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Jaguar XJ220: buying guide & review (1993-1994)

Jaguar XJ220: buying guide & review (1993-1994) Classic and Performance Car
Jaguar XJ220 Jaguar XJ220 Jaguar XJ220 Jaguar XJ220
Jaguar launched its much-hyped XJ220 straight into the jaws of the financial recession in 1992 when the ‘investment car’ market crashed. The initial proposal for the XJ220, as first unveiled at the British International Motor Show in 1998, was a four-wheel-drive V12 racing car suitable for FIA Group B racing. With its flowing aluminium bodywork it looked so impressive that 1500 deposits of £50,000 were taken. 
 
It was not initially envisaged as a production car, yet Tom Walkinshaw and Jaguar collaborated on a road-going JaguarSport version. It was decided to drop the heavy and complicated four-wheel drive system and large V12 as Jaguar’s principal competitors were using compact, turbocharged engines in the Porsche 959 and Ferrari F40.
 
So Jaguar developed the V6 from the MG Metro 6R4 rally car. Re-engineered and fitted with two Garrett turbochargers, the engine developed an impressive 550bhp, cracking 60mph in 3.6 seconds and going on to set the Guinness World Record for highest speed attained by a production car at 217.1mph in 1994.
 
The production version was launched at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1991 – costing £470,000! Some of the original speculators had backed out, fighting to reclaim their deposits after the shift from four-wheel drive and a V12. When production ceased in 1994, only 271 had been built, the last one selling for £127,550 plus VAT.
 
There was no doubting the XJ220’s towering performance, although the V6 engine sounded agricultural in comparison to the V12. The car was 
also physically huge, difficult to see out of and near-impossible to drive in traffic. But the XJ220 is rare and fast, and that means prices are rising today.
 

Which XJ220 to buy?

 
Fewer than 300 XJ220s were built but you’ll still always have a handful to choose from at any one time. A big proportion of the cars available have covered very few miles but – as usual – that’s not necessarily a good thing. If an XJ220 has been left standing for months – or even years – without being started up or driven a significant distance, it’ll probably be riddled with faults.
 
If you buy a car that’s had pretty much no use over the past few years, it’ll almost certainly need to be recommissioned and that’s a costly job – it could easily run to more than 10 per cent of the asking price.
 
All XJ220s were built to the same spec but since leaving the factory some cars have been treated to a range of upgrades. If you’re planning to use your car rather than just sit on it and hope it goes up in value, any of these upgrades are worthwhile.
 
The modifications offered include exhaust and turbocharger improvements, plus engine mapping and suspension tweaks to tailor the handling. There’s also a raft of usability tweaks available, including the fitment of parking sensors, improved lighting and a boot modification that can more than treble the amount of carrying capacity. All offered by Don Law, they turn the XJ220 into a car that’s much more usable.
 
Although you are unlikely to come across one on the open market, there are reportedly two special Pininfarina-bodied XJ220s in existence, originally commissioned by the Sultan of Brunei. The car’s interior and exterior was completely re-worked, and the result looked surprisingly well resolve, and somewhat more slender looking. Active aerodynamics are thought to have been engineered into the car’s new sleek bodywork, and although not much is known about these ‘one-off’ specials, they are thought to be fully functioning.
 

Performance and specs


Engine  3498cc, turbocharged V6
Power 540bhp @ 7200rpm
Torque 475lb ft @ 4500rpm
Transmission Six-speed manual
0-60mph 3.6sec
Top speed 217mph 
Insurance group   -
Fuel consumption  18.0mpg
Price when new  £470,000
 

Dimensions and weight


Wheelbase              2640mm
Length 4860mm
Width 2000mm
Height 1150mm
Weight 1560kg
 

Common problems

 
• Visibility isn’t great, especially to the rear. As a result there are plenty of XJ220s sporting parking knocks; don’t under-estimate the cost of restoring dented bodywork.
 
• The V6 is tough, but annual oil changes are key if the turbochargers aren’t to wear prematurely. The cam belts also need to be replaced every two years or 12,000 miles.
 
• Clutches aren’t all that strong which is why some owners have a replacement fitted each time the engine is out to replace the cam belt. That might seem lavish, but if the clutch disintegrates and takes out the gearbox casing, the costs can be huge.
 
• The XJ220’s brakes are poor but there are upgrades available. If you’re planning to drive the car like it was designed to be driven, expect to invest in some better anchors. Don Law in Staffordshire is the place to go; the company can upgrade the servo and pads or install a complete race-spec system.
 
• See how old the tyres are and how much tread is left on each of them. Some low-mileage cars are sitting on rubber that’s way past its best-before date and if the tyres are low on tread you’ll have to buy new rubber soon – and that’s not a cheap proposition.
 
• The bag fuel tanks that are fitted have to be replaced every six years, which is ridiculously frequent for a road car – even one at this level. Replacement is a costly job too, which obviously needs to be done by someone who knows what they’re doing.
 
• Of course you need to buy a car that comes with a service history, but don’t under-estimate the cost of proper maintenance. Even a routine service will cost plenty; once you’re into the realms of major maintenance plus some replacement parts because of ageing or wear and tear, the bills can be eye-watering.
 
• Parts availability is surprisingly good, with some bits already being remanufactured. In 2008 Don Law bought Jaguar’s entire stock of XJ220 parts which encompasses interior parts, panels, engine, wheels, windscreens and much more. 
 

Model history

 
1988: The Jaguar XJ220 makes its debut at the Birmingham NEC motor show. In prototype form there’s a 6.2-litre V12, scissor doors along with four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering. Jaguar doesn’t confirm production at this stage, but takes 1400 deposits anyway.
1991: The first production cars are delivered, but by now the engine has been swapped to a twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6. The power goes the rear wheels only, the wheelbase has been chopped by 200mm and instead of active aerodynamics there’s an underbody venturi-effect airflow system.
1992: The final road-going cars are built.
1993: TWR, which helped to develop the XJ220, creates the track-ready XJ220C, for GT racing.
1994: TWR builds six XJ220Ss, which are effectively road-going versions of the XJ220C.
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
•www.jec.org.uk - Owners’ club
•www.jaguardriver.co.uk - Owners’ club
•www.jaguarownersclub.com - Owners’ club
•www.donlawracing.com - XJ220 specialist
 

Summary and prices

 
Considering the XJ220’s excellent pedigree, values are still relatively affordable. Prices have been rising, but a great car can still be bought for around £200,000-£300,000, a fraction of some other supercars from the same era.
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Last updated: 1st Aug 2017
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  • 1991 (19) JAGUAR XJ220 COUPE 3.5 3.5 2DR

    POA POA

    The story behind the Jaguar XJ220 is an inspiring one. Professor Jim Randall, the head of Jaguar's engineering department, started the ball rolling by sketching out some ideas whilst on a Christmas holiday in the 1980s. It was the stuff of fantasies - V12, 4WD, slippery body with ground effects. Together with colleagues in the 'Saturday Club' at Jaguar (so called because they met out of hours and at weekends to work on unofficial pet projects) they toyed with the concept until Jaguar started getting genuinely excited by the idea and official plans were put in place to build what was to be the fastest ever road car. The Birmingham Motor Show in 1988 saw the unveiling of the powered concept with the design featuring a V12, fuel injected, 48 valve 530BHP engine delivering its output to all four wheels. Ultimately, the use of the V6 allowed the chassis to be shortened, although the proportions of this car are still truly impressive. The engine sits behind the two seat cabin, with a tiny boot available behind that. The styling is heavily influenced by the need to cool the highly tuned engine and also to provide sufficient downforce to keep the car steady at the 217mph top speed. To say this is a very very special Jaguar is somewhat of an understatement, we are told by the vendor that chassis no 220693 was built by TWR Jaguar in Oxford in 1991 before being despatched to Brunei having being ordered by the Royal family, finished its believed by request in an Aston Martin Colour. The car covered very little mileage in intervening years and was repatriated back to the UK in September of 2002. According to records at its first MOT in the UK in July of 2002 it had a mileage reading of 1412 and as befitting a car of this nature the car then became the property of flamboyant champagne dealer before changing hands a further 3 times in the U.K, in 2006, 2014 and 2016 before being offered for sale today. ` There's no doubt about it, this car is as visual as it is all about power, it may be 20 years old, but this Jaguar still holds its own in the era of the Hypercar. Turn the ignition key, hit the starter button and behind your head the Group C derived V6 bursts aggressively into life, harsh metallic whips of sound lash wildly from the engine bay, it's a noise straight from the Le Mans pit lane. Once up to speed it becomes addictive to lift off the accelerator and listen to the frenetic mixture of turbo waste gate chatter. Continuing to feed power through the gearbox only results in more drama as it reaches the limits of its abilities before the brace of mighty turbochargers reach full compression and the seductive noise dissipates into an aeronautical gale of vast quantities of air being manipulated both around the high-downforce body and through the engine. Make no mistake this car has the looks to match, the metallic green paintwork is absolutely stunning from any angle thanks to the fact that this particular XJ220 was the subject of a hugely expensive glass out repaint in 2007. It was also decided at the same time an internal retrim was in order; the nett result is a car that looks better than the day it left the TWR factory. The odometer currently shows a speedo reading of just under 6000 miles and is supported by MOT certificates dating back to 2002. We are reliably informed that this particular XJ220 has had work done by probably the UKs leading authority on XJ220s namely Don Law based of Staffordshire. This included in the summer of 2015 included a full overall at considerable cost, in which, a 24 month service was carried out along with replacement of the clutch, fuel tanks and pumps. Since then the car has travelled less than 500 miles. Other than trips to the MOT station this car has had little use over recent years. Sold with its original factory hand pack and supporting documents. Only 281 of these Jaguar icons were ever built and contrast with todays standards of automotive restraint and green manufacturing; which makes all the more sense to buy one whilst you still can. Please note the car will be supplied with a fresh 12 months MOT and service. The car sits on Bridgestone Potenza Tyres all around. Front: 255 / 45 / ZR17 (98Y) Rear: 345 / 35 / ZR18 (99Y) TYRE DEPTHS Front Right: 6mm Front Left: 6mm Rear Right: 6mm Rear Left: 6mm To make an appointment to view, please call our customer services team on 01772 663777. Viewing strictly by appointment. Prior to offering for sale, all cars are subject to the AMARI Inspection, a stringent 170 point investigation of the car cosmetically, electrically and mechanically. Our resident master technicians attend to all issues prior to offering the car for sale, using the very latest and best diagnostic equipment, state of the art tools and methods. Our highly qualified master technicians can carry out servicing on all road cars, from the standard family hatch back to the latest Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin... We are the only independent dealer with full Ferrari SDX Diagnostics and the Lamborghini LARAS Diagnostics systems. Our fully equipped workshop enables us to attend to any electrical, and mechanical issues, from intricate electrical repairs and renewals, to brake disc Skimming and air conditioning recharging. Before collection all cars go through our exhaustive detailing process (can take up to three days) using only the worlds finest Swissvax products, carried out by our professional certified Swissvax trained technicians, covering every aspect of the car inside and out. Collection and delivery throughout the UK can be offered through the most reputable manufacturer championed company who use only the very latest covered car transporters with extensive experience of transporting cars across the world. Vehicles are supplied with a three month warranty *Exclusions Apply. We offer part exchange and finance facility on most cars. AMARI Lifestyle Limited T/As AMARI SuperCars is authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (663066)

    • Mileage: 5986 mi
    • Engine size: 3.5
    For sale
    POA POA
    Amari Super Cars GB
    01772 663 777 View contact number
  • JAGUAR XJ220

    POA POA

    JUST 3.600 KMS SINCE NEW Brand Jaguar Type XJ220 Color Blue Interior Grey Year of build 1993 Price More information will be online soon 1993 JAGUAR XJ 220 One of only 285 examples made Supercar of the nineties With the original Owner’s Handbook and the Service Record and Warranty card Only 3.600 kilometers since new A dream has come true. I still remember the day that my parents gave me a 1:18 size scale model when I was approximately 7 years old. We were in central London and it was my favorite out of hundreds of scale models. The XJ 220 was a toy which I took everywhere but nobody else was allowed to play with it except myself. After 3 years I first saw the XJ 220 in real. A customer of a Land Rover dealer where I was washing cars came by with his Jaguar XJ 220. In Holland it was even more unique to see such a supercar as we have an extra road tax and therefore a Jaguar XJ 220 was costing over 1.000.000,- guilders which is nowadays the same in Euro’s. After quite a big research we have been able to buy after many years a Jaguar XJ 220 in silver. This car we sold as we cannot keep all cars ourselves unfortunately but luckily we recently found this blue example. The color of the sc

    • Year: 1993
    For sale
    POA POA