Classic automobiles are a pretty big deal right now, and despite the prevailing wisdom that a car is a terrible investment, the right classic car can actually be a great one. The market is doing so well, in fact, that automakers are eager to get a piece themselves. Jaguar Land Rover is one brand that's dived deep into the world of factory-spec neo classics, with its Classic division heading up projects like the continuation Lightweight E-Type and Land Rover Series I Reborn. Its latest release is the Range Rover Reborn, a limited-edition series of classic Range Rovers meticulously restored by the company that built them.

Range Rover Reborn

We got to experience some of the sheer energy of the classic car market at least year's Techno-Classica Essen. There, Land Rover Classic presented the first member of its Reborn series, the Land Rover Series 1 Reborn. The "Reborn" program extends customers the opportunity of purchasing vintage Land Rover vehicles put through full factory-spec restorations with authentic Land Rover Classic parts.

The second model in the Reborn series will make its official debut at next week's Salon Rétromobile in Paris, bringing the Range Rover into the Reborn fold. The first of the Range Rover Reborns, this "Bahama Gold" 1978 Range Rover three-door has a 132-hp 3.5-liter petrol V8 with four-speed manual and central differential lock.

"Every Range Rover Reborn will undergo a complete restoration according to the company's original 1970s factory specification and using Land Rover Classic Parts to preserve and protect the vehicle's authenticity," Land Rover explains. "Land Rover's experienced restoration team will advise customers of the best options for base vehicles – in terms of collectability, preferred chassis numbers and unique characteristics."

Land Rover Classic plans an initial run of 10 Range Rover Reborn models, with prices starting at £135,000 (approx. US$169,000).

Jaguar "New Original" XKSS

Jaguar Land Rover Classic will also highlight its softer, curvier side at Rétromobile, with the European debut of the "New Original" Jaguar XKSS. First announced last March, the XKSS continuation series comprises nine 1957 XKSS models that never made it to buyers because they were lost in a fire.

More impressive than any restoration, the XKSS models involve hand-building each car to the original specifications, with only the most minor of changes aimed at improving safety standards. The tooling for the XKSS was lost in the same fire that took the nine original 1957 XKSS cars, so Jaguar Classic faced an enormous task in building an authentic model up from scratch, nearly 60 years later.

Jaguar Classic started by scanning several original XKSS models to create digital imagery of the body, chassis and parts, which were used in conjunction with original drawings. Since the XKSS styling bucks were long gone, Jaguar Classic reverse-engineered a new styling buck from the original bodies. Similarly, they put the CAD software together from the original chassis.

The first new-original XKSS has a period-correct bronze-welded tubular chassis and magnesium alloy body in "Sherwood Green." It is powered by a 262-hp 3.4-liter D-type straight-six with new cast iron blocks, new cast cylinder heads and three Weber DC03 carburetors. The driver takes control inside an authentic cabin with wooden steering wheel, leather seats, recreated Smiths gauges and brass knobs.

"The XKSS is one of the most important cars in Jaguar's history, and we are committed to making the 'new original' version absolutely faithful to the period car in every way," Kev Riches, Jaguar Classic engineering manager, described when the car made its world debut last November at the Petersen Automotive Museum in LA. "From the number, type and position of all the rivets used – there are more than 2,000 in total – to the Smiths gauges on the dashboard, everything is the same as the original cars, because that is the way it should be."

That first XKSS car will serve as a blueprint for the nine cars that have already been sold to customers for more than £1 million (US$1.25 million) a piece. Each customer car will involve an estimated 10,000 hours of labor.

Long story short, Jaguar Land Rover's booth will be a "must stop" at this year's Salon Rétromobile, which runs February 8 to 12.

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