How much did a Jaguar XK SS cost when it was first released?

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Jaguar XK SS
ID 43174120 © Robert Wisdom | Dreamstime.com

When discussing iconic vintage sports cars, it’s impossible not to mention the Jaguar XK SS. This legendary sports car, built by Jaguar Cars Ltd., stands among the venerated ranks of the most enduring and attractive vehicles the world has ever seen. The XK SS is the road-going version of Jaguar’s highly successful D-Type racing car, and it still effortlessly turns heads with its sleek, curvilinear design. But how much did it cost when it first rolled out of production lines? Let’s delve into the historical records to find that out.

The Jaguar XK SS had a very limited production run which was due to a catastrophic fire at the Jaguar factory in 1957. Originally, 25 of these vehicles were planned, but owing to the fire, only 16 were completed. The exclusivity of these models right from the outset has made them extremely sought after by collectors and vintage car enthusiasts worldwide.

The Jaguar XK SS was unveiled to the public in 1957, long before power steering, heated seats, or touchscreen infotainment became normalized features in our vehicles. Functionality and safety had not yet matched pace with speed and performance in terms of design philosophy. Yet, in spite of lacking these modern comforts, the XK SS commanded a significant price due to its incredibly powerful performance, groundbreaking design, and extreme rarity.

Determining the exact original price of the XK SS can be quite challenging, given the time that has since elapsed and the rarity of this model. Nevertheless, various sources indicate that the price for a brand-new XK SS would have been roughly $5,000 in 1957. In that era, this price tag was significant and would limit the car’s accessibility to a small, exclusive, affluent clientele. The XK SS was indeed a veritable symbol of luxury and status, largely reserved for the crested few.

In today’s terms, accounting for inflation since 1957, $5,000 equates to approximately $46,000. However, it’s essential to bear in mind that the XKSS was a hand-built, tailor-made vehicle, which distinguishes it from mass-produced cars. If the XK SS were to be released today with such detailing while adhering to modern safety standards and luxury, it would easily command a six-figure price.

Today, the Jaguar XK SS is nothing short of a rare artefact, a historical relic that embodies the spirit of its time. A fully restored and original XK SS, in this day and age, has been known to change hands at auctions for millions of dollars, with Automotive News reporting that an XK SS sold for $13.7 million at a 2016 auction at Gooding & Co. in Amelia Island, Florida.

In conclusion, the original price of a brand-new Jaguar XK SS in 1957 tells a fascinating story. The vehicle was certainly a luxury commodity when it was first released, and its appeal has only grown over the years. The XK SS continues to symbolize style, speed, exclusivity, and the enduring legacy of Jaguar’s contribution to the world of sports cars. Even when demonstrating the high cost of $5,000 in the mid-1950s, it still amounts to unimaginable value in today’s collector car market given its incredible rarity and historical significance.

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