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The Jaguar XJ220 Was The World's Fastest Road Car Until The McLaren F1

And it costs an awful lot less today than the McLaren.

Before the McLaren F1 arrived, the Jaguar XJ220 was that car. That car meaning the world’s fastest street legal car. Yes, it was faster than the likes of the Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Diablo, with a top speed of more than 200 mph – and it didn’t even have a V12. Try a twin-turbo V6. The XJ220 was Jaguar’s way of telling the world back in the late 1980s and early 90s that it was still capable of building fast and sexy, but fate and a global recession nearly killed the program before it even got started.

The XJ220 was originally conceived back in the mid-80s. The prototype, however, was powered by a naturally aspirated V12. Progress was going fairly well until a global recession struck, an event which caused many automakers to stall or outright kill off so-called “image building” projects. Fortunately, Jaguar ended up being sold to Ford in 1990 and the XJ220 project managed to survive, but there were changes. The V12 was a goner, but that twin-turbo V6 still packed quite a punch, delivering a total of 542 hp 475 lb-ft of torque. It was faster to 60 mph than both the Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Diablo, and was more luxurious than the Porsche 959.

All told, only 281 XJ220s were produced, and this particular one, being offered by RM Auctions at its Monterey event next month at Pebble Beach, has had just one owner. There’s only 2,106 miles on the odometer. It received its last major service in 2012 and remains fully street legal for the US. An estimated price range wasn’t given, but based on previous and recent XJ220 US sales, this one could easily end up going for around $500,000. Photos courtesy of RM Auctions.

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