Non-eBay Find of the Day: Jaguar XJ220

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Our friends over at jameslist.com sent us a heads-up re: today’s collector car auction at Coy’s of Kensington, in Ascot (famous enabler of post-modern millinery). “Bargains isn’t [sic] Coys’ game, but if you are a collector in search of fine automobiles, or happen to be on the hunt for a Jaguar XJ200 with less than 200 miles on the odometer, then Coys is for you.” Now that’s what I call a niche market. Forget the how-low-can-you-go odo. Aside from styling, Jag’s early-90s foray into the supercar market was an abject failure, rendering the vehicle “collectible” only in the Edsel sense of the word. The headline issue: a late-in-the-game change from the original engine spec (a 500hp 6.2-liter V12) to a 3.2-liter six V6. V6? Forced induction? The new engine had about as much to do with Jaguar heritage as a Wolo Bad Boy Compact Airhorn. And sounded worse (if slightly quieter). Not . . . to mention . . . TURBO LAG! Hard to believe, but that wasn’t the worst of it . . .

The American-owned British automaker also highlighted and deleted the prototype XJ220’s four wheel-drive system. And the scissor doors. And then hoiked the price, from £361,000 to £403,000—at the precise moment the global recession burst the supercar bubble like a kid with an overinflated lunch bag, sending speculators (who’d ponied-up £50k) scurrying to their lawyers for an escape clause. Get this: a high court judge eventually released all prospective XJ220 owners (including a cash-strapped Elton John) from their contractual obligation.

But here’s the supercar’s greatest deficiency (other than a complete lack of visibility in any direction save straight ahead and skywards): brakes.

If a car’s only as good as its brakes, the XJ220 could well be one of the worst cars ever made. I drove an XJ220 with the original stoppers on the road. The anchors brought to mind my first Harley-Davidson (i.e. “I’d really like to stop now. Now, please. C’mon, I’m serious. No really, this is important.”) Jack Baruth might fancy the challenge, but I’d sooner surf the Bonzai Pipeline in a hurricane that fling this rig around a race track.

Never mind.

“The Jag is estimated to fetch around £100,000 and it’s practically brand new. The 151 miles it has done has been under Jaguar’s supervision at their test track and upon the reception, the owner immediately stored it and has never driven it. I would call that a shame and a waste since some cars just needs to be driven. Luckily someone else will now get that pleasure even though he’s not likely to be heading for any track day thrashing any time soon.”

Like I said, not if he or she wants to live.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

More by Robert Farago

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 29 comments
  • Bryanska Bryanska on Oct 05, 2009

    Got some flamebait going on here.

  • Accs Accs on Oct 18, 2009

    I might never see one of these in my life.. in person.. but at least I can own the 1/18 diecast.. along with a E type from 63 and a 1997 XJR convertible.. in green to match the E type

  • The Oracle The early sounds of the death knell for CCP EVs.
  • FreedMike "This week, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) "Oh, THAT clown. The Undistinguished Gentleman and Brave Christian Culture Warrior from North Arkansas - I mean, Missouri - who was caught pulling a Brave Sir Robin act on January 6th, after he egged on the rioters? This guy shouldn't be running for dog catcher, must less consuming oxygen in the Senate chamber. Assess his proposals accordingly.
  • EBFlex Yawn. It’s still a white refrigerator. A Camry has more soul and passion than this.
  • Jkross22 For as nice as these were at the time, I always preferred the 850, even with wrong wheel drive. Especially the early 90s. In sedan form. The 850R. Mmmmm.
  • FreedMike Well, if you want a Swedish cockroach that's easy to work on, here's your ticket. Tad overpriced but it's an asking price, after all. And those old Volvo seats are divine. It'd be worth a look.
Next