This XKSS was counted as part of the stock of unsold D-types on November 21, 1956. On June 12 1957, it was sold to Stanley McRobert of Montreal, who raced and hillclimbed in Canada with some success including at Harewood Acres. Two races entered resulting in a first and second finish. In October, at the Mount Gabriel hillclimb, the Jaguar finished first and set the fastest time and held the course record for several years. This car went through several owners who raced at Harewood Acres and at the Mosport Canadian Grand Prix. It continued to race through 1961. It then moved to an owner in Ohio, and later in New York, but around 1980 was sold to John Harper in England. He had it converted by Lynx Engineering to D-Type specification and the car continued to be raced by Harper and later by Jaguar guru John Pearson in the United Kingdom. In 1993 the car returned to the United States. it is now privately owned and is used for vintage racing and tours. In 2000 it was used for vintage racing and tours and was converted back to an XKSS Jaguar specification.
The speed of the 300 SL was a surprise to no one – it had been based directly on the 300 SL (W 194) racing car of 1952. The W 194 was the first Mercedes-Benz racing car designed since WWII, and it landed on the world stage with a slew of victories in its first year, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Bern-Bremgarten, the Eifelrennen at Nürburgring, and the iconic Carrera Panamericana.
The idea of taking the now globally famous Mercedes-Benz W 194 and building a road car was first suggested by Max Hoffman. He was quite possibly the most influential man in the automotive world in the mid-20th century who didn’t actually work for a manufacturer. He was a car importer based in New York, but he had been born and raised in Vienna – so he had a clear understanding of the thought processes on both sides of the North Atlantic.
Weighing just 50 kilograms, the innovative spaceframe was a lightweight structure that offered maximum rigidity. The only downside, on account of the extra height at the sills, was its incompatibility with conventional doors. Mercedes-Benz engineers solved this problem with the introduction of upswinging “Gullwing” doors.
Aston Martin calls the Vanquish a “super grand touring” machine, not a super sports car; we say it’s so beautiful, we don’t care what Aston calls it. Yes, its sonorous, 568-hp V-12 makes it fast, but many sports cars easily out-accelerate it. It’s also sumptuous inside, if ergonomically challenged. Like to drive topless? Opt for the Vanquish Volante, for a truly rare ride. As with all Astons, its little flaws are all but forgivable, since it is one of the most lovely things on four wheels.