Jaguar marks 20 years of the XJ220 supercar on Jaguar Experience Day

Article by Anita Panait, on February 3, 2012

Jaguar’s legendary XJ220 supercar is now 20 years old and was put on display at the company’s recent Jaguar Experience Day at the Heritage Motor Centre in the UK. Conceived and unveiled at the 1988 British motor show, the first XJ220 rolled out in 1992 with a price tag of $846,000. The car’s designer, Keith Helfet signed off on production in 1989, forcing partner Tom Walkinshaw Racing to take over the concept and craft it into a production car.

TWR fashioned the V12 powered, four-wheel drive concept into a twin-turbo V6-powered, two-wheel drive production car. TWR also revised the body design and installed conventional doors. The car was then named XJ220, the top speed target at the time.

In 1991, the XJ220 managed to reach 213 mph, having a curb weight of just 3,240 pounds. The car was then the fastest production car in the world for around a year, until the McLaren F1 overtook it. Jaguar Sport took TWR’s suggestion into heart and produced the XJ220 with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6. The rear-wheel XJ220 was then installed with a five-speed gearbox and AP Racing twin-plate clutch. The car’s 18-inch wheels were enclosed with Bridgestone Expedia tires.

The result was a XJ220 that produced 542 hp and 475 lb-ft torque. The car could accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds, making it the fastest car on the road at the time. The car’s high-speed motion could quickly return to zero thanks to a four-piston braking calipers provided by AP. XJ220 last saw production in 1994, with 275 examples built.

During the Jaguar Experience Day, several XJ220 memorabilia were on display. They include the silver car, with chassis No. 004.  It is one of 10 preproduction vehicles and was used for high-speed testing in Texas, hitting 213 mph with Andy Wallace as the driver. 

Also displayed was a yellow XJ220 S, the first example built and includes some spare parts from Jaguar's Le Mans cars. The XJ220 S was built using carbon fiber. It has revised springs and is claimed to be able to deliver 690 hp. The interior is fitted with lightweight carbon-fiber trim and Kevlar seats. The XJ220 S is considered rarer than the “base” XJ220.

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