Jaguar XJ220 photo
Image credits: © Jaguar.

1993 Jaguar XJ220

The Jaguar XJ220 two-seat supercar was produced from 1992 until 1994 with 282 examples built. It was a joint venture between Jaguar and Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR). TWR was founded in 1976 by Tom Walkinshaw and initially handled privateer work before entering Works racing cars for manufacturers such as Rover and Mazda. Several victories were won in 1982 with the Jaguar XJS in the European Touring Car Championship, helping to establish a relationship with Jaguar that would continue into the 1990s.

In 1984, Jaguar and TWR won the European Touring Car Championship with the XJS. For the 1985 season, TWR and Jaguar developed the XJR-6 to contest the FIA Group C World Sportscar Championship. It was powered by the same Jaguar V12 engine found in the Group 44 Racing XJR-5 used for the IMSA GT Championship. In 1988, TWR oversaw the IMSA GT Championship operation with the XJR-9, which would go on to win the 1988 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Sportscar Championship in the same year.

New rule regulations were introduced which restricted refueling during races, which forced the team to seek a replacement for the thirsty V12 engines. They found a suitable replacement from the normally-aspirated Austin Rover V64V engine, designed for the MG Metro 6R4. The small-displacement, turbocharged engine was compact, lightweight, and fuel-efficient. With design rights secured, JaguarSport began work on the development of a purpose-built six-cylinder engine to power the XJR-10 (IMSA) and XJR-11 (Group C). Two versions were needed, a 3-liter unit for the American IMSA series and a 3.5-liter to contest the Group C category of the World Championship, which included the high speed 24 Hour of LeMans.

JaguarSport's Tony Southgate, with the help of Ross Brawn, designed and built an all-new chassis to house the bespoke V6 engine. The all-aluminum engine had twin overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and two Garrett turbochargers. In 3-liter form, the engine offered approximately 650 horsepower. The Group C version produced around 750 horsepower. Both engines were backed by a five-speed gearbox which also served as a fully stressed member of the chassis.

The XJR-10 and XJR-11 would be used for two seasons and earn seven victories.
XJ220 Design and Development
What had begun as production cars modified for racing, had evolved into purpose-built race cars that were far removed from the Jaguar made available to the general public. Jaguar and their Director of Engineering, Jim Randle, decided to design and build a car that was built 'in house' and was capable of winning at Le Mans. With no official support, Randle and a team of volunteers worked on evenings and weekends in their own time. Two cardboard model mock-ups were produced, with one by Keith Helfet using design cues from the current XJ41 project and Malcolm Sayer's work on the XJ13 racing car. Helfet's design was selected and work began on building a concept.

With a shoe-string budget, work began on a mid-engine, all-wheel-drive concept powered by a Jaguar V12 engine. It was given the name XJ220 as a continuation of the naming of the XK120, which was in reference to the top speed of the model in miles per hour. The targeted speed of the XJ220 was 220 mph.

When the XJ220 made its debut in concept-car form at the British International Motor Show in October of 1988, it was just a few hours old. It had been completed just eight hours before its debut.

Up to this point in history, Jaguar had experience with just rear-wheel drive vehicles. Randle had Tony Rolt's company, FF Developments, design the transmission and four-wheel-drive system for the XJ220. The mid-mounted engine complicated the design of the four-wheel-drive system as an ingenious solution was needed to get the power to the front wheels. The solution implemented used the front-wheel-drive from the central differential on the rear transaxle and sent it through the V in the center of the engine using a quill drive, before joining an inverted differential. AP Racing designed the twin-plate clutch.

The engine was a leftover unit TWR had manufactured during the 1980s. These 7-liter engines had been used in the LeMans-winning Silk Cut XJR-9, and five of the engines still existed, all with dry-sump lubrication, which would be useful as the dry-sump would lower the vehicle's center of gravity. A displacement of 6.2-liters was selected and the examples fitted into the XJ220 concept were given titanium connecting rods.

The engine was installed into a chassis that was manufactured from aluminum using Alcan's bonded aluminum structure vehicle technology (ASVT). The wheelbase measured 112 inches and the adjustable height suspension was more tuned for road use. The fuel tank was located behind the center bulkhead, and a four-channel anti-lock braking system was placed at all four corners. Complicating the design complexity even further, the XJ220 Concept was given rear-wheel steering.

The production versions were shorter than the concept.

A week before the introduction of the XJ220, Jaguar chairman John Egan and Roger Putnam, were shown the vehicle and signed off on the concept, allowing it to be unveiled. The car was very well received, an impressive accomplishment considering the Ferrari F40 was also on display at the same event.

The Jaguar XJ220 had been designed as a concept car, but its positive reception prompted a production version. On December 20th of 1989, Jaguar announced that 220 to 350 examples would be produced, with planned deliveries for mid-1992.

Jaguar was busy with production vehicles, such as the XJ and XJS models, and the newly facelifted XJS introduced in May of 1991. So production for the XJ220 was tasked to TWR and Jaguar Sport, a joint venture between Jaguar and TWR that was formed in 1987 with the purpose of producing racing cars. JaguarSport formed a new company, Project XJ220 Ltd., specifically to develop and build the XJ220. Mike Moreton was hired to head the TWR team and to run the XJ220 project. Keith Helfet and Nick Hull were retained to refine the interior and exterior designs.

Unlike the concept version, the production XJ220 used a 3,498cc twin-turbocharged V6 engine, which was given the designation Jaguar TWR JV6. It was a significantly altered version of the naturally aspirated Austin Rover V64V V6 engine. In comparison to the V12, the V6 was more compact, lighter, and easier to meet emissions regulations. The new turbocharged engine, codenamed JV6, was built under the auspices of Allan Scott. It had a 90-degree bank angle, belt-driven double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and shared several design features with the Cosworth DFV Formula One engine. It had dry sump lubrication, multi-point fuel injection with dual injectors and Zytek electronic engine management. It was comprised of an aluminum cylinder block, aluminum cylinder heads, steel connecting rods, and steel crankshaft. The 540 horsepower engine was capable of carrying the XJ220 from zero-to-sixty mph in 3.6 seconds and had a top speed of 212.3 mph.

Emission regulations required the exhaust system be fitted with two catalytic converters, robbing the engine of some of its power. One example had the catalytic converters removed and its rev limit increased, adding an additional 50 horsepower and bringing the top speed to 217 mph.

Since the complexity of the four-wheel drive system would increase costs, hinder the development process, and be potentially problematic for the customer, a less complicated rear-wheel drive setup was selected. FF Developments were selected to provide the gearbox and transaxle assembly. A six-speed gearbox was considered, but a five-speed gearbox was deemed adequate. To improve traction, the transaxle was fitted with a viscous coupling limited slip differential. The first two gears were given triple-cone synchromeshing to cope with quick starts. The 8.5-inch diameter clutch was provided by AP Racing.

Abbey Panels constructed the aluminum body panels for the XJ220. Keith Helfet worked on the exterior redesign, which was necessary due to the altered wheelbase and length, and the removal of the scissor doors. Larger air intakes were needed to feet air to the turbocharged engine and the two intercoolers. Additional changes were added after wind tunnel testing revealed areas of improvement. Underbody airflow and venturi effect were added, making the XJ220 one of the first road cars to intentionally used this design to help increase downforce at speed.

The luxurious interior featured leather trimmed sports seats, electrically adjustable heated mirrors, and electric windows. A small luggage area could be found directly behind and above the rear portion of the engine, trimmed in leather.

Production rates averaged about one car per day, and the first customer car was delivered in June of 1992. The last XJ220 was built in April of 1994. Although the production version of the XJ220 offered spectacular performance, some clients who left deposits after seeing the original concept car were unsatisfied with a twin-turbocharged V6 and lack of four-wheel drive. This resulted in several customers deciding not to take delivering, resulting in a number of XJ220s being left unpurchased at the factory.

A racing version was introduced at the 1993 Autosport International motor show; given the model name XJ220-C, it was built to compete in FISA GT racing.

In 1995, a special XJ220 was built for the Sultan of Brunei and his brother Prince Jefri. It wore a redesigned body by Pininfarina and manufactured by Coggiola. Changes included new rear lights with a redesigned double-vane rear wing, new interior package, and fixed headlights.

by Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2019

Related Reading : Jaguar XJ220 History

There are very few production cars that can claim to be have been born out of a spare-time project, but the Jaguar XJ220 is the most famous of all. Jaguars chief engineer, Jim Randle, dreamt up the idea of creating the ultimate supercar on Christmas and fired up enough enthusiasm with colleagues to start a Saturday club to work on the project. At first not even the Jaguar board knew about the....
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Related Reading : Jaguar XJ220 History

Between 1992 and 1994, the Jaguar XJ220 was produced by Jaguar in collaboration with Tom Walkinshaw Racing as Jaguar Sport and is a mid-engined sports vehicle. Until the McLaren F1 arrived in 1994, the XJ220 held the record for the highest top speed of a production vehicle of 217 mph. The Saturday Club was a very informal group made up of certain Jaguar employees in the early days of the company,....
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1993 Vehicle Profiles

1993 Jaguar XJ220 vehicle information


Chassis Num: SAJJEAEX8AX220701
Engine Num: 6A 10344 SB

The Jaguar XJ220 was introduced to the public in 1988 at the Birmingham Motor Show. Sir John Egan, the director of Jaguar, had overseen the project along with Tom Walkinshaw. Walkinshaw, along with his company Tom Walkinshaw Racing, had experience in....[continue reading]

1993 Jaguar XJ220 vehicle information


Chassis Num: SAJJEAEX8AX220707

This Jaguar XJ220, finished in classic silver with a grey leather interior, currently has approximately 2,900 original kilometers on its odometer. It was built in August of 1993 and is one of the group of 37 unsold XJ220s that were carefully stored, ....[continue reading]

1993 Jaguar XJ220 vehicle information

XJ220S Coupe

Chassis Num: 784

Jaguar introduced the XJ220 in the late 1980s as a concept. After receiving an enthusiastic welcome, Jaguar enlisted Tom Walkinshaw Racing to conduct a feasibility study to determine if a production series would be possible. Initial plans called for ....[continue reading]

1993 Jaguar XJ220 vehicle information


Chassis Num: SAJJEAEX8AX220797

Between 1992 and 2000, the Jaguar XJ220 held the Nurburgring production car lap record. At 7:46:37 it was 30 seconds faster than the previous production car lap record. This example was constructed on January 29th of 1993 and finished in Monza Red.....[continue reading]

1993 Jaguar XJ220 vehicle information


Jaguar is an iconic British brand. It boasts a long and storied heritage of dashing styling, high performance, and memorable racing victories stretching back many decades. Two motorcycle enthusiasts founded it in 1922 and began building cars in 1935.....[continue reading]

1993 Jaguar XJ220 vehicle information


Chassis Num: SAJJEAEX8AX220857

This Jaguar XJ220 was completed at JaguarSport's assembly facility in Bloxham, Oxfordshire, England on October 27th of 1992. It left the factory finished in Spa Silver with a Smoke Gray leather interior. It was sold on January 14th of 1993 by JaguarS....[continue reading]

1993 Jaguar XJ220 vehicle information


Chassis Num: SAJJEAEX8AX220672

The XJ220 proved that Jaguar could still design, engineer, and produce attractive supercars. The XJ220 was a powerful and aerodynamic two-seater capable of achieving 200 mph. The all-wheel-drive coupe offered a superior level of luxury and comfort wh....[continue reading]

Chassis Num: SAJJEAEX8AX220683
Engine Num: 6A10335SB

This Jaguar XJ220 was one of the example left unpurchased at the factory. It remained in England through early 2000 and was acquired by RM Auctions along with a batch of other unpurchased XJ220s and shipped to Canada. RM Auctions sold it to the curre....[continue reading]

1993 Jaguar XJ220 vehicle information


Chassis Num: SAJJEAEX8AX220789
Engine Num: 6A 10332 SB

The production version of the Jaguar XJ220 was officially launched in 1991 at the Tokyo Motor Show. Nearly 1,500 orders had been received and the limited-production run was planned for 220 to 350 examples. Total production reached approximately 275-2....[continue reading]

Chassis #: SAJJEAEX8AX220701 
Chassis #: SAJJEAEX8AX220707 
XJ220S Coupe
Chassis #: 784 
Chassis #: SAJJEAEX8AX220797 
Chassis #: SAJJEAEX8AX220857 
Chassis #: SAJJEAEX8AX220672 
Chassis #: SAJJEAEX8AX220683 
Chassis #: SAJJEAEX8AX220789 

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