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An extraordinary Jaguar XKSS is about to hit the block

by Nik Berg
19 July 2023 2 min read
An extraordinary Jaguar XKSS is about to hit the block
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 in California.

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.

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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 UK 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”.

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.

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 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 (£9.2-£10.8m).

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