Jay Leno Is a Big Fan of a Replica of Steve McQueen’s Jaguar XKSS

by Victoria Santiago
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(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

In a new episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, the comedy icon shows off a replica of Steve McQueen’s iconic Jaguar XKSS. It’s clear that this is a car Leno enjoys because the replica comes to him almost a decade after he was able to drive McQueen’s real Jaguar.

“It was the most modern vintage car I had ever driven up to that point,” Leno said. “I mean, it felt like you could sell this today and it would be just as exciting.”

The Jaguar XKSS is just a remnant of Jaguar’s racing days. They wanted to turn their race cars into road cars, and the XKSS was born. Back in the day, only nine of them survived a factory fire. As a result, they’re rare and valuable. Not to mention, Steve McQueen’s car is probably one of the most valuable in the world. Leno estimates it to be worth around $30 million, if not more.

Dan Mooney built the replica car we see on Jay Leno’s Garage. Before inviting his guest on, Leno mentions that he rarely hosts replicas on his show. However, this tribute was too exceptional to pass up.

This Jaguar XKSS Replica Is “As Close To Original As You Can Get”

Mooney’s replica is nearly identical to McQueen’s iconic car. The body of the car is all aluminum, just like the original XKSS. There’s no fiberglass at all in the car. Additionally, it’s comprised of only Jaguar parts – there are no parts from other automakers. As it is built for US driving, the steering wheel is on the left. Apart from that, the car is visually correct as well. Overall, from start to finish, the car took two years to build. Of course, you could say that it was really decades in the making – Mooney, like many others, was an instant fan of the car when he saw it in the 60s.

Since he saw McQueen’s Jaguar XKSS, Mooney knew that someday he would build a restoration of it. In fact, he even bought an original piston that wasn’t used in the car’s restoration when it sold in the 80s. The original car is impressively powerful for its time. The replica has some modern pieces, of course, so it’s even more powerful. It has 350 horsepower (compared to the original 250 horsepower) and is equipped with a modern 5-speed transmission. “It could more than keep up with modern traffic and modern cars,” Jay Leno says of the original. We’re sure the replica can, too.

We know that Jay Leno is a huge car guy. So, it’s always good to see him spout off knowledge about the cars he features on his YouTube show. This labor of love on Mooney’s part has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. “It’s impractical, it’s hot, it’s noisy,” laughed Mooney. It sure is nice to look at, though.

Outsider.com