The After-Hours Supercar

16 March 2023

The Jaguar XJ220 was named similarly to the Jaguar XK120; the 220 relates to the car’s intended top speed of 220mph—no points for guessing the meaning of the XK120 moniker.

The XJ220 was Jaguar’s first production supercar and the fastest production car in the world, achieving a speed of 217mph.

In the new Grand Touring Class, Jaguar entered three works XJ220 in the 1993 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The car driven by John Nielsen, David Brabham and David Coulthard won the GT class, beating Porsche by two laps.

The XK220 was dreamt up by Jim Randle, Jaguar’s engineering director and a small cluster known as ‘The Saturday Club’ who took on the after-hours project, along with Tom Walkinshaw Racing.

The concept was finished in the early hours of 18 October, the exact day that the car was to be launched at the British International Motor Show.

Jaguar received over 1,000 expressions of interest and numerous deposits of £50,000.

However, a decision to replace the V12, 6.2 litres, with a V6, 3.5 litres, evidently, to save weight and emissions, resulted in numerous orders being cancelled.

The XJ220’s status as the fastest road car was lost to the McLaren F1 hit 240mph in 1998.