My latest piece for Ralph Lauren Magazine is on the Jaguar XKSS, a rare ’50s sports car whose distinguished owners include Steve McQueen as well as Ralph Lauren himself. Ralph’s personal car will be featured in an upcoming fall Purple Label ad campaign.
Here’s an excerpt:
The XKSS’ combination of gorgeous curves and raw power caught the eye of Steve McQueen, who acquired chassis number XKSS 713—the fifth car built—in late 1958. Five years later McQueen and his car, which he regrettably dubbed the Green Rat, were featured prominently in Life magazine. The photos continue to circulate today on style and automotive websites, inspiring fascination and envy as deep as the British Racing Green paint job.
McQueen eventually sold the car—to casino owner William F. Harrah to add to his 1,450-plus car collection in Reno, Nevada—with the stipulation that it could not be resold. McQueen later regretted the sale, and in 1977 paid double what he had paid nearly 20 years earlier to buy it back. He drove the car for three years until his death in 1980. (In 1984 it was sold to McQueen’s friend Richard Freshamn for $148,000, who later sold it to Margie and Robert Petersen of Hot Rod magazine and Petersen Automotive Museum fame.) Four years later it was auctioned off to a private collector and was finally purchased by the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles in 2000. Today, the Green Rat is reportedly insured for $40 million.
Head over to RL Mag for the full story. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD