This extraordinary Jaguar XKSS will hit the block at Monterey Car Week

Zach Brehl Courtesy of RM Sothebys

One of just 16 original 1957 Jaguar XKSS road-going racers built in 1957 is to go to auction at RM Sotheby’s during Monterey Car Week.

XKSS 707, like its sister cars, was built on an unsold D-Type chassis after Jaguar withdrew from racing. Jaguar had planned to assemble 25 cars for the American market, but a fire at the factory meant that only 16 were completed. To make it a little more user friendly Jaguar added a passenger seat, a more substantial windscreen, detachable side screens, and a nominal folding roof. The D-Type’s trademark fin was also lost to make room for the fitment of a luggage rack.

King of Cool Steve McQueen was the most famous XKSS owner but this particular example, converted from D-Type XKD 564, also has a fascinating history. It was ordered by noted Ferrari racer Lou Brero Sr. who tragically lost his life before the car was ready. Instead the car went to California sports car dealer and driver Sammy Weiss. Three years later it was sold to Sidney Colberg of San Francisco who kept it until 1973, using it regularly—and, most importantly, maintaining it to the highest standards. Colberg eventually sold it to Anthony (Lord) Bamford in the U.K. to join his collection, albeit briefly. It passed through the hands of several more enthusiasts before Jaguar fan I.G. Campbell McLaren of Glasgow, Scotland took ownership and fitted the car with the perfect number plate: “JAG 1”.

1957-Jaguar-XKSS 8
Zach Brehl Courtesy of RM Sothebys

The XKSS took part in the very first Le Mans Classic in 1978, and, during its stewardship under Allen Lloyd, competed in events such as the 2004 Mille Miglia, and was occasionally loaned for display at the Jaguar Heritage Museum.

With just 25,535 miles on the Smiths Instruments odometer, the car has a comprehensively-documented past that confirms it has the original serial number, chassis number, gearbox, engine block and head, plus rear axle. Two of the three carburetors are factory-fitment, along with the brake calipers. The chassis, suspension and monocoque are all original, with the exception of the rear bulkhead.

1957-Jaguar-XKSS 17
Zach Brehl Courtesy of RM Sothebys

The current owner Chris Keith-Lucas commissioned a full report and overhaul to bring the car back to its original condition at a cost of £57,000 ($74,000) and RM Sotheby’s describes it as “Still in beautiful condition with the patina only of enthusiastic use.”

Such cars rarely come up for sale so it’s no wonder that the auction house estimates a price of $12-$14 million.

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    Of course I’ll not be bidding… But if I were going to be, it wouldn’t be because of the rarity or provenance of this car. It’d be because it’s absolutely one of the coolest-looking and probably most exciting-to-drive automobiles ever.

    This looks exactly like my Lynx XKSS Ecurie Ecosse blue car I had in the 80s that I bought from Bob Rubin except mine had black interior, and mine did not have the head oiling crossover lube pipes.

    I saw one in the wild once, about 20 years ago. It was at the Detroit Triumph club annual show. I did not meet the owner but I believe it arrived there under it’s own power. It was nice to see one still being used by one of us mortal beings.

    Saw one years ago at R&M restorations in London, ON, Canada. Was told that the owner had sold it to finance his retirement.

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