Jay Leno's Garage drives Steve McQueen's 1956 Jaguar XKSSTue, 27 May 2014 19:59:00 EST
Steve McQueen might be the coolest American male of the 20th century. With movies like Bullitt and Le Mans, McQueen established himself as the king of cool of his era, and on the list of actors you would pick for a fantasy racing team – he or Paul Newman are the natural first choices. The latest Jay Leno's Garage video highlights one of McQueen's most special cars – a 1956 Jaguar XKSS.
Just 16 XKSS models were made because a fire at the Jaguar factory halted production. It was meant to be a street version of the company's very successful D-Type racer, with a modified version of its 3.4-liter straight-six-engine and a four-speed manual gearbox. McQueen clearly had an eye for great vehicles. He drove his Jag around Los Angeles years after it was a cutting-edge piece of technology. Since then, it became part of the Petersen Automotive Museum in LA. Autoblog's The List even took a ride in it when the show visited the museum.
The XKSS is one of the pinnacles of automotive design of the '50s, and its association with McQueen makes this example even more extraordinary. Leno is in love with the car from the moment he sees it, and it's hard to argue with him. Between its emphasized curves and raspy exhaust, this is one sexy Jag. Scroll down to get an eyeful and earful from one of McQueen's favorite cars.
By Chris Bruce
See also: Hot Rod Garage series premieres with 700-hp big-block Jaguar XJ, Jaguar XE hits the 'Ring wearing swirly camo, Jaguar shows off production XE body in camo.