Jaguar to Build Nine More of the Ultra-Rare XK-SS

Photography by © Sid Avery /, including the featured image (unless otherwise stated)


Just this last year continuing into 2016, Jaguar built six continuation Lightweight E-Types to be sold as new cars. These six cars complete the original projected number of eighteen, with only twelve being built back in 1963. All six were sold practically before they were event built.

While this has been hush-hush until now, Jaguar will be making nine more of the ultra-rare, ultra-beautiful, once Steve McQueen owned XK-SS. This is called project Phoenix. When new, there were only sixteen built with twenty-five originally planed XK-SS models produced. You may only be familiar with the one owned by the King of Cool, Steve McQueen, photographed here by my grandpa.


The XK-SS was built from the stunning and successful D-Type racecar. Back when they were raced, there were twenty-five rusting D-Types lying around as obsolete racecars as Jaguar had decided to not be involved in factory racing after 1956. That’s until Sir William Lyons said “I don’t know what to do with those,” to which Bob Blake replied “Let me take one in the comp shop and I’ll see what we can do about making a road car of them…”

How do you make an XK-SS from a D-Type? Well, not much is changed from one car to the other except these key differences: a full-width orthodox windscreen, folding hood, completely-equipped touring type instrument panel, luggage rack, well-upholstered seating and bumpers plus a few other small things to make it an ideal touring/sports racing car.


That’s how the XK-SS came about. While twenty-five were to be built only sixteen had been completed, with twelve sent to the U.S. market, when on February 12, 1957 a fire broke out and destroyed the remaining nine D-Types. This put a complete and final halt to the project…until now.

Just like with the Lightweight E-Types in 2015-16, Jaguar is producing nine more XK-SS cars to be sold. But don’t get too excited, chances are they’ve all been pre-sold. It should be a thrill to see these rare and exclusive cats roaming the streets in slightly higher numbers than before today.

The Petersen Museum Jaguar exhibit 1956 XKSS, 1965 FHC E-Type 12-23-13 © 2013 Ron Avery

© 2013 Ron Avery

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