Stunning Jaguar XJ220 for sale

Record-breaking supercar is a bargain by '90s supercar standards. Also, a legend beyond its own lunchtime

By Cam Tait / Monday, 11 December 2023 / Loading comments

Hard to imagine there was ever a time when the XJ220 was anything other than a legend, but the truth is this icon of ’90s supercardom was, well, a flop in the ’90s. Then again, so were many of its contemporaries. The turn of the decade was a particularly difficult time for the supercar, with a financial crash leaving many loaded individuals with significantly less cash to burn on frivolities. That’s one of the reasons why the McLaren F1 never met its intended production cap, why the Bugatti EB110 failed to take off and why XJ220 demand all but dried up.

That said, Jaguar didn’t exactly make life easy for itself. Demand went through the roof after the XJ220 prototype debuted at the 1988 British Motor Show, partly for its gorgeous looks, partly for the racing-derived V12 powering it. Imagine then getting a call from your Jaguar rep a few years later, who tells you that the XJ220 is coming along nicely but, er, there’s been a slight change of plan: the V12 has been ditched and it’s instead getting a V6. From a Metro. Now imagine the ultra-wealthy buyer whose bank account has taken a sizeable hit from a bone-crushing recession, and who’ll soon be handed a £470,000 bill for a car that isn’t as exciting as the one they saw back in ’88. 

We’ll never know how good a V12-powered XJ220 would have been, even though the fully functional prototype still exists, but we all know that the car that’d make production would be no less special. The 6R4-derived 3.5-litre, twin-turbo V6 mustered a punchy 550hp – over 40hp more than the V12 concept – which combined with some slippery aerodynamics could spur the XJ220 on to some extraordinary feats. A pre-production car set a record-breaking top speed of 217.1mph in 1992, which lasted all of about five minutes before the McLaren F1 usurped it.

That hasn’t done anything to hurt the XJ220’s legacy – its reputation has aged like fine wine – though it does mean they’re considerably more attainable than an F1, or virtually any of the great supercars of the ’90s, in fact. Take this stunning 1992 car for example. It’s only covered 2,100 miles, barely enough to crease the leather seats or leave a mirror-like sheen on the steering wheel, and it’s accompanied by all the original books and a hefty history file. If this were a Ferrari F50 or Bugatti EB110, you’d be looking at a price tag of several millions. For this XJ220, it’s just £524,990.

Interestingly, this particular car was originally delivered to Sir John Madejski, with the former Reading FC chairman owning the car for 18 years. Whether he kept it in a glass box as he supposedly did his Ferrari 328 is anyone’s guess, but we do know the third and most recent owner put an awful lot of time (and presumably money) into making it one of the finest XJ220s on the planet. This includes a hefty service where the engine was removed and given a thorough going over, with new gaskets and seals fitted throughout. A new cam belt was fitted, too, along with a new clutch assembly, fresh rubber and PPF to keep the Spa Silver paintwork in top condition.

Makes you wonder why XJ220s haven’t reached the heady heights of other ’90s supercars, as it’s not like Jaguar built loads of them either. Of the 282 cars built, only 69 were right-hand drive. This particular spec isn’t the rarest of the lot, though it’s certainly one of the more desirable. It’s no bargain in the traditional sense, but I’m trying to think of a similarly priced supercar with a pedigree on par with the XJ220’s and I’m coming up short. What a shame its maker couldn’t repeat the feat either. 

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