In the fifties, an era defined by abstract impressionism, consumerism and a booming American economy, Jaguar was a brand that appealed to an upwardly mobile populous. Jaguar intended to build 25 XJSS vehicles, essentially a street-worthy version of the highly successful D-type racing vehicle. In February 1957, a fire in Jaguar’s Browns Lane assembly plant destroyed nine half-built cars, leaving sixteen to be sold.
Steve McQueen (the king of cool) bought one of these finished products in British racing green. He loved the car so much he bought it back seven years after he sold it. McQueen’s car is now displayed at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA. In 2016, Jaguar announced that it would rebuild, from scratch, the remaining nine XJSS vehicles destroyed by fire.