1993 Jaguar XJ 220 Coupe

1993 Jaguar XJ 220 Coupe
Courtesy of Bonhams

The words “supercar” and “sensational” are often to be found in conjunction, and no more justifiably so than in the case of Jaguar’s fabulous XJ 220.

Worthy successor to the multiple Le Mans-winning C-type and D-type Jaguars of the 1950s, the XJ 220 grabbed the headlines just as its illustrious forebears had done in previous decades, when the prototype burst upon an astonished world in 1988.

A planned limited-production run of a minimum of 220 and a maximum of 350 cars, combined with an eventual VAT-inclusive price tag of nearly £403,000 ($700,000), only served to further ensure the XJ 220’s exclusivity. Interest was intense, and almost 1,500 orders were received. Jaguar then had the task of allocating cars to those privileged few customers that it considered worthy of ownership. Changed economic circumstances mean that many of those who had paid the £50,000 ($75,000) deposit were unable to take delivery. The production XJ 220 was officially launched at the 1991 Tokyo Motor Show, and when production ended in 1994, approximately 275 examples had been built.

Planning for Jaguar’s proposed 200-mph supercar had begun in the mid-1980s and finally bore fruit when the prototype was exhibited at the U.K. Motor Show in 1988.

The XJ 220 survived Ford’s takeover of Jaguar the following year, but when the car entered production in 1992 it was a very different beast. Gone was the prototype’s 6.2-liter V12 engine, replaced by a Cosworth-designed, 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 as used in the XJR-11 sports racer, while other casualties of the need to simplify the design for production included the prototype’s four-wheel drive and adaptive suspension.

Producing no less than 542 bhp, the stupendous twin-turbo V6 engine enabled the XJ 220 to meet its 200-mph-plus design target. F1 driver Martin Brundle recorded a speed of over 217 mph during track testing. The 0–100 mph time was a staggering 7.9 seconds. Quicker than both the Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Diablo, the XJ 220 was the world’s fastest production car until the arrival of the McLaren F1.

The XJ 220 was constructed around a bonded and riveted monocoque chassis formed from lightweight, corrosion-resistant, aluminum-alloy sheet re-enforced by aluminum honeycomb sections in highly stressed areas. Similarly race-derived was the double-wishbone suspension, adapted to provide acceptable comfort under road conditions, while other competition-influenced features were the AP Racing brakes, Speedline aluminum alloy wheels (17-inch diameter at the front, 18-inch at the rear) and FF Developments’ 5-speed, all-synchromesh transaxle with a viscous-control, limited-slip differential.

A left-hand-drive model finished in the subtle combination of Le Mans Blue with Smoke Grey leather interior, XJ 220 Chassis 871 was the 31st example produced. According to Jaguar-Daimler Heritage Trust records (on file), this car was delivered new on January 4, 1993, to its first owner in Rome, Italy.

Obviously very well preserved and maintained in original condition, it currently displays a total of only some 8,000 kilometers (4,970 miles) on the odometer.

A landmark model in Jaguar’s illustrious history, the XJ 220 is still the company’s fastest-ever production car some 25 years on. As such, it remains highly collectible, being sought after by Jaguar aficionados and supercar collectors alike. Boasting gorgeous looks and tremendous performance, this beautiful XJ 220 represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire one of the most significant supercars of its era.


Paul Hardiman

Paul Hardiman - SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Paul is descended from engineers and horse thieves, so he naturally gravitated toward the old-car marketplace and still finds fascination in the simpler things in life: looking for spot-weld dimples under an E-type tail, or counting the head-studs on a supposed Mini-Cooper engine. His motoring heroes are Roger Clark, Burt Levy, Henry Royce and Smokey Yunick — and all he wants for next Christmas is an Alvis Stalwart complete with picnic table in the back and a lake big enough to play in.

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