The 1980s are characterized by economic stagnation, followed by recovery and then strong growth of the economy. The stock exchange tripled in that decade. From the mid-1980s money was spend like flowing water. As a result of that, the prices of classic cars rose rapidly. But car enthusiasts also got the interested in new super sports cars. Potential customers surpassed each other to be able to buy such a car. Porsche presented the 959 in 1983, followed by Ferrari in 1987 with the F40. Bugatti was revived and Jaguar announced the XJ220.
To put the brand in the spotlight once again, the leadership of Jaguar wanted to develop a super sports car. The British wanted to compete with the Germans and the Italians. In 1988 a Jaguar presented a concept car at the British International Motor Show in Birmingham. It was a model fitted with a twelve cylinder engine with a capacity of 6.2 litre and four wheel drive. Even today, the organic aloy coachwork stills looks surprisingly modern.
1993 Jaguar XJ220, auctioned by RM Sotheby’s at 8 September 2014 for £165,200, photo RM Sotheby’s
In the previous years, rare classic cars, and particular those made by Ferrari and Bugatti, had risen sharply in price. This led to some people deciding to invest in new limited production sports cars with the expectation that these, just like the classic sports cars, would become more valuable after their acquisition. Jaguar announced in advance that a limited number of the new super car would be manufactured. This fed the speculation further. A year later, the factory announced that in England the price of the car would be 360.000 pounds (more than the Ferrari F40 and the Porsche 959 from a few years before). Jaguar would make at least 220 and at most 350 cars.
The Jaguar XJ220 was revealed in 1991 at the Tokyo Motor Show. The car resembled the earlier concept car, but was technically modified. At the same time Jaguar had increased the car’s price to £410.000. In addition, the factory had announced a new super car that was even more expensive, the Jaguar XJR-15. All this affected the demand. But at least as important was that meanwhile the economic environment had changed. The Jaguar appeared too late on the market.
The Japanese economy stagnated in 1990, followed a year later by those in other Western countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. In the course of 1990, the market for classic and modern sports cars went into decline. And even before the Jaguars were delivered to their owners, a number of buyers could no longer meet their obligations or wanted to cancel the purchase. In November 1990, so before the cars were delivered, several vehicles were offered for sale by private consumers. The declining interest for the XJ220 had consequences for the factory and buyers. Instead of the intended 350 cars, only 281 were eventually manufactured. The expectations for the price evolution were far too optimistic. Those who had bought the car as an investment were disappointed. Years later, cars that had hardly been driven at all were offered at auction for relatively low amounts.
Afterwards the lay-out of the Jaguar XJ220 was criticized (even the sound of the engine was criticized). Instead of having the twelve cylinder engine, the XJ220 had a six cylinder engine. And also the four wheel drive was eventually cancelled. But on the other hand, the V6 had a capacity of 542 HP, against the V12s 500 HP. The engine power was larger than that of the six cylinder Porsche 959 and the eight cylinder Ferrari F40. These cars had an output of 450 HP and 487 respectively. The Jaguar XJ220 was also the fastest production car in the world. The Jaguar reached 217 mph, the Ferrari 199 mph and the Porsche 195 mph. The engine of the Jaguar XJ220 was derived from a race engine designed by Cosworth for the 1986 MG Metro 6R4 Group B Rally car. The Jaguar proved it was fast and also reliable during the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1993. Here one of the three cars finished first in the new GT class. Afterwards the car was disqualified for failing to run with catalytic converters.
The Jaguar was expensive and offered a lot of quality and comfort. The car was equipped with a luxurious leather interior. It also had standard air conditioning and electric windows. Nevertheless, due to circumstances, the image of the car was damaged. While the Porsche 959 and the Ferrari F40 later were appreciated by enthusiasts and increased in value after the year 2000, in the value of the Jaguar came little movement upwards.
A factor – in addition to the availability of tires – that played a role is that both the Porsche 959 and the Ferrari F40 had been sold very successful. Ferrari even sold much more than originally intended. In addition both brands later introduced new, appealing and costly models, whereby they retained the attention of enthusiasts and collectors. Porsche developed faster (and more expensive) versions of the 911 Type 993, such as the Turbo S and the GT2, and later the Carrera GT and the 918 Spyder. The Ferrari F40 was followed up by equally exclusive models, such as the F50, the Enzo and the LaFerrari. At Jaguar it remained silent. Leaving the last super car of the British factory was sold not only in less numbers than expected in advance, but it also had no real successors. The result was that enthusiasts went to appreciate the Ferrari F40 the most, followed by the Porsche 959. The Jaguar XJ220 remained relatively little sought-after.
Starting from the year 2000 up to and including 2014 the developed the price of the XJ220 at auctions weak. Around 2000, the highest amount paid at auction was approximately £120.000. In 2014 RM Sotheby’s auctioned a XJ220 for £165.000. Until than this was the highest price achieved at auction – not including the XJ220 that had belonged to Sir Elton John and that was auctioned by Christie’s in May 2001 for nearly £235.000. In 2015 Bonhams sold a XJ220 at auction for £323.700, the highest result so far.
The price development and the level of the amounts of the Jaguar stand in contrast with those of the Porsche 959 and the Ferrari F40. Both models received the interest of enthusiasts far more earlier and also increased more in value. The highest auction result for both cars rose from approximately £210.000 in 2002 to £ 1.1 million in 2015. The difference in value between the Jaguar XJ220, on the one hand, and the Porsche 959 and the Ferrari F40 on the other hand, increased in the course of the years.
But let’s appreciate the Jaguar on the bases of the performance and production numbers. Then it turns out the Jaguar outperformed the Porsche 959 and the Ferrari F40. The Jaguar is also more rare. Jaguar made 281 cars. Porsche made in total 337 cars, including 37 prototypes and pre-production models. Most were made of the Ferrari F40. The Italian company made no less than 1.311 cars. Seen from this perspective, it seems the super car made by Jaguar is under appreciated. The current gab in the price between the XJ220 and the Porsche 959 and Ferrari F40 seems too large.
Published at the site of JBR Capital, 2-10-2017