1957 Jaguar XKSS @ RM Sotheby's Monterey auction

1957 Jaguar XKSS @ RM Sotheby's Monterey auction

Estimate: $12,000,000 - $14,000,000 USD 


Chassis No. XKSS 707
Engine No.  E 2066-9
Gearbox No. GBD 172
Body No.    H 2064
Cylinder Head No. E 2066-9
Documents US Title


To be offered on Saturday, 19 August 2023
   
One of the absolute most original and best-preserved of the fabled XKSS examples
Sold new to California, where it was a regular sight on West Coast tracks in the 1960s
Formerly owned by Anthony Bamford and Campbell McLaren
Retains its numbers-matching engine block and head, gearbox, rear axle, and bodywork
Very well-maintained; driven on the 2022 Colorado Grand
The most sought-after of all roadgoing Jaguars; literally a D-type for the street


THE XKSS: AMERICAN DREAM

Reflecting on the era, it is utterly remarkable how many of the greatest post-war European sports cars came to be because of the United States. Post-war America through the late 1950s saw a new crop of enthusiastic young drivers, flush with money from a booming economy, who wanted the latest and greatest machinery with the sexiest lines and the most powerful engines. Europe’s war-torn automakers, meanwhile, were all too eager to supply whatever American dollars wanted. The resulting alchemy produced automotive magic, the likes of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, the Ferrari 250 GT California Spider, and the Porsche 356 Speedster.


The epitome of this era was the Jaguar XKSS. Jaguar had withdrawn from racing following the 1956 season and was left with a number of D-types remaining unsold in their factory stock. An idea was had that the cars could be converted to roadgoing specification and sold into the American market. The conversion, as it were, involved removing the large headrest fairing and tailfin and the center cockpit divider, and installing the niceties of a passenger door, full windshield, side screens, chromed bumperettes, and a rudimentary folding top.


With an initial planned production run of only 25 examples, scarcity became an even bigger factor when nine of the 25 cars were destroyed by a fire in the Browns Lane factory. Thus, effective total production of the XKSS was a mere 16 cars. As so frequently happens in automotive history, their legend long outlived the brief flourish of their construction, as they became recognized over time for what they are—a D-Type, only a year removed from the model’s last victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a door and weather protection, sold for the street. It was a lunatic idea, born of economy, and everyone who has had the thrill of driving one since has had their lives made richer for it.

XKSS 707: JAG 1

Among the original XKSS production was XKD 564, transformed into XKSS 707. Finished in cream over red leather, it was, of course, sent to the United States. Talented racer Lou Brero, Sr., who successfully raced several important Ferrari sports racers in the US and Mexico during the mid-1950s, paid for XKSS 707, but like many of the boldest drivers of this era, his life was lost in a racing accident in another car prior to actual delivery. XKSS 707 was instead sold to pugnacious sports car dealer and driver, Sammy Weiss, whose Oxford Motors of Sacramento, 
California sold it in 1960 to Sidney Colberg of San Francisco.

Mr. Colberg was a happy home for the car, as one of the first XKSS owners to retain his car for many years, recognizing its excellence; he would keep it until 1973, and through the 1960s would occasionally be seen driving it at race tracks up and down the West Coast. Mr. Colberg’s care throughout this period was extremely important in preserving the car’s current originality, as it was during the late 1960s and early 1970s that quite a few other cars fell into less caring homes, losing many of their original components as they became simply “used cars.”

 

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Tex yand Image: RM Sotheby's


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