Recognised as one of the movie world greats, both the actor and his car – Steve McQueens Jaguar XKSS – will be remembered in history.
In the early 1970’s McQueen was the highest paid actor of all time with a love of fast cars and motor racing.
Jaguars of the 1950’s today feature well in classic car racing, along with the Jaguar SS100 of pre war years and immediately afterwards.
The game changed yet again when Jaguar released its legendary record breaking new sports car, the XK120
The Jaguar XKSS was McQueens favourite car. He bought it second hand in 1958, paying $5,000 for it. However after losing his licence a couple times driving it, decided in 1967 it would be wise to sell it to avoid driving it too energetically and risk losing his licence yet again.
However by 1977 the temptation was too much so he tracked down the new owner and reportedly paid over $100,000 to buy it back.
This Jaguar remained his daily drive car until he sadly died in 1980 at the young age of 50 years.
His life story makes fascinating reading and illustrates his hard often brutal upbringing.
Built in 1956 McQueens Jaguar XKSS is one of only 16 ever built, being a road version based on the very successful 1955 to 57 Le Mans D Type race car.
Powered by a 262hp 3.4L triple carb engine through a Moss 4 speed racing gearbox having a top speed of 235 mph, the XKSS came about as Jaguar had 25 unused D Types in their factory.
Bill Lyons could see America was hungry for a fast lightweight car, and 16 were sold before a fire in February 1957 destroyed the factory along with 200 cars, including the remaining 9 XKSS still under construction.
That was the end of the Jaguar XKSS, until recently that is.
Jaguar have undertaken to hand build 10 exactly the same XKSS selling at $1.7million each, with the first displayed at the 2016 L A Motor Show.
And these are an exact rebuild, not a replica with many components being re-manufactured to their original specification.
This included engine block, cylinder head,carburettors, instruments, tires, controls , leather treatment the same as that used in the 1950’s, right down to the number of rivets used on the body, and their exact placement. Want more, see it all here in this 27min video. But Jaguar obviously aren’t as trusting Petersen Automotive Museum when it comes to going for a drive!
Coming backto McQueens Jaguar XKSS this now lives in the Petersen Automotive Museum, and is considered to be worth $40million.
No wonder Jay is still smiling after having driven it for this video and realizing what a great car it i. The rumour is the insurance premium for his little joyride cost a whopping $80,000. Ouch!
A rare opportunity to come for a virtual drive in a very rare and famous car.
Big thanks to Jay Leno for a great video, also to Wikipedia for having some missing information. Photos are video screen shots.