Classic Cars: 1993 Jaguar XJ220 Review
15 August 2010
Although the car was officially released to the public in 1993, the concept started over a decade earlier. Members of an unofficial Jaguar team called “The Saturday Club” used to meet on the weekends during the 1980s and discuss various design concepts of automobiles. Jim Randle, chief engineer of Jaguar, had the vision of what would become the XJ model.
After the initial design was unleashed, the company was impressed and decided to build the car for the 1988 British Motor Show. That version was very similar to what would eventually become public, but it would take another few years before Jaguar finally got around to producing the XJ220.
The concept show car was sleek and powerful – too powerful for the streets, in fact. The massive V12 engine used was far too much for a production model. Instead, Jaguar decided to go with a twin-turbo V6 from a racing style rally car. The twin Garrett T3 turbochargers helped the engine put out 550 horsepower, surpassing the original V12 model.
The 1993 version of the Jaguar XJ220 was different than anything that had been on the roads before. It was a mix of a racecar, with styling elements similar to those of the Lamborghini line. The 2-door coupe model was long, sleek and aerodynamically designed to handle well at high speeds with minimal drag.
Along with the switch from a V12 to a twin-turbo V6, the production version of the XJ220 also had many other changes from the original showcase model. The drive-train was quite different from the concept, and the scissor doors were eliminated. Instead of all-wheel drive, the production model was a rear wheel-drive model.
The first production cars were ordered in 1991 and went into production in 1992. Among the first customers to receive a Jaguar XJ220 were the Sultan of Brunei and Elton John. However, the 1993 finished product was vastly different than what people had ordered, and they were quite disappointed.
For one thing, the price had shot up from around 500,000 to over $650,000 USD. Customers also expected the powerful V12 engine and the original concept features. Jaguar also had a competing model at the time, the XJR-15, which accelerated faster and cost less. This prompted many customers to switch their order and led to court battles.
The 1993 Jaguar XJ220 never exploded as one of the most popular cars of the Jaguar line, due to the price and other features of the automobile. However, it was well received a few years later and has since become a classic sports car.
Tags: jaguar xj200, the saturday club, xjr-15, jim randle, british motor show, garrett t3,
Posted In: Luxury Brands, Fast Cars,
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