 150 miles-per-hour. Excellent stopping power was provided by the 4-wheel disc brakes.

In 1957, the XKSS was introduced at the New York Auto Show.

Sixteen private buyers purchased the XK-SS with the majority going to the United States. Two went to Canada, one to Hong Kong, one in the UK, and the rest to America. There were over 300 examples being built when a fire destroyed the machinery, assembly line, and most of the XKSS models. Steve McQueen, a film star and motor racing fan purchased one. McQueen is famous for his documentary of the 24 Hours of LeMans.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2010
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: 728
XKSS728 was originally produced as XKD547 by Jaguar Cars. It was displayed at the Barcelona Motor Show in 1956 but was not sold. It was returned to Jaguar Cars in Coventry, and converted by them into XKSS728. It is one of only 16 produced by Jaguar. The car was sold to Jaguar Cars of North America and displayed at the Chicago Motor Show in 1957. John Norvym of Chicago purchased the car with a Ferrari Super America as part exchange. He used the car sparingly until 1968, when he placed it in a heated garage. The car was sold in the Christies Pebble Beach Auction in 1998 to the present owner. The car was sent to England to be re-commissioned. it was carefully dismantled and essential parts, such as valve springs, bearings and brake seals, were replaced. The car is remarkable in that it is almost entirely untouched and original.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2010
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
The Jaguar XKSS was the road-going version of the racing D-Type. At the end of the D-Type production, 25 of the 68 race cars built remained unsold at the factory. These were adapted for the road with the addition of weather protection and a second door. The D's rear fin was removed, but remaining beneath the road-going version's more sober skin was a powerful sports car that could go from zero to sixty in 7 seconds and was capable of a top speed of over 150 mph. Sixteen XKSSs were quickly sold, with most going to the United States. Sadly, later in 1957, with 300 new XKSSs in production, a fire destroyed the Jaguar factory. This XKSS has spent all of its life in Canada and the United States.
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: 763
This Jaguar XKSS is thought to have been displayed at the New York Auto Show. It was then sold through the East Coast Jaguar distributor, Alfred Momo, to its first owner Anthony Rugiero. It has no known racing history and only changed hands again in 1983. In 1985, it was bought by Richard Freshman, who also owned the ex-McQueen car (XKSS 713), and in 1986 it went to Dietrich von Boetticher in Germany. Despite some damage in a collision with a guardrail during the 1980s, it is a very original car.
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: 710
This car was counted as part of Jaguar's stock of unsold D-Types on November 21, 1956. It was originally sold to Richard Kessler who raced the car between July and September, 1957 at American venues including Lime Rock, Marlboro, Montgomery and Watkins Glen.

The car was then converted back to D-Type specifications and sold to Don Horn of Memphis, Tennessee. He raced the car on a few occasions. The car was eventually sold Gary Bartlett in the U.S. He also purchased the old 3.4 liter engine and the XKSS components. That collection of pieces was carefully rebuilt in the 2005-06 period. The car was entered in and rolled over during the 2006 Mille Miglia, luckily without permanent harm to the vehicle or occupants. It was repaired and purchased by the current owners afterwards.
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: XKSS 716
Engine Num: E 2080-9
This XKSS was counted as part of the stock of unsold D-types on November 21, 1956. On June 12 1957, it was sold to Stanley McRobert of Montreal, who raced and hillclimbed in Canada with some success including at Harewood Acres. Two races entered resulting in a first and second finish. In October, at the Mount Gabriel hillclimb, the Jaguar finished first and set the fastest time and held the course record for several years. This car went through several owners who raced at Harewood Acres and at the Mosport Canadian Grand Prix. It continued to race through 1961. It then moved to an owner in Ohio, and later in New York, but around 1980 was sold to John Harper in England. He had it converted by Lynx Engineering to D-Type specification and the car continued to be raced by Harper and later by Jaguar guru John Pearson in the United Kingdom. In 1993 the car returned to the United States. it is now privately owned and is used for vintage racing and tours. In 2000 it was used for vintage racing and tours and was converted back to an XKSS Jaguar specification.
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: 713
Engine Num: E2076-9
Gearbox Num: GBD 177
The XKSS was a road-going version of the successful Jaguar D-Type racing car.

Originally owned by noted Riverside Raceway designer James Edward Peterson, this example was later sold to television personality Bill Leyden before being acquired by actor Steve McQueen. One of only 16 built, it was originally white with a red interior. After McQueen purchased the car he had it repainted a favorite shade of green, polished the Dunlop wheels and had the interior re-trimmed in black. McQueen did most of the maintenance himself as he was a capable mechanic. He enjoyed driving the car fast and is reported to have received so many tickets and his drivers license was almost suspended twice during his first year of ownership. He sold the car in the early 1970s to famed collector Bill Harrah and later reacquired the car in 1978 keeping it until his untimely death in 1980. After McQueen's death in 1984, the car was bought by his friend and neighbor Richard Freshman, who had it overhauled by Jaguar specialist Lynx Engineering in England. In 2000 the car was acquired by the Petersen Automotive Museum of Los Angeles.
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: 754
It is believed that this Jaguar XKSS was sold through Joe Shepherd Motors of Tampa, Florida, to its first owner who had it painted silver and raced it until around 1961. The second owner, Joe Scherer, damaged the car in a hill climb and sold it in damaged condition to Bill Culbertson of Dayton, Ohio. A major restoration was eventually completed with the help of Lynx Engineering in England. The car was sold by RM Auctions to its present U.S. owner, who has used it for a number of historic tours and events.
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: 725
Very little is known about the history of this Jaguar XKSS. The first owner shipped it to Cuba where it took part in the infamous high-speed run against XKSS 766 from Havana to Vera Dero beach in 1957. Years later, in the 1980s, this car and XKSS 766 were found in Cuba by English collector Colin Crabbe. He succeeded in buying both cars, and in 1987 had them shipped to England where they were rebuilt by Hall & Fowler for the German Donhoff collection. The car was sold to its present owner in 2009.
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: 766
The first owner of this Jaguar XKSS, J.B. 'Pepillo' Del Cuerto took delivery of the car in Miami and had it shipped straight to Cuba. He and fellow XKSS owner Fausto Gonzalez Chavez tested their cars in a high-speed run during which Del Cuerto crashed and was killed. The wrecked car was kept undisturbed in a junkyard on the island until 1967 when it was liberated by Cabrera and Chaguito and the car was made roadworthy although rarely used. It was rediscovered and bought by Colin Crabbe in 1986. The car was restored by Hall & Fowler in the United Kingdom for German collector Donhoff. In 1996 it went to Dean Meiling in the United States who used it many events before selling in 2010.
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: 769
This Jaguar XKSS was supplied to its first owner through Ted Baumgartner who had it repainted Buick Maroon. The first owner, American race driver Tossie Alex, owned the car into the early 1960s and raced it at Road America, Meadowdale and other SCCA race meetings. In 1964 it was for sale in New York and by 1971 it was in Illinois. In 1991 it was bought by Gerald Nell of Wisconsin, who owned it for 18 years and put 20,000 miles on the car, driving it in historic events in both Europe and the United States. In 2009 the car joined a major private car collection in England.
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: 704
This Jaguar XKSS was raced by a Dr. Thompson and other amateur race drivers from 1957 to 1960. Sadly, at Marlboro, Maryland, on June 7, 1958, the car crashed in practice and its driver, Steve Spitler, was killed. The car was rebuilt and passed to Ronald Scranton in 1960. He used it until 1964 and then stored it away, until selling it to Jaguar collector Walter Hill in Florida. In 1974, Stirling Moss drove this car for a documentary about the Sebring Circuit in Florida where so many Jaguar victories took place. Hill restored the car to its original specification and it was then sold at the Gooding auction at Pebble Beach in 2005.
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: 722
This is the only Jaguar XKSS that was initially sold to an owner in England. It was 'road tested' by basil Boothroyd for the satirical Punch magazine in London, with illustrations by motoring cartoonist Brockbank. In 1958, it was bought by Colonel Ronnie Hoare, of the Ferrari importers Maranello Concessionaires. From 1960 to 1962, it was owned by Bob Gibson-Jarvie of the finance company UDT. After an accident in 1963 the car was rebuilt in D-Type form and raced by Bill Rigg until sold to amateur racer Nigel Moores. In the late 1980s it was returned to its original XKSS specification and in 1989 it was acquired for the Louwman collection of the Dutch National Motor Museum at The Hague.
Designer: Malcolm Sayer
Chassis Num: XKSS 716
Engine Num: E 2080-9
In the post World War II era, when companies were rebuilding and furiously working to build competitive vehicles for both the road and the track, Jaguar was seemingly ahead of the pack. Their Jaguar XK120 was a sensational and popular vehicle even though it was originally intended as a limited-edition stopgap model. Cars were in short supply and William Lyons assumed that the fortune of his company, the recently re-named Jaguar Cars Ltd., would be made on saloon cars, especially in the U.S. market. The new roadster, dubbed the XK120, made its debut at the 1948 Earl's Court Motor Show.

In 1951, Jaguar launched an assault on LeMans with the XK120C or C-Type. The 'C' was for competition and Jaguar wasn't kidding. It was pure race car designed with a space-frame chassis made of steel tubing along with an independent rear suspension. The aerodynamic body was designed by Malcolm Sayer and built of aluminum. Jaguar won the 1951 24 Hours of LeMans with a C-Type driven by Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead. When the 1952 LeMans cars retired due to overheating, the C-Type was redesigned slightly for the 1953 race and also made 150 pounds lighter due to the use of lightweight electrical equipment and aircraft-style fuel tanks. C-Types finished first, second, fourth, and ninth at LeMans in 1953.

Under the direction of company founder Sir William Lyons and chief engineer William Heynes, development of a state-of-the-art sports racing car began to take shape. It made its official competition debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 1954.

The Jaguar D-Type, an evolution of the previous cars and inspired by the latest advances in aircraft technology, was given a high-strength alloy monocoque chassis, with load-bearing external panels and tubular subframes fore and aft. Four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes were placed at all four corners, a dry-sump lubrication was added, and a deformable fuel bladder installed.

Another individual who helped create the shape of the D-Type was Malcolm Sayer, an expert aerodynamicist who had left the Bristol Aeroplane Company to work for Jaguar. His input led to the car's highly effective bodywork, created from aluminum, and perfected in the wind tunnel. The result was a lightweight design that featured compound curves, ideal proportions, and was undeniably beautiful.

Under the elegantly crafted bonnet was a development of the proven XK twin-cam, straight-six engine that debuted in 1948. Equipped with three Weber 45 DCO3 carburetors, high-compression pistons, high-lift camshafts, and an asymmetrical wide-angle cylinder head, the D-Type's engine produced at least 250 BHP. The top speed was in excess of 170 mph.

The D-Type was campaigned by the Jaguar factory team and privateers, including Ecurie Ecosse and Briggs Cunningham, during its racing career. Notable highlights include three overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1955, 1956, and 1957), two wins at the 12 Hours of Reims (1954 and 1956), and outright victories at the 1955 12 Hours of Sebring and the 1956 Grand Prix of Spa.

At the height of the D-Type's career, in October of 1956, Jaguar made the decision to temporarily retire from motor racing to focus on production cars. At this point in history, nearly all of the D-Types had been created and delivered to customers. Just 25 cars remained unsold. Sir William Lyons decided to have the 25 remaining D-Types modified and presented for sale to the public as a limited-production, road-going version of his Le Mans-winning race car.

A states was issued by Jaguar Cars Ltd. on January 21st, 1957, stating: 'Jaguar are to produce a new 2-seater sports-racing car as a result of the increasing demand from America for a type of vehicle equally suitable for normal road use and sports car racing. The new model which, initially, will be for export only, will be based on the already famous Le Mans type Jaguars and will be known as the Jaguar XK 'SS' type.'

'The new model will depart from the somewhat Spartan simplicity of the 'D' type by the incorporation of a full-width orthodox windscreen, folding hood, completely equipped touring type instrument panel, well-upholstered seating, luggage grid, bumpers and other refinements appropriate to a car intended for fast touring as well as for sports car racing. The car will be fitted with Dunlop disc brakes and the general construction and mechanical specification will follow closely that of the outstandingly successful 'D' type. The new model will be an addition to the Jaguar range and will not supplant any existing models. First deliveries to America are planned to commence in February. Price in USA $6,900.'

By early February of 1957, Jaguar had constructed 16 examples of the XKSS. On February 12th, a fire broke out at the Browns Lane Plane, destroying nine unfinished chassis.

The United States had been the largest market for the XKSS, with 12 of the 16 examples being delivered stateside. Two examples were delivered to Canada, one example remained in Britain, and one was sold to Hong Kong.

Most of the XKSS were immediately entered in competition. With their racing heritage, they could sprint from zero-to-sixty mph in just 5.2 seconds. Top speed was nearly 150 mph.

A few XKSS examples were used as daily transportation, including the example owned by famed actor and racing driver Steve McQueen, who purchased his car secondhand in 1958 and retained it for nearly a decade.

This particular example is chassis number XKSS 716, which was one of Jaguar's unsold D-Types - having chassis number XKD 575. In early 1957, Jaguar converted the D-Type into an XKSS and finished it in the color scheme of British Racing Green with tan leather upholstery. In May 1957, the completed car was dispatched to Jaguar of Eastern Canada, an official distributor based in Montreal. On June 12, it was sold to its first private owner, Stanley C. McRobert.

Mr. McRobert entered the Jaguar in various races and hill climbs through 1957 and 1958, winning all but one race at Harewood Acres, where he finished second.

Don Stewart purchased the car in mid-1958. Mr. McRobert had sold the XKSS after he purchased the other Canadian-delivered XKSS (chassis 760), which had been converted back to D-Type specification by Briggs Cunningham's team manager, Alfred Momo.

Mr. Stewart continued to race XKSS 716 in Canada, participating in races at Green Acres and Harewood Acres. In 1958, Mr. Stewart sold the Jaguar to Ray Carter. In May of 1959, Ray Carter and his co-driver Craig hill drove the XKSS to an overall win at Harewood Acres. This 500-kilometer enduro was the first professional race organized by the Canadian Racing Drivers Association (CRDA), and it had attracted an estimated 10,000 spectators.

As 1960 was coming to a close, the car was sold to Nat Adams, who repainted the car red and entered it in several races at Mosport, including the Canadian Grand Prix, where he finished 12th overall.

In January 1962, Nat Adams sold XKSS 716 to an individual in Ohio, and the car relocated to the United States. Peter Kalikow purchased the car in 1968 and sold it in the early 1970s. Around 1980, it was sold to John Harper of the UK. While in his care, he had Lynx convert the car into D-Type specification, while retaining all the original XKSS components. After the work was completed, he raced the car in vintage events throughout 1981 and 1982.

The next owner was John Pearson, founder of Pearsons Engineering, who continued to race the Jaguar in historic events during 1983 and 1984. In 1993, it was sold through Brian Redman, to Don Marsh of Columbus, Ohio. It remained in Mr. Marsh's collection until 2000, when it was sold to the current caretaker, who has enjoyed the car on road and track. In the mid-2000s, the car was returned to its original XKSS specification using the original XKSS components.

This Jaguar retains its original data tag, body, chassis, engine block, and cylinder head. It is finished in a dark green exterior. It made its concours debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August of 2010, where it was joined by 12 of the 16 original XKSS cars. Since then, the car has been shown at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este and driven on several exclusive tours in Europe and North America.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2017
The Jaguar D-Type sports cars were produced from 1954 through 1957. These factory-built race cars were similar to the C-Type, but given more powerful engines, improved chassis, and aerodynamic bodies.
Walter Hassan was tasked with designing a sportscar for Jaguar. The result was the XK-120 which showed promise on the racing circuit. Although the alloy bodied cars were fast, it would not be a serious contender at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Further development was needed. In 1951 the XK 120 C, also known as the C-Type, was prepared and ready for testing at Le Mans. The straight-six cylinder engine had been modified to production 210 horsepower and various other mechanical enhancements greatly improve the performance. Three C-Types were entered in the Le Mans race with two failing to finish. The third C-Type finished strong, winning the event while averaging 93.49 miles-per-hour.

Three experimental C-Types were entered in LeMans in 1952. A long tail had been applied to the C-Type in an effort to improve aerodynamics and stability during the long, straight stretches. Unfortunately, all three failed to finish due to overheating problems. For 1953, the use of experimental bodies was scrapped in favor of the tradition bodies. The factory cars were fitted with disc brakes. In the end, this combination proved to be all that was necessary to score top finishes.

To stay ahead of the competition, Jaguar began working on a Le Mans replacement for the C-Type, resulting in six D-Types in 1954.

The D-Type was constructed of a monocoque-type chassis welded to a subframe. Later versions of the car were bolted, rather than welded, to allow easy detachment.

The same XK engine was used, albeit with minor modifications such as the use of dry-sump lubrication. The frontal area to house the engine was decreased. This was to provide for higher top speeds as Le Mans. A large fin was place behind the driver to provide stability at speeds in excess of 150 mph. Due to the new design, additional modifications to the shape and size of the engine were required to fit it into the engine bay. It was tilted 8-degrees, resulting in an off-center bump in the hood. The 1955 D-Types used asymmetrical heads, known as '35/40' heads, with intake valves positioned at 35-degress and exhaust valves at 40-degrees.

Four D-Types were entered into the 1954 Le Mans race and were not enough to beat the powerful Ferraris. 1955 modifications propelled the Jaguar marque to its third LeMans victory. A Mercedes-Benz SLR was leading the Jaguar by two laps when it was withdrawn from the race.

Though 1955 meant another victory at LeMans for Jaguar, it was a devastating year for the sport. The Mercedes-Benz SLR's were poised to capture the victory when a tragic accident occurred, involving an SLR, and killing the driver and 80 spectators. Mercedes-Benz withdrew from the race and from motorsports.

Most of the D-Types were single seaters and built for the race track. During the final year of production, Jaguar offered the Jaguar XKSS, a street version of the race car.


Twenty-five of the 68 Jaguar D-Type race cars were left unsold when Jaguar decided to cease its participation in the International Sports Car Racing program. Jaguar decided to convert the 25 remaining vehicles into road-worthy sports cars.

Bumpers were added and the single-seater was left topless with a canvas hood available to protect the driver from the elements. A windscreen was designed and a second door was added to accommodate passengers. With a Dual-Overhead Cam straight-six cylinder engine with 3442 cc capacity, the vehicle could race from zero to sixty in 7.3 seconds. The 250 horsepower output was capable of propelling the car to a top speed of nearly 150 miles-per-hour. Excellent stopping power was provided by the 4-wheel disc brakes.

In 1957, the XKSS was introduced at the New York Auto Show.

Sixteen private buyers purchased the XK-SS with the majority going to the United States. Two went to Canada, one to Hong Kong, one in the UK, and the rest to America. Later, a fire destroyed the machinery, assembly line, and most of the XKSS models. Steve McQueen, a film star and motor racing fan purchased one. McQueen is famous for his documentary of the 24 Hours of LeMans.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2008
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