1957 Team CJ Jaguar XKSS (RG)
Restoration log by Dan Mooney

Inspired by the famous Steve McQueen XKSS (pictured) that is now on permanent display at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, our Team CJ XKSS will feature an ultra lightweight aluminum body and a 4.7L Stage Two E Type engine. The drive train, including independent front and rear suspension and upgraded steering and brakes, is also derived from a Jaguar E Type.

The car will be finished in British Racing Green with black hides.

January 2024

Steve McQueen's Jaguar XKSS and the Team CJ Steve McQueen tribute XKSS share some drive time.

January 2022

Jay Leno's Garage video review of our tribute to the Steve McQueen Jaguar XKSS.

Update report - October 27, 2021

A look at some of the details on the finished XKSS.

Update report - July 7, 2021

Update report - May 10, 2021

Update report - February 24, 2021

Update report - February 2, 2021

The following photographs show Carlos recreating the interior that was custom made for Steve McQueen by his hot rodding friend, Tony Nancy. Fortunately we have lots of photographs to work from, and Carlos is doing a fantastic job of copying Tony Nancy's work. The last photos in the sequence show Jake riveting the screen to the front cowl. The XKSS is starting to look more like a car every day!

Sewing the seat base panels together

Creating leather beading for the seats

Comparing the first seat base to photos of the
original Tony Nancy seats

Starting to create the seat back
Air vents installed in the center spine of
the seat back

Seat back panels starting to take shape

Jake riveting the screen to the front cowl

The exposed aluminum beneath the blue masking
tape will be painted British Racing Green

Update report - January 29, 2021

The following sequence of photos show Carlos creating the new hide seats and Chris installing the engine and transmission.

Update report - January 22, 2021

Update report - January 21, 2021





Update report - January 5, 2021

Painting the bonnet and engine subframes.

Update report - December 30, 2020
Painting in progress!


Update report - October 14, 2020

Jake has now completed the fabrication of the
headlamp trim

Trial fitting and adjusting the front screen frame
and side windows

Plotting the center line of the car so we can position
the conv top frame and luggage rack perfectly

We fabricated a steering hub for the XKSS

Trial fitting the hub to the custom upper column
E Type wheel used for test fit purposes as the new
D Type wheel is not yet completed

Update report - October 1, 2020

The following sequence of photographs show Jake fabricating head lamp trim rings from straight sections of 'half oval' aluminum stock.

The headlamp trim is made entirely by hand

Half oval aluminum stock
Trim is constantly trial fitted

Annealing the aluminum to make it more pliable
Aluminum is heated almost to melting point during
the annealing process

Update report - September 2, 2020
The dry fitting process, continued..

New data plate
Trial fitting front brakes

So far everything is lining up perfectly

Jake and Chris trial fitting the screen surround

Looking more like a car every day!

Update report - August 27, 2020

Lots of progress with the trial fit of the engine and drivetrain. Chris spent several days this week calculating optimum positioning and angles for the engine, transmission and rear end (pinion). He fabricated custom mounting brackets which position the engine with a distinct tilt to the left, which is how they were installed in the original cars. He also lowered the engine and transmission 5/8", thereby lowering the car's center of gravity. Finally, he formulated the desired driveshaft and pinion angles and fabricated custom brackets for the transmission and IRS.

We now have ample clearance between the engine and the underside of bonnet, and most of the suspension and drivetrain has been successfully trial fitted. The rear wheels in the last three photographs are not the wheels that will be installed on the finished car. We are using peg drive wheels and hubs on the finished car, per original, but as they have not yet been delivered, we are using spline drive wheels of the same size and offset to check our wheel and tire clearances inside the wheel arches.

The trial fitting process is time consuming and challenging, but makes final assembly of the car after painting so much easier!

Chris welding custom IRS mounting brackets to
the steel subframe
IRS now mounted on 4 metalastic cage mounts

Making sure we have adequate clearance for the
engine and Weber carbs

This shot demonstrates how the engine is tilted over
to the left

Note the angle of the oil pan

Time to design and spec the driveshaft

Crucial to get the angles right between the engine
and the pinion
Trial fitting wheels

Plenty of clearance!

Update report - August 19, 2020

Trial fitting the suspension and and major drive train components.

Update report - June 19, 2020

Update report - June 19, 2020

IRS, brakes and differential in kit form

We really want the steering wheel in our Team CJ XKSS to be as close a facsimile of an original D Type wheel as possible. I have bought and used several replica D Type wheels in the past, but they were not close enough to the original D Type wheel for this particular project. That being the case, I contacted Mike Lempert, who makes and restores steering wheels and is a true master of his craft. Mike made a stunning steering wheel for one of my Lamborghini restoration projects, so I knew he was the right person to involve in my XKSS project.

I learned from Mike that D Type wheels were made in period by a company called Coventry Timber Bending (I love that name). Apparently the wheels were very much hand made and therefore each wheel differed slightly from the next. The way the wheels were secured to the hub varied, too. Some were blind riveted, some used a combination of blind rivets and button head screws. Mike shared a couple of photos of an original D Type wheel he had once owned (see 3rd and 4th images below). CTB always used Beech for the D Type steering wheels, which is a very light colored wood that matures and ages into a beautiful coffee color. Mike describes the new Beech as more of a manila folder hue, but we have decided to replicate the aged look for our XKSS project.

The wheel in the McQueen car has obviously been restored and varnished at some point, probably when the car was recommissioned at Lynx in England in the mid 1980's. Accordingly, I believe it is a little more 'yellow' than it would have been when McQueen was driving the car. In the first two photos you can see the McQueen steering wheel, including a close up of the rivets and screws holding the wheel to the hub. Interesting to note that the screw at 12 o'clock has obviously been replaced, and is also the only one of the three that has a large washer behind it. Perhaps this was a repair done by the King of Cool himself, although this is one aspect of the wheel that we will not be replicating.

Huge thanks again to the great staff at the Petersen Museum, and especially my friend Bruce Baciu in the Petersen workshop, for taking the time to assist me in getting this very special steering wheel just right!

My favorite steering wheel in the world!
Note screw at 12 o'clock has been changed and a
washer added

Note the beautiful coffee hue of an aged, unrestored
D Type wheel
Look carefully and you can see evidence of 3 lock
washers at 12, 4 and 8 o'clock

Bruce Baciu (ace mechanic in the Petersen workshop)
measuring the radius at the end of the spokes
Rim thickness varies significantly around the wheel,
which is typical of handmade CTB wheels

Update report - May 5, 2020

Your engine is now fully assembled!

Corey torquing the cylinder head

Some very healthy gains on the flow bench for our 4.7L XKSS engine.

Team CJ 4.7L Stage Two engine rebuild in progress.

At the heart of the Team CJ 4.7L Stage Two engine
is a billet steel crankshaft
Precision align honing is a vital part of one of
our Stage Two builds

A view down the main cap housings after align
honing has been completed
Torque plate cylinder hone in progress

Forged steel connecting rods shave 600g from
the rotating assembly
Team CJ forged stroker pistons

Hanging rods on pistons
Installing rods and pistons

Forged pistons now installed in block
View along intake runner to valve seat

Head now fully machined and

Preparing to trial fit the rebuilt front and rear suspension in the CJ Workshop.

Storage for McQueen's Marlboros and Persol shades

To be continued!
Genuine XKSS speedo is a fantastic accessory
for this car

We are excited to have sourced a genuine, original, unrestored D Type/XKSS speedometer for our XKSS project.

It is now time to start building the drive train for this exciting project.

This particular Team CJ XKSS will be LHD

Construction closely follows the original, with most
panels riveted or TIG welded

IRS rebuild already underway

Actual spinner from the legendary McQueen XKSS

Iconic badging
The famous Steve McQueen XKSS

Go to main CJ workshop