The Jaguar XJ220
One of the first “Hypercars” released in the early 1990’s the Jaguar XJ220 was originally shown at the British Motor Show in 1988 wowing audiences with it’s streamlined, futuristic looks designed by South Africa Keith Helfet. The prototype car showed an impressive spec list: all-wheel drive, V12 engine and an estimated top speed of 220 mph, which is where the 220 in the name comes from.
When the car was officially announced in 1989 interested parties where asked to pay a deposit of £50,000 to reserve the car that would eventually cost over £350,000. Many executives made the decision to put up the deposit because the car was only going to be in limited supply, estimated initially to be only 220 cars.
Tom Walkinshaw Racing were tasked with turning the prototype into a fully working road car with several design changes from the original specification, the all-wheel drive was to be replaced with rear wheel drive and the engine was to be replaced with a smaller unit to help save weight on the car.
The car’s twin-turbocharged V6 engine, taken from the Metro 6R4 group B rally car, pumped out 542 Bhp, easily exceeding the output predicted for the V12 engine that was originally planned for the car. Unfortunately the amount of turbo lag generated by the V6 engine and the harsh engine note became a large sticking point for original owners of the car. In an attempt to correct this an extremely limited run of V12 engined cars were produced by TWR called the XJR-15.
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As the release date for the XJ220 drew near a global recession hit and large numbers of people who had put down their £50,000 deposits tried to pull out of the deal, saying that the Jaguar was significantly different to the original specification ordered. After several attempts to sue the manufacturer, Jaguar allowed some people to buy themselves out of their original delivery deposits angering some owners who had paid the revised price of over £400,000 for the car.
Unfortunately with all the financial problems at the time Jaguar were never able to complete the projected run of 220 cars, falling just short with 208. Nowadays it is considered to be a collectors item and cars still regularly get sold for values in excess of £100,000.
Tags: British cars, Jaguar, UK, V6