Saturday 24th August 2019,
Inopian

Jaguar XJ220 1992 – 1994

Here is a strange story about a strange car with strange origins. The Jaguar XJ220 was born an instant classic sports-car although sadly, not destined for mass-production.

Jim Randle, chief engineer at Jaguar, with his illustrious design team, formed `The Saturday Club` at Jaguar in the 1980s. After the week`s work was done they would convene at the factory with the precise intention of designing the ultimate mid-engined supercar. Legend has it that the directors were kept in the dark until the project was quite advanced. Jaguar finally became involved and in 1988 the prototype was shown at the Motor Show in Birmingham UK. Jaguar saw it only as a `concept` car but the frenzy of interest caused them to produce it for road use.

Production:

Jaguar handed over the project to Jaguar-Sport, a partnership with Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR), based at Bloxham, Oxfordshire. TWR made several important revisions to the original design and specification.

Engine and transmission:

The prototype had four-wheel drive with a V12 engine. TWR replaced the V12 with a 3.5 litre TWR V6 driving the rear wheels only. Fitted with twin Garrett turbo-chargers, the power output was comparable to the V12.

The weight-saving advantage of a smaller, lighter engine was vastly increased by using honeycomb aluminium sections to construct the chassis. The bodywork used aluminium body-panels throughout. A 5-speed manual gearbox was used and by the time this extraordinary car was completed it weighed only 1372 kg. Notwithstanding it`s very low kerb-weight it was the biggest supercar of it`s time and was a most striking example of Jaguar styling. The Jaguar XJ220 was also the fastest production car of the day with a top speed of almost 220 mph. It`s incredible stability was due to the under-body aerodynamic engineering which generated 600 pounds of down-force at 200 mph. Another production first for Jaguar.

Specs and Performance:

TWR`s V6 engine produced 542 bhp with 473 ft/lbs of torque, using dual overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder. The Jaguar XJ220 could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. 0 to 100 mph took only 8 seconds. The brakes were excellent, 13 inch ventilated discs on the front with 11.8 inch at the rear.

The finish was no surprise, leather upholstery as usual, making it a true luxury car. There was extensive use of high-quality plastic in the interior that did not detract from the super high quality of the build. The production-run, unfortunately lasted for only for two years. Legend has it that the type number `220` reflected it`s top-speed and the price in sterling, £ 220,000 …not cheap! However, the Jaguar XJ220 would become a victim of the times.

Economic stress affected the market and with a price-tag of £220,000 it was a luxury that few could afford. Another big problem was the lack of type-approval in the US, preventing export. The Jaguar XJ220 was a true British supercar, the stuff of dreams. Curiously they are not too difficult to buy although only 281 examples were produced. According to Hagerty the average price of the Jaguar XJ220 has risen from £100,000 to about £150,000 in the past 6 months. Considering the rarity of the XJ220 and it’s potential future value, it is a great classic car to invest in.

 

You can watch the full documentary of the Jaguar XJ220 in a historic video here.

Jaguar XJ 220 1992-1994 Specs
 
 
Body Type2 seater coupe
Engine PlacementMid
Drive TypeRear wheel drive/4x4 (prototype)
Brakes
FrontVentilated Discs
RearVentilated Discs
Dimensionsmminches
Length4860191.3
Width201079.1
Height114945.2
Wheelbase2642104
Cargo VolumeEnough for 2 tooth brushes
Engine3.5i Twin-Turbo TWR DOHC 24V
CylindersV6
Displacement3498 cc213.5 cui
Power404 Kw542 bhp7000 RPM
Torque641 Nm473 ft. lb4500 RPM
Power/weight395 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed354 km/h220 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph3.5 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban17.915.8
Extra-urban10.227.7
Combined14.120.1
Gearbox5 speed manual
Weight1372 kg3025 lb
Engine6.2i TWR DOHC 48V (1988 prototype)
CylindersV12
Displacement6222 cc379.7 cui
Power373 Kw500 bhp7000 RPM
Torque542 Nm400 ft. lb5000 RPM
Power/weight321 bhp/t
FuelPetrol
Top Speed322 km/h200 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph4 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Urban2212.8
Extra-urban14.219.9
Combined18.115.6
Gearbox5 speed manual
Weight1560 kg3439 lb
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Jaguar XJ220 1992 - 1994, 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
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About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

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