Jaguar Celebrates 20 Years Since XJ220 Launch

Jaguar XJ220 1 photo
Photo: Jaguar
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the fastest Jaguar ever built, the 217mph (350 km/h) XJ220 that was built between 1992 and 1994 and held the top speed title until the McLaren F1 took it in 1994.
As with most cool cars, the project started with passion, not a market greed, in mind. Certain Jaguar employees had created an informal group they called "The Saturday Club", which met after-hours and on weekends to work on unofficial pet-projects. In the 1980s, Jaguar's chief-engineer Jim Randle, as part of that group, began work on what he saw as competition for cars like the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959. The outline of the car thus came to be - light, mid-endined, two-seater, capable of over 320 km/h (200 mph).

The first XJ220 came into the world as a concept car, launched at the 1988 British Motor Show. Tom Walkinshaw Racing was asked to produce a 6.2-liter version of Jaguar's legendary V12 engine with four valves per cylinder, quad camshafts and a target output of 510 PS. The all wheel drive system was produced by FF Developments who had experience with such systems going back to the 1960s and the Jensen FF.

But when the car was nearing production a number of changes were made, the most obvious of which was a completely different drivetrain and the elimination of the scissor doors. The V12 was replaced with a Tom Walkinshaw-developed 3.5 L V6 based on the engine used in the Austin Metro 6R4 rally car and fitted with twin Garrett T3 turbochargers. This generated 550 hpand 476 lb·ft (645 N·m) of torque at 4500 rpm.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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