Wide, long, rounded, sexy - four simple words that best describe a supercar, among the last "oldschool" models, made exactly 23 years ago.
It was conceived as a demonstration of skill and opportunity, a design exhibition, a vision that swirled through the heads of people gathered in a small team called "The Saturday Club" who, working on their own, gave their imagination to their will. When developing the concept, it was kept in mind that if ever produced, it could compete in the powerful Group B, be a direct competitor Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959 models, bring back the glory years Jaguar had in the 1950s and 1960s. Concept code named XJ220, named after it was supposed to reach a magical limit of 220 mph (~ 358km / h). It was fitted with a racing version of the 12 liter V6.2 engine developed by Jaguar for the XJR-9, four-wheel drive and scissor doors (the so-called "LamboStyle" door). It was completed in 1988, a week before the start of the car show in Britain, when it was presented to the board of Jaguars, which was then owned by Ford. The presentation of the car at the upcoming event was then approved. Jaguar XJ220 caused delirium among visitors with its appearance! After that, it was decided that the XJ220 simply had to go into series production. TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) has formed a joint venture with Jaguar Sport, which has been tasked with assessing the feasibility of such a project.
The TWR, after an assessment, made its calculations. The V12 engine was discarded from the prototype and replaced with a 6 liter V3.5 with two turbochargers already used at the time by Jaguar for the XJR10 / 11. In Group C, four-wheel drive was also discarded to save on mass while the design itself was slightly modified using the classic door opener. The model was officially announced in 1989 with revised specifications over the concept introduced a year earlier, with an announced price of $ 580,000. To secure orders, potential buyers were asked to make a $ 80,000 deposit to be added to the waiting list, as Jaguar planned to produce a limited series of 350 pieces. 1,500 orders were received in a single day and it was decided that only the first 350 would be accepted, as planned earlier. The serial version was introduced in October 1991, which began at the Jaguar Sport factory in Bloxhem, specifically designed for this model. The first specimens were shipped to customers the following, in 1992, when the recession began to hit the financial market.
Some 75 customers tried to withdraw their deposits on order. Some simply were no longer financially able to afford the car, others were just resellers who thought they would not be able to find buyers for their vehicles, and others were bothered by the $ 220 adjusted Jaguar XJ700,000 price. The lawsuits were coming from all sides because Jaguar did not allow withdrawal of the deposit but all were dropped in court. And, while Jaguar has struggled to keep customers in check, Jaguar Sport and TWR have released an even more exclusive XJR-15 with the originally announced V12 engine, which, by the small number, distracted customers from the Jaguar XJ220. of 12 cc, centrally mounted with a pair of Garrett T6.2 turbochargers, the engine produced as much as 6 kW or 3498 horsepower at 3 rpm with 404 Nm at 550 rpm, paired with a five-speed manual transmission. It was the first V7,000 ever fitted to a Jaguar, as well as the first turbocharged, originally scheduled for the Austin Metro 645R4500 Group B rally, otherwise a derivative of the Cosworth engine developed for Formula One racing! The V6 was weaker, it simply lacked low-body space and was unable to meet exhaust regulations.
The V6 engine was much lighter, which, in conjunction with the rear-drive only, allowed for great mass savings. Despite its huge dimensions, 4,930 mm long, 2,007 mm wide and 1,151 mm high with 2,642 mm wheelbase, it weighed an incredible 1,320kg (the V12 engine prototype weighed 1,560kg)! Inside, luxury abounded with leather tubs, air conditioning and audio. There was also a transparent roof, numerous indicators and indicators hung on the instrument panel and doors. The headlamps then had modern covers where, unlike other models where they were pulled out, the cover here collapsed into the bodywork. There were fans and batteries under the front hood, behind the driver was an engine under a transparent hood, while there was little space behind the engine for a shallow boot. The spare wheel did not exist because there was simply no room for it! Tire dimensions were adequate to the brute force generated by the engine, despite the pronounced "turbo hole". There were 255 / 45ZR17 dimensions in the front and 345 / 35ZR18 back. The honeycomb aluminum construction was used to create the bodywork, which added additional mass savings as well as increased structure strength.
For the first time in a series model, floor-mounted vehicles designed to direct the air and venturi were used to generate enough downforce to keep the car stable at high speeds. It used the Group C Jaguar sports suspension that AutoCar journalists (otherwise the only magazine officially approved to test the XJ220 number 001 on the TWR test track) then described as “the most fuel efficient vehicle we have ever driven. Compared to the Jaguar XJ220, all the vehicles we've tried so far have suddenly become more volatile and soft! ”Admittedly, the right driving skills were required to operate such an assembly, since it had no power assist, steering or braking! The performance was phenomenal for today's terms as well. Until the advent of McLaren, the F1 was considered to be the fastest model series in the world at a speed of 350 km / h (achieved on the Nardo track equivalent to 360 km / h in the straight line). It accelerated from 0-100 km / h in 3.9 seconds, to 160 km / h in eight seconds. Consumption was around 12 liters per 100 km of combined driving, which we doubt. He could not ride in combination, only racing!
At the end of production in 1994, a total of 281 specimens were made, together with prototypes used for testing. Six more were made by TWR from the remaining parts of the XJ220C used for racing. That's how the XJ220S came into being, a model approved for public transport directly derived from the racing model, which had 689 horsepower and carbon body parts, which reduced the weight to just 1080 kg. The XJ220C won its first victory on the Silverston track in the British GT Championship. In 1993, three 24-hour LeMan vehicles in the GT class participate. Two vehicles give up while one with drivers John Nielsen, David Brabham and David Coulthard finishes as first in its class ahead of Porsche with a two lap advantage. The victory was later confiscated by Jaguar for allegedly irregularity of the vehicle, which was later rejected, but the victory was never returned Jaguar. The XJ220 has long held the record on the Nirburgring track as the fastest serial model, from 1992-2000 with a time of 7.47.33 with Nielsen at the wheel. Interestingly, the Sultan brothers of Brunei and Prince Jephri owned several XJ220 models (Prince Jephri about 16 pieces).
After purchasing hundreds of exotic models from various manufacturers, they were sent for processing at specialist homes. Pininfarina modified one XJ220 for Prince Jephri by shortening it, modifying the complete rear and headlights, and remodeling the complete interior. Numerous other celebrities have owned the XJ220, starting with Flavio Briatore, Elton John and Gerhard Berger. The reason for Jaguar's notorious commercial success is due to the financial crisis that hit it just before production began. Changes to the serial model have only exacerbated the already bad situation, but from today's point of view they are quite justified. Although rare, the prices on the market are extremely varied and it is not uncommon to come across a model that has barely more than factory mileage.
Author: Hot Tires
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