The day is February 12, 1957. The setting is the Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory in Coventry, England. And what happens is the breakout of a tragic fire, destroying nine vehicles in stages of transition from dorsal-finned D-Type racing cars to smooth-backed XKSS cars, touted as the “world’s first supercar,” legal for street-use. After the fire, four of the cars were dismantled for parts and the rest were scrapped.

Now, nearly 60 years later, Jaguar Land Rover’s newly renamed Classic operation (previously called Jaguar Land Rover “Heritage”) has announced their plans to build nine XKSS cars, resurrecting the supercar dream. Many of the original drawing survive, but not enough to make tooling from. So the body drawings will be used as guidelines to build wooden bucks to be used as checking fixtures. This allowed examples of XKSS cars to be digitally scanned, since no two cars those days were identical, and an “average, ideal” body surface has been agreed upon from these scans.

The planned fabrication methods that mix sturdy old-world craftsmanship with high-tech means of manufacturing. More methods of modern 3D printing and/or CNC milling will probably be used to create the checking fixtures in order to perfect the body panels, but the panels themselves will be made the old fashioned way, using an English wheel. The cars will be built from scratch, including their engines which will be made at JLR’s Whitley prototype engine center.

The project aims to create nine XKSS cars that are as meticulously original as the lost ones, assembled to be better quality and more identical.

These cars will not be legal for street use. And at a price of nearly $1.5 million, it is not likely that anybody would use the vehicle practically. Despite the high price tag, five of the cars have already been reserved (2 for the United Kingdom, 2 for the United States, and 1 for New Zealand). Deliveries are planned for early 2017.

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