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Jag XK-SS


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#1 Tmeranda

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 13:55

I know some D types were converted to XK-SS by private owners, but were all factory converted XK-SS short nose or were some long nose converted as well?

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#2 Andrew Stevens

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 14:20

All 16(?) of them were done on short nose cars. I seem to recall that the long nose cars were really only for factory/approved customer racing use and any of the 'normal' production cars were all short nose model. There are a lot more expert than me about though!

#3 Rosemayer

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 15:35

Here is one you will know the owner.
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#4 D-Type

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 16:07

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "were converted to XK-SS by private owners". A private owner could remove the headrest/fin and the central divider, fit a full width screen, and otherwise modify the car for road use but it would be a "D- modified for road use" not an XK-SS, for example at one time the Murkett Bros/ border Reivers car had its headrest removed.

Despite my user name, I know very little about D-Types. As far as I know, there were very few long nose cars as they were the 1955-56 factory cars that were later sold to Ecurie Ecosse, Cunningham and I think Duncan Hamilton. So it is unlikely that any of them were modified into XK-SS look-alikes.

This website gives a chassis by chassis history, but I can't vouch for its accuracy or whether it is up-to-date

Edited by D-Type, 22 September 2009 - 16:17.


#5 Macca

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 19:08

That website doesn't seem to be there now........

Does anybody know if a D-Type ever ran with wire wheels, rather than the Dunlop alloys?


Paul M

#6 Mal9444

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 20:56

In Touch Wood Duncan Hamilton claims to have been the first to convert a D-type to wide windscreen, road-going spec - but of course it was not a XK-SS since, as has already been pointed out, only Jaguar built XK-SSs. Indeed, IIRC (don't have the book to hand) Hamilton claims that it was this conversion that gave Jaguar not only the idea but the prototype for a roadster version of the race car. I have also read, but can't remember where, that the XK-SS came into being simply to use up the surplus unsold supply of production racing D-types, originally produced to sell to privateers for competition use, because despite the Le Mans and other successes the race cars were not selling, having been by 1956 out-classed and no longer competitive. Again, Hamilton in his book goes to some lengths to explain how it was (through much modification and upgrading of production parts) that his own D-types were superior to the factory-built version. All the XK-SSs built, I believe, began life as D-types and were converted, rather than built as roadsters from the outset - but I stand to be corrected on that.

There was a car claiming to be an XK-SS in the pre-67 car park at the Revival - does anyone know if it was genuine, or a recreation/ replica? Given the rarity of the genuine article and the fact that it was just 'sitting there', I assumed the latter.

Personally, I have always thought the XK-SS to be one of the most stunning-looking roadsters ever produced, and a much better-looking car than the E-type.

#7 Dutchy

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 15:16

I saw the car you refer to in the Revival car park - most definitely a replica

#8 RCH

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 10:17

In Touch Wood Duncan Hamilton claims to have been the first to convert a D-type to wide windscreen, road-going spec - but of course it was not a XK-SS since, as has already been pointed out, only Jaguar built XK-SSs. Indeed, IIRC (don't have the book to hand) Hamilton claims that it was this conversion that gave Jaguar not only the idea but the prototype for a roadster version of the race car. I have also read, but can't remember where, that the XK-SS came into being simply to use up the surplus unsold supply of production racing D-types, originally produced to sell to privateers for competition use, because despite the Le Mans and other successes the race cars were not selling, having been by 1956 out-classed and no longer competitive. Again, Hamilton in his book goes to some lengths to explain how it was (through much modification and upgrading of production parts) that his own D-types were superior to the factory-built version. All the XK-SSs built, I believe, began life as D-types and were converted, rather than built as roadsters from the outset - but I stand to be corrected on that.

There was a car claiming to be an XK-SS in the pre-67 car park at the Revival - does anyone know if it was genuine, or a recreation/ replica? Given the rarity of the genuine article and the fact that it was just 'sitting there', I assumed the latter.

Personally, I have always thought the XK-SS to be one of the most stunning-looking roadsters ever produced, and a much better-looking car than the E-type.


IIRC it is all laid out in Andrew Whyte's excellent book, however from memory the XKSSs were all converted D Types as you said. The idea was to sell them as "production" cars to race in the USA and possibly to be homologated for GT racing which was just beginning in Europe. Jaguar claimed that they were going to build them as a low volume production car but then the factory fire destroyed the tooling (perhaps providentially) and recovering from this disaster meant that there was no room or time for low volume production. The decision was therefore taken to push on with the embryonic E Type.

I suspect Jaguar never really wanted people to know that the XKSSs were never more than converted unsold production D Types.

#9 Tmeranda

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 14:53

IIRC it is all laid out in Andrew Whyte's excellent book, however from memory the XKSSs were all converted D Types as you said. The idea was to sell them as "production" cars to race in the USA and possibly to be homologated for GT racing which was just beginning in Europe. Jaguar claimed that they were going to build them as a low volume production car but then the factory fire destroyed the tooling (perhaps providentially) and recovering from this disaster meant that there was no room or time for low volume production. The decision was therefore taken to push on with the embryonic E Type.

I suspect Jaguar never really wanted people to know that the XKSSs were never more than converted unsold production D Types.

AIRI Jag was very proud of the fact that the XK-SS' were converted D types. Were else could you get a road legal car that only a year or two prior had ruled LeMans.

#10 Tmeranda

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 15:29

IIRC it is all laid out in Andrew Whyte's excellent book, however from memory the XKSSs were all converted D Types as you said. The idea was to sell them as "production" cars to race in the USA and possibly to be homologated for GT racing which was just beginning in Europe. Jaguar claimed that they were going to build them as a low volume production car but then the factory fire destroyed the tooling (perhaps providentially) and recovering from this disaster meant that there was no room or time for low volume production. The decision was therefore taken to push on with the embryonic E Type.

I suspect Jaguar never really wanted people to know that the XKSSs were never more than converted unsold production D Types.

AIRI Jag was very proud of the fact that the XK-SS' were converted D types. Were else could you get a road legal car that only a year or two prior had ruled LeMans.

#11 RCH

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 22:26

AIRI Jag was very proud of the fact that the XK-SS' were converted D types. Were else could you get a road legal car that only a year or two prior had ruled LeMans.


Sorry didn't make myself clear. Jaguar wanted people to think the XKSS was a new "production" car based on the D Type, not converted unsold D Types.