1993 Jaguar XJ220
The Jaguar XJ220 began life in secrecy as an off-the-books, after-hours Skunkworks program, by “The Saturday Club.” This elite group would meet after-hours on nights and weekends, away from their normal 9-5 roles and responsibilities, to pen their own designs and direction for the XJ220 project. Free from government ownership, Jaguar’s engineering chief wanted to overhaul the company’s image through a Group B-style car for Jaguar to take on the likes of the Porsche 959 and Ferrari F40. Echoing the landmark Jaguar XK120, the XJ220’s numerals were to be of similar significance representing the cars achievable top speed, the Jaguar XJ220 concept car would enthusiastically declare both its deep Jaguar heritage and aggressive ambitions, right out of the gate.
The Jaguar XJ220 was unveiled a mere four months after Jaguar’s overall win at the prestigious 1988 24 Hours of Le Mans, and on the back of this success the XJ220 was met with ecstatic public reception at the 1988 British International Motor Show. Jaguar’s full intention was to leverage the XJ220 not only to raise the bar amongst competing sports car marques such as Posrche and Ferrari with their Group B monsters, but also to also re-establish Jaguar amongst them as an equal, if not greater, competitor. By December of 1988 Jaguar already received a staggering 1,400 deposits on hand from very fervent and excited buyers, and it was this huge influx of buyer demand that compelled Jaguar to turn their skunkworks concept car into a production reality.
Since 1982, Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) had been Jaguar’s partner in building and campaigning their racing cars, with the most recent XJR-9 and XJR-12 prototypes winning Le Mans outright in 1988 and 1990 respectively, and had seen considerable racing success in numerous categories over the years. Given this extensive partnership, development of the road-going XJ220’s would take place at the purpose-built JaguarSport factory in Oxfordshire, with Jaguar entrusting the highly successful TWR team to manage the intricate process of construction and development of turning The Saturday Club’s skunkworks XJ220 project into reality.
The gorgeous and flowing design approach and philosophy as penned by Geoff Lawson, Jaguar’s Director of Design at the time, would remain nearly unaltered on the production roadcar with the exception of a 200mm reduction in the wheelbase, along with the inclusion of larger air intakes behind the doors to feed large air-to-air intercoolers. Found nestled in the center of the XJ220 would be a 3.5L V6 that was fed by twin Garrett TO3 turbochargers to produce a monumental 542HP and 475lb/ft of torque. A five-speed gearbox designed by the race-hardened masters at Ricardo would deliver the power to the rear wheels. This package would catapult the XJ220 to 60MPH in 3.6 seconds and a Guiness World Record holding top speed of 217MPH; needless to say, the car’s performance underpinned its’ looks.
1991 would see the first Jaguar XJ220s released into the wild for the motoring press to review, Autocar magazine was the first outfit with the opportunity to road-test and favorably reviewed the Jaguar noting, “Savage acceleration really is a given here. What's really incredible about the XJ220 is its ability to provide such performance in a way that never, ever intimidates." They would also go on to praise the throttle response and the precision with which a driver could control the performance of the car. Autocar magazine summarized their review with, “Right now, the XJ220 gives us a standard by which all other fast cars can be compared. For the few who will actually own and, hopefully, use their XJ220s, the fact that they are in command of the most accomplished supercar ever made should suffice." Of the 350 cars planned to be built, only 281 cars would leave Oxfordshire’s JaguarSport facility by the time production had ceased in 1994.
This stunning Spa Silver XJ220 was originally delivered new to France and would have two long term owners to this day, having only covered a mere 997km. The car is complete with records, tools, and full documentation present. Having been loved its entire life, Chassis 049 has just completed a no-expense-spared major service, and is in top mechanical condition inclusive of new Bridgestone specially-developed tires. Perfectly prepared for a new home, Chassis 049 is turn-key and ready to devour open road or present proudly in any investment-grade collection.