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The world of super-expensive classic collector cars is hard to talk about with any sincerity. The numbers are so big that it feels distant beyond comprehension. While I don’t have a solid grasp of exactly what $12,000,000 really is, a 1957 Jaguar XKSS 707 heading for auction might be worth that much or, somehow, even more. The car is set to be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s during Monterey Car Week in August. While it could be one of the most expensive cars ever, the Jaguar XKSS might well be the most beautiful car ever made. It’s faster’n snot, too. 

A very brief history of the Jaguar XKSS 

This Jaguar XKSS 707 could sell for over $12,000,000
Jaguar XKSS 707 | RM Sotheby’s

The Jaguar XKSS came into this world as a failure. The only reason there is a model called the XKSS is because Jaguar chose to quit racing after the 1956 season. At the time, Jaguar’s main squeeze was the LeMans-winning Jaguar D-Type. This beautiful little car didn’t just win LeMans; it did it three years in a row (1955, 1956, and 1957). Although the factory pulled out of racing in ’56, 25 D-Types were still buzzing around. American racer Briggs Cunningham pushed Jaguar to match those 25 to meet the Sports Car Club of America’s rules to qualify for production sports car racing in the U.S.

The race cars went from the factory designation of XKD to XKSS. The added letters supposedly stand for Super Sport, a name given to many different cars over the years. According to Road and Track, Jaguar gave the newly-named XKSS the same 250-hp dry-sump 3.4-liter straight-6 engine that powered the D-Types to win LeMans three times. This little engine could rocket the car from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph. This might as well have been a laser at the time. It kept its hot motor, and the XKSS also retained the rack and pinion steering and disc brakes. Jag slapped on some bumpers, blinkers, a proper windshield, a luggage rack, and larger taillights. 

With that, the Jaguar took its street-legal LeMans car to the New York Auto Show. As you can easily imagine, people were eager to order the most beautiful car they had ever seen. As the factory began reworking the former D-Types, tragedy struck. In 1957, a fire broke out at the factory where the work was being done. The fire destroyed nine of the cars as well as the tools and machines needed to build them. Then there were only 16. 

How much is a Jaguar XKSS worth? 

Jaguar XKSS 707 parked on the road. This is one of the most beautiful cars ever made.
Jaguar XKSS 707 | RM Sotheby’s

Given the insane rarity, storied history, and unrivaled beauty, the few remaining Jaguar XKSSs are quite highly revered. The list of people who own one is beyond the upper crust. Ralph Lauren owns an actual D-Type that got the factory XKSS treatment. Steve McQueen owned one, sold it, then missed it so much that he bought it back. 

If you care to join the rarified air that folks like Ralph Lauren and Steve McQueen enjoy, there is an XKSS heading to the auction block at Monterey Car Week next month. 

There are so few of these cars that looking at previous sales is tough to determine a value. That said, RM Sotheby’s experts expect this well-documented 1957 Jaguar XKSS to sell for more than $12,000,000. 

This would put the little Jag in a very exclusive club of cars sold for over 10 million dollars, of which there are only 64 cars that have ever done it.