Baby days of the Jaguar XJ220
1988 – Jaguar XJ220 concept model supercar makes it’s the first appearance to the broader audience. Equipped with top features including recently created Pirelli P Zero tyres. Nowadays, every car enthusiast is familiar with Pirelli P Zero model, but back in ’88, they were “fresh” in the market. They were initially produced to equip another supercar – Ferrari F40 just couple of years ago.
Saturday Club Car
Pre-debut of XJ220 model, Jaguar wasn’t known for supercars. Instead, their signature item was luxury saloon vehicles. That is why the XJ220 was given a nickname of “Saturday Club Car”. The story goes that a group of Jaguar engineers sacrificed their weekends to work on this car along with their day jobs.
XJ220 was based on purely racing supercar values and entering the mass production was not possible for this concept dream car.
Cutting Edge Features
This beautiful coupe included some of the most cutting-edge engineering solutions.
It was some time before McLaren F1 road car thought of it, the Jaguar XJ220 was first planned as a 3-seater. Unfortunately, due to production complexity, this idea was passed by. As an alternative, the “Saturday Club Car” came in two-seater capacity with a light aluminium body. V12 motor and the four-wheel drive were marked for the first concept model.
Fast forward to 1988 Birmingham Motor Show where this beautiful XJ220 become an instant crowd pleaser. It was love at first sight as pre-orders started coming in thousands, beating all the expectations. It was a massive success for Jaguar (and Pirelli with the new P Zero tyre), and soon it became clear that Jaguar will have to manufacture it.
At the time Jaguar’s central plant in Longbridge was running at maximum capacity, so the job was passed on to TWR racing team in Oxfordshire. TWR was too in charge of Jaguar’s racing programme.
TWR wasted no time with the project and immediately added their touch to the XJ220. First of all, the four-wheel drive was axed as it was too complicated and bulky. Instead, it was now a rear wheel drive. Additionally, extra boost came from two new turbos which joined the 3.5 litre V6 motor. Post improved engine was capable of producing 450 bhp. By then, Jaguar XJ220 became the fastest mass production car in the world.
During the summer of 1992, Martin Brundle (then F-1 driver) tested the XJ220 at the Nardo track in Italy. He managed to reach an incredible 349 km/h speed. It was just a bit short of targeted 354 km/h, but awe-inspiring performance.
Pirelli and Jaguar partnership
Last year, XJ220 celebrated its 25th birthday since the day-to-day production started in 1992. This car certainly aged well and is now a collector’s item. Pirelli joined the birthday celebrations and re-released its famous Pirelli P Zero range of tyre to fit the revolutionary coupe.
The Pirelli P Zero range tyres are unique, because of the classic look and advanced performance characteristics required for the XJ220 Jaguar. This tyre range belongs to Pirelli Collezione series. It is an exclusive ultra high-performance series of tyres which are tailored for classic luxury cars.
Each tyre carries “J” mark on the side of it, stating that each item manufactured for Jaguar especially. According to various motoring journalists, these tyres make the Jaguar XJ220 even more dynamic than the original one.
It is nice to see the history repeat itself as Pirelli P Zero is teaming up with Jaguar XJ220 once again.
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