Among car collectors, the Jaguar XJ220 is a coveted prize. Only 281 were ever produced between 1992 and 1994, but the limited production run isn’t the car’s only selling point. Its backstory and performance are what collectors really crave.
The XJ220 was never meant for commercial production. The brainchild of Jaguar’s chief engineer, Jim Randle and his think tank, “The Saturday Club”, the XJ220 was planned to be a concept car that would recapture Jaguar’s historic racing legacy. After years of development, Jaguar unveiled the car to the world at the 1988 Birmingham Motor Show. The XJ220 featured a V-12, fuel injected 48 valve 530BHP engine that delivered power to all four wheels.
These features turned out to be surprisingly popular.
Jaguar was immediately bombarded with overwhelming demand for a mass-produced XJ220. Knowing a good thing when they saw it, Jaguar quickly commissioned a production feasibility study, and within a year it was announced that 350 XJ220s would be produced, at a cost of £361,000 (US $580,000).
The XJ220 that finally saw production went through some alterations from Randle’s original design to deal with the unfortunate reality that freeways are not race tracks. Its engine were toned down, replacing the V-12 with a V6, which allowed the car’s chassis to be shortened. Even with this modification, the body of the XJ220 had to be specially designed to help cool the engine while also providing enough down force so the car wouldn’t take off at its top speed of 217mph.
One such XJ220, produced in 1994, will be on the auction block March 9 at Historics in Brooklands. Auctioneers estimated that the car will fetch £115,000 - £130,000 (US $177,928 – US $201,136) but that’s a conservative estimate – in 2008, a Jaguar D-Type from 1955 was sold for £2,201,500 (US $4.4 million) at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester. Who knows what this machine could fetch?
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