All cars start off as a small idea in a designer’s head. They’ll pitch the idea to the board and if they like, it’ll be funded, if not, it’ll be forgotten. In the past however, it was incredibly rare to get the necessary funding for a flagship car.
Jim Randle knew this issue all too well. Asking for £2 million or so to fund his project was out of the question so he instead asked for volunteers. At the beginning he managed to gather 12 helpers and a number of companies, they couldn’t work in business hours and they wouldn’t get paid. This team became known as the Saturday Club, despite most of their work being completed before and after the working day.
Towards the end of the project, the only board member who’d seen the car was Bob Dover. Two weeks before the British Motor Show Randle showed the car to John Egan, company chairman, who took just 30 minutes to decide to take the car to the show. 40 deposits were taken for the car during the exhibition, many more followed in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, the car was pitched with 4-wheel drive and a V12 engine. The car emerged from the production line with rear wheel drive and a V6 instead. This angered customers immensely and they asked for their deposits back; a large legal battle eschewed and the shine was taken from the XJ220. The production team were adamant that the car was better the way that they sold it and even with its smaller engine, it still set the record as world’s fastest car.
The change to engine was to try and compete with Porsche and Ferrari, at the British Motor Show when the Jaguar was unveiled, it completely outshone the Ferrari. Therefore, it had to be able to compete with it on the track to avoid embarrassment. Later in its life, a racing version was created and won the GT class of the Grand Touring Race. This win was scrutinised and they were eventually disqualified, upon appeal it was found that the car did comply to regulations but couldn’t be reinstated as the appeal was lodged too late.
Unfortunately, owning an XJ220 will be nothing more than a dream for many people. If you’re looking for a new car though, why not visit Crystal Motor Company for an affordable deal on a pre-owned car. Browse their website now or pop in for a test drive!