Named ‘220’ for the speed it was supposed to be able to achieve, the 1993 Jaguar XJ220 started, as many things do, as a doodle on a napkin (or so the story goes) and ended up as a semi-official project, on which Jaguar engineers and designers donated time and effort in what was informally called the ‘Saturday Club’. The car was designed to be the most extravagant of supercars, and it certainly had the looks to back it up. The original concept car had the XJ220 powered by a 48-valve V12, driving all four wheels; it was sleek, fast and enormous, and the boom-time late-80s crowd loved it. This is when the record starts skipping.
Its not that the XJ220 wasn’t a fast car; it was extremely fast. The problem was that Jaguar had done the old bait-and-switch trick. They had taken deposits based on the original concept car, and the car that was delivered was powered by a twin-turbocharged V6, not a V12, and the all-wheel-drive system was gone, the car was shorter, etc.
The replacement 24-valve V6, with a 3.5-liter displacement, still produced an astounding 542 horsepower; the XJ220 could reach 217 miles per hour, a few short of its namesake target but still awesomely fast, and accelerate to 60 in about 3.5 seconds, also incredible.
Unfortunately, many of the Jaguar XJ220 had been bought by speculators, who were no longer interested in the car when the markets crashed, so Jaguar had a hard time selling all its inventory; this is really sad because it truly was an incredible car. I remember seeing one near my house a while back, maybe 15 years ago, parked on the street by itself: it was incredible. Not something I’ll forget anytime soon. Only about 350 were ever made.