My Car Quest

September 26, 2021

This Jaguar Was Once Owned By Steve McQueen – Twice

by Mike – 

Why would Steve McQueen sell this 1956 Jaguar XKSS if he loved it so much?

Jaguar XKSS

Original 1957 Jaguar XKSS – photo by Mike Gulett

It is believed that he received so many speeding tickets that he decided to sell this beauty. After all it is a race car that is street legal and I suspect that McQueen raced it around Southern California.

Obviously he had sellers remorse and bought it again and kept it until his death in 1980. This is the street version of the D-Type Jaguar and to my eye this car is more beautiful than the XKE. Jaguar made only 16 examples of the XKSS.

Jaguar XKSS

The engine is an inline 6-cylinder that produces between 250-275 hp. This light car is quick. McQueen had the car painted this beautiful green, hired the famous Tony Nancy to redo the upholstery and the equally famous Von Dutch to build a glove box door – all of which remain on the car today.

Jaguar XKSS

These pictures were taken at The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. More details about this car can be found in Matt Stone’s book McQueen’s Machines, available on Amazon.

Jaguar XKSS

Jaguar XKSS

Jaguar XKSS


  1. This car is even more beautiful than the photos indicate. Definitely worth a visit to the Petersen to see it.

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