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Leno drives Steve McQueen’s XKSS

18 August, 2017

 

 

The cover car of the current issue of NZ Classic Car is a Kiwi owned, one-of-nine reproduction of the timeless Jaguar XKSS. It’s a stunning car built with passion by Jaguar Land Rover Classics in the UK.

The original 16 XKSS’s are a rare breed, too. Valued at north of $15m, their provenance and performance make them one of the most lusted after classics on the planet.

But there is one car out of all of them that is more desired than any other; the XKSS that belonged to Steve McQueen (twice). That car now resides at the Peterson Museum in Los Angeles with a reputed value of upwards of $40m (this is called “the McQueen effect”).

For his YouTube show, Jay Leno’s Garage, Leno managed to get the keys to McQueen’s XKSS and take it out for a spin on the streets of L.A. I’ll let him explain the feeling (word is, his insurance premium for the drive in McQueen’s Jag was $80,000!).

Otherwise, check out the latest issue of NZ Classic Car for as close as we’ll ever get to the real thing. It’s quite something, we assure you.

 

Fear and loathing the blue oval – part one

The slogan went something like ‘There’s a Ford in your future’. ‘Bugger off!’ were always the words that sprung to my mind. Ford and I have never really got on in the manner of many of my friends, so I’d say my relationship to the brand was distant. The accelerating blur of passing time has helpfully blanketed memories of a few Ford encounters which I probably wanted to forget but I have to admit, now I look at them, they are re-appearing through the mists of time. What comes to mind more readily, to quote some uncharitable wit, is that the letters Ford could stand for ‘fix or repair daily’. Still, I have to ’fess up, there were several Fords in my past.

Class struggle

For a British car, it is huge; for those sitting inside, the bonnet seems to extend past the horizon. The front seats are very comfortable rather than body hugging. The dashboard and centre console cluster are beautifully laid out, reminiscent of a fighter plane cockpit, with acres of red leather all around. Its V8 burble is on show. It is not a car to sneak about in, and it gets attention wherever it goes.
The large back window, possibly the best-known feature of the Interceptor and one that sets it apart, has very good functionality, allowing greater access to the boot. It would not be an easy job to replace it, so Interceptor owners are careful about reversing and not hitting anything.