If there were ever a contest between supercars that had the most tortured history, the Jaguar XJ220 would probably stand right at the middle of the podium. When Jaguar announced that they were to make the XJ220, it was advertised to be endowed by the company’s 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated V12 engine that would power all four wheels. It all seemed so promising that the British company secured more than 1,500 bookings for the XJ220. The Jaguar XJ220 was to be the car that would lift Jaguar’s image as a distressed automaker and put them in the middle of automotive royalty . Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.
With the global recession and Jaguar selling to Ford, the car’s development met numerous snags in it’s two years of development. While Jim Randle, the engineer behind the XJ220’s conceptualisation wanted to take as much technological inspiration from the four-wheel drive Porsche 959, the Jaguar’s 6.2-litre V12 that was designed by Tom Walkinshaw Racing was far too heavy and had problems meeting emission norms. For production reasons, Randle’s team was forced to use a twin-turbocharged V6 from the Rover Metro R64 rally car that would power only the rear wheels instead of promised four.
While the world looked down upon the Jaguar XJ220 for not being exotic enough for it’s price, Randle’s team had actually made a more powerful car. Instead of the heavy 500bhp 6.2-litre V12, the XJ220 now had a 550bhp, lightweight twin-turbo engine. While the V12 was estimated to touch 200mph (321kmph), the V6 Jag clocked out at a much faster 217mph (350kmph).
The Jaguar XJ220 back in 1994 set the world record for the fastest ever production car which it held on till the McLaren F1 broke it in 1998. It also held the Nürburgring production car record for an astounding eight years, between 1992 and 2000. The XJ220 is a fast car not just from the past but even by modern-day supercar standards.
Out of the 208 XJ220’s that Jaguar ever built, this perfectly maintained 1993 model will be up for sale at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction scheduled on August 20, 2016.