In the late 1980s supercar fever was reaching is height, with established classics appreciating rapidly as speculators drove up prices and various manufacturers scrambled to take advantage by custom building awesome performance cars that were billed as the classics of the future (with a price tag to match the hype).
Jaguar leapt aboard the gravy train in some style — coming up with the world’s fastest production car, which ruled supreme in the speed stakes until the McLaren F1 shot past. But that’s not to say that the XJ220 was an unqualified success story. It was initially conceived by Jaguar employees who came up with the idea of creating the ultimate road car and the mid-engined prototype certainly looked the part when it appeared in 1988.
The reaction was so positive that Jaguar announced that the XJ220 would go into production, as a strictly limited edition, with would-be buyers required to put down a substantial deposit to go on the waiting list. Dotted lines were signed upon and Jaguar set about turning their concept car into reality with the help of constructor Tom Walkinshaw Racing. The design by Keith Helfet was stunning, with flowing lines, a low cockpit and businesslike air scoops behind scissor-style doors. Sadly, by the time it was ready in 1992 the price had increased substantially, the supercar bubble had burst and many customers tried to wriggle out of their contracts. This controversy spoiled the debut of an excellent if expensive machine.
Despite the fact that Jaguar did not finally sell the last of 281 XJ22Os until 1997, after drastically cutting the price, the XJ220 has become a sought-after collectors’ car. But this stylish supercar did not prove to be a great investment, changing hands today at roughly a quarter of the original cost expensive miscalculation.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1992 (until 1994)
3,498 v6 Twin Turbo
Top speed of 220 mph (354 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
If you ever come across a parked XJ220, take a peek through the curved rear window and admire the V6 engine with its twin Garrett turbochargers that can be seen lurking within.