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One of the most extraordinary and beautiful cars ever to reach production, the world's first hypercar (hitting close to 220 mph while the McLaren F1 was still climbing off the drawing board) was vilified at its birth in 1992 for not having the 500 bhp V12 engine, four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, and scissor doors promised in the concept.
It was also critiqued for its size; although it was 'compact' in comparison to the super-sized concept car, the production variant stood at 2 meters wide and 5 meters long, which lead to questioning if it was even suitable for British roads. However, history has proved that it was no mistake that it ended up with an even more potent (542 bhp) twin-turbo V6 with Group B heritage, and it's lighter and more analogue rear wheel drive configuration and lack of electronics suite - which disappointed compared to the pioneering concept car back in the day, although ironically the approach would have garnered much more acceptance in the present era.
The brainchild of a collaboration between Jaguar's so-called 'Saturday Club' - a skunkworks group of engineers, including engineering chief Jim Randle, who would get together after hours to develop special projects, and Tom Walkinshaw's TWR Engineering.
The genesis of the XJ220 formed around Randle's idea to make a lightweight, mid-engine two-seat Jaguar, that would eclipse the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959. From the startling attention the concept car achieved in 1988, when almost 1,500 deposits were placed, only around 280 XJ220s were completed between 1992 and 1994 against a projected production run of 350. The motoring press loved it, but commercially the XJ220 was not the success that the F40 had been. It was also the recession of the early 1990s that can be attributed to the reason of the smaller production run that Jaguar has hoped to achieve.