The XJ220 concept car was made by a dozen specialist engineers and designers voluntarily in their own time, with help from about forty of Jaguar's suppliers. The team behind the car became famous as 'The Saturday Club.' The result of their labors was unveiled by Sir John Egan at the International Motor Show at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, on 18 October 1988.
XJ220 was the brainchild of Jaguar's Chief Engineer, now Professor Jim Randle. He originally planned to make a Group B car, equally at home both on the road and the racetrack – a limited production supercar, to match the Ferrari F40 and the Porsche 959. He came up with the basic concept in December 1984, and engineering and styling work began in early 1985. The designer responsible for the car's shape was Keith Helfet, the South African-born Royal College of Art graduate. He had become Jaguar's Senior Sports Car Designer and later designed the XK180 and F-type concept cars.
The XJ220 concept car had a chassis, engine, and drive train based on the Jaguar Group C racing cars and a prototype four-wheel-drive system. At the same time, it offered traditional Jaguar qualities, with a superb leather interior and a beautifully shaped aluminum body. It was never intended to be a production car, merely a demonstration of the company's abilities. However, demand for the car was so great that a feasibility study was carried out, and in late 1989 the project was approved.
From 1992 to 1994, a total of 281 XJ220 cars were produced by Jaguar Sport, a joint venture between Jaguar and Tom Walkinshaw operating from a factory at Bloxham in Oxfordshire, which later became the Aston Martin DB7 factory. The production car was somewhat different from the concept, with a TWR V6 engine and rear-wheel drive only, and originally sold at a list price of £400,000. The top speed was around 213 mph (343 km/h), as measured in independent road tests – enough for the XJ220 to claim the title of the fastest production car in the world at that time.
Configuration: 60º V12
Location: Mid, longitudinally mounted
Construction: aluminium alloy block and head
Displacement: 6,222 cc / 379.7 cu in
Bore / Stroke: 92.0 mm (3.6 in) / 78.0 mm (3.1 in)
Valvetrain: 4 valves / cylinder, DOHC
Fuel feed: Fuel Injection
Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
Power: 530 bhp / 395 kW @ 7,000 rpm
Torque: 542 Nm / 400 ft lbs @ 5,000 rpm
BHP/Liter: 85 bhp / liter
Body: aluminum panels
Chassis: bonded aluminum monocoque
Front suspension: double wishbones, push-rod and rocker activated coil springs over dampers, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension: rocker operated double coil springs over dampers
Brakes: servo-assisted ventilated discs all-round
Gearbox: 5 speed Manual
Drive: rear wheel drive
Weight: 1,560 kilo / 3,439 lbs
Length / Width / Height: 5,140 mm (202.4 in) / 2,200 mm (86.6 in) / 1,240 mm (48.8 in)
Wheelbase / Track (fr/r): 2,840 mm (111.8 in) / 1,650 mm (65 in) / 1,650 mm (65 in)
Power to weight: 0.34 bhp / kg
Top Speed: 322 km/h (200 mph)
0-60 mph: 3.5 s
Images: JAGUAR CARS LTD.; www.renestaud.com