Gooding & Company, the auction house acclaimed for selling the world’s most significant and valuable collector cars, is thrilled to announce a sensational 1957 Jaguar XKSS at the company’s Amelia Island Auction on March 10. The illustrious model has always been highly sought after; famed actor and racer Steve McQueen had to have one and was often seen racing around in his beloved XKSS. One of the ultimate road and racing cars from the 1950s, this beautifully presented Jaguar is sure to excite every enthusiast and collector next month.
“This renowned sports car delivers D-Type performance with nimble and responsive driving dynamics, paired perfectly with the most voluptuous design,” exclaims David Gooding, President and Founder of Gooding & Company. “For us to present this XKSS, one of the greatest sports cars of all time and the first one offered at public auction in over a decade, is truly a great honor.”
Jaguar had tremendous racing success with the company’s D-Type, most notably 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. In October 1956, at the height of the D-Type’s career, Jaguar announced that it was temporarily retiring from motor racing to focus on production cars. On January 21, 1957, the company publicized plans to build and sell an exclusive run of 25 road-going sports cars based on its Le Mans-winning D-type, to be known as the XKSS. Jaguar had constructed only 16 examples of the XKSS when, on the evening of February 12, 1957, a fire engulfed the Browns Lane plant, destroying the nine unfinished chassis.
The car presented here, chassis XKSS 716, is one of those 16 original examples of the famed roadster. The Jaguar was delivered new to Montreal, Canada, where it was raced to many first-place finishes in Canadian sports car events from 1957 to 1961. The XKSS was sold amongst prominent Jaguar enthusiasts, where it continued to race in various events and enjoyed at numerous vintage rallies, until the current owner acquired the car nearly two decades ago.
About ten years ago, XKSS 716 received a complete, show-quality restoration by UK-based marque specialist Pearsons Engineering. Beautifully restored and refinished in an attractive deep, dark green, XKSS 716 made its concours debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® in August 2010, where Jaguar was featured in recognition of its 75th anniversary. To honor the company’s most famous and beloved car, the show’s organizers arranged a special XKSS class, reuniting 12 of the 16 original cars. Since this outing, the XKSS has been shown at the prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and driven on exclusive tours in Europe and North America.
Today, it remains in superb cosmetic and mechanical condition. On a recent outing, it delivered thrilling performance, with impressive power, light yet precise controls, confidence-inspiring handling, and a glorious, hair-raising exhaust note. A decade has passed since the last XKSS was offered for sale at public auction, with most examples now guarded in private collections. When the next example might become available is anyone’s guess, but it will almost certainly pale in comparison to XKSS 716.