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One of the most extraordinary and beautiful cars ever to reach production, the world's first hypercar (hitting close to 220mph while the McLaren F1 was still climbing off the drawing board) was vilified at its birth in 1992 for not having the 500bhp V12 engine, four-wheel drive and scissor doors promised in the concept and, at nearly 7ft wide, being too big for British roads. â€¨That it ended up with an even more potent (542bhp) twin-turbo V6 and lighter, rear-drive powertrain didn't cut much ice back then, though ironically the approach would have garnered more acceptance now.
The child of a collaboration between Jaguar's so-called 'Saturday Club' - an informal group of engineers, including engineering chief Jim Randle, who'd get together after hours to develop pet projects - and Tom Walkinshaw's TWR Engineering, the genesis of the XJ220 formed around Randle's idea to make a lightweight, mid-engined two-seat Jaguar that would eclipse the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959. In the event, only 281 XJ220s were made 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.