Jaguar XJ220: Leaving A Big Cat To Die

Phil McGovern of Crank And Piston tells his story of a Jaguar XJ220 sadly left in the Qatari desert to die. —Ed.

I had heard through the grapevine about this car, however nothing could prepare me for the shock when the pictures landed in my inbox. The Jaguar XJ220 was the poster child of the 80/90's for me. It was the ultimate expression of the Supercar generation and I loved it!

I think growing up in a small collection of houses on the outskirts of Coventry may have helped...Within a stones throw of my parents house there were Jaguar Engineers and Marketing folk that were connected to, or influencing what was happening with projects such as the XJ220. I can still remember vividly meeting Martin Brundle on the Jaguar stand and then being shown around the XJ220 Concept car in 1988 at the Birmingham Motorshow. In fact I still even have the PR material and photography tucked away in a box gathering dust somewhere. Geek I know!

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Born from a skunk works group called "The Saturday Club" and lead by Jaguar's chief-engineer, Jim Randle, work began on what was planned to be the next step on from the monumentally sexy XJ13. From the early beginnings of this project the intention was to create a vehicle capable of exceeding 320 km/h (200 mph) and sure enough it did. 217mph around the bank of Nardo with Martin Brundle behind the wheel. Huge news back in the day believe me!

However, mix in a product offering that although did what it promised, was wildly different to the original proposition and a nasty financial recession the Big Cat struggled to gain traction. Customers/Investors where seen running away from their commitments and Jaguar were left holding the ball.

However it is nowhere near as sad as this story...Now I could tell you the believed owner of the car, however I would either get in trouble or maybe even disappear so you will have to suffice with some sketchy info and imagine the rest.

Jaguar XJ220: Leaving A Big Cat To Die


The car was last seen in Beirut six years after being sold to said customer by the Jaguar Dealer in Dubai. Looking stunning in its Le Mans Blue, good friend and the man behind the camera, Mick has a thing for these beasts too and keeps records of the 220's that he works on. When this one popped up in Qatar he initially believed it was a car that he hadn't seen before...that was until he swung the door open and immediately recognised the number...

So in 6 years it has gone from a stunning example to this...battered and looking very sorry for itself. If I told you it only has 900Kms on the clock it would hurt even more wouldn't it!?

We will hopefully keep you posted as and when we get more details...

Phil McGovern writes for Crank And Piston, highlighting the automotive culture heavily ingrained in the Middle East. This story first appeared on April 4th, 2010.

Photo credit: Mick Bramley