1950 Jaguar XKSS to become Most Expensive British Car

A classic 1950 Jaguar XKSS is set to become the most expensive British road car in history when it goes under the hammer and is expected to fetch £13.5 million. The XKSS is so desirable that the manufacturer recently revived it by building nine models that are identical those which left the factory in 1957.

1950 Jaguar XKSS Set to become Most Expensive British Car

But this original model is set to be the first to go on public sale in more than a decade. Experts expect a fierce bidding war from super-rich collectors around the world who are desperate to get their hands on the iconic car. 

The XKSS was first announced in 1956 when Jaguar decided to take a break from motor racing to focus on building production cars.  They based the sportster on the Le Mans-winning D-Type and announced a run of 25 units.  It did 0-60mph in 5.2 seconds, 0-100mph in 13.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 149mph.

However, disaster struck on February 12, 1957, when a fire ripped through Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant in Coventry, destroying the nine unfinished models.  This model, however, was finished in time and originally delivered to a customer in Montreal, Canada.

It has since been owned collectors in the USA and England and is due to be sold by Gooding & Co in Florida on March 10. The auction is held annually with the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

1950 Jaguar XKSS Set to become Most Expensive British Car

The guide price of £12.8million – £13.5million will make it the most expensive British road car in history and one of the most valuable cars ever sold publicly. It is nearly 5,500 times the car’s original 1957 price tag of around £2,500.

Auctioneer David Gooding said:

This renowned sports car delivers D-Type performance with nimble and responsive driving dynamics, paired perfectly with the most voluptuous design. 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.

Of the 16 cars which were completed, 12 were delivered to the USA, two to Canada, one to Hong Kong and a sole example remained in Britain.

1950 Jaguar XKSS Set to become Most Expensive British Car 2

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.

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.

Note: Press release courtesy of Gooding & Companyy, part of this article originally appeared in Express.

 

Staff

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