Home / Social media / News / Once the world's fastest car - the Jaguar XJ220 #251 - heads to auction at Bonham's.


It’s a quick way to reveal your age, but if you were a teen in the 90s who had a passion for cars and motoring, there’s a very high chance that you had a poster of a Jaguar XJ220 on your bedroom wall or on the cover of one of your school books. Back then it was one of the most beautiful motoring creations to have ever existed, and it was the epitome of futuristic motoring as well as being one of the first modern supercars. It was a technological marvel, and it had quite a storied process to bring it into existence. The stunning Jaguar XJ220 was conceived during the 1980s, a period when supercar competition was as fierce as it has ever been. The initial idea came from a group of Jaguar engineers who worked on the project in their spare time making it a skunkworks project of epic proportions. This team, known as the "Saturday Club," envisioned creating the fastest production car in the world. Their prototype was unveiled at the 1988 British International Motor Show, and it featured a monstrous 6.2-litre V12 engine that was mated to an all-wheel drive transmission, capturing the imagination of car enthusiasts and garnering significant interest. When it came time to transition the XJ220 from concept to production, several significant changes were made, primarily due to practical and regulatory considerations. The most notable change was the switch from the V12 engine to a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6, derived from the engine used in Jaguar's Group C racing cars. While this made technical sense, it did leave the company with a little of that proverbial egg on its face after promising the V12 powerplant. A further blow was that the planned all-wheel-drive system was replaced with a conventional rear-wheel-drive layout. These changes were driven by the need to meet emissions regulations, improve performance, and reduce weight. Many customers who had placed deposits based on the original specifications felt betrayed and some even took legal action. Despite this, the XJ220's performance was still extraordinary - it could reach a top speed of 349 km/h and it could accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just over 3.5 seconds. Jaguar originally planned to produce 350 units, but due to the economic recession of the early 1990s and the controversy over the specification changes, only 275 of these hand-assembled beauties were built. In 1992 an XJ220 prototype set a record at the Nürburgring, lapping the Nordschleife circuit in 7:46.36, a record for a production car that stood for several years.

The cars were stupendously expensive, in the early to mid-90s, a retail price of £470,000 was even a lot to those who could afford one - and with the world being in a recession, even the wealthy were watching their pennies. It’s not clear how many of the 275 models that were produced still exist, but it has to be very close to that total, we can’t find any information of any that have been wrecked. These things are usually kept very quiet though. They also don’t come up for sale very often, the wealthy car collector types like to let them sit in a collection and appreciate in value, so seeing one pop up on a lot list for the upcoming Bonmont Sale through Bonham’s Auctions is quite rare. Details on the car are quite minimal for now, the car’s provenance and more details will be released closer to the auction date of 30 June. For now, we know this specific Jaguar XJ220 is part of a collection based in Switzerland where it’s been since new in 1994, and has had one owner. The XJ220 has covered less than 7500 km which means it should fetch some decent money. It won’t pull in record money though, the most expensive XJ220 sold to date fetched a World Record price of £525,000, but that one had a mere 1,130 km on the odometer. The car was obviously a favourite among some celebrities, well-knowns like musician Sir Elton John, Italian businessman Flavio Briatore and race driver Tom Walkinshaw all owned an XJ220 at some point - and the world’s most ridiculous car collector, the Sultan of Brunei, was reported to have bought 18 of them for himself and his family. This one on sale at Bonham’s Auctions is tipped to pull in a healthy R12,000,000 at the high end of the estimate scale. We’ll keep you posted on what car no: 251 fetches.

Take a look at the YouTube video from one of YouTube's most well-known car guys, Doug DeMuro, as he takes a close look at a Jaguar XJ220 and explains why it was as absolutely mental as you might expect - the 90s were an amazing time: Here's Why the Jaguar XJ220 Is the Craziest 1990s Supercar | Doug DeMuro

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