Posts Tagged ‘silverstone auctions’

xj220

If you had met your mates for a drink in the local and told them you had just bought a car that could reach 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and could max out at 217 mph do you think they could guess the make and model? Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren etc would be the obvious candidates until you mentioned that it was built in 1992, and it’s a Jaguar XJ220.

The all-aluminium XJ220 was a car that made umpteen records and even by today’s hypercar standards the numbers still look impressive. A Nurburgring lap time of 7:46 set by the XJ220 was unbroken from 1992 until 2000 and the car’s twin-turbo V6 produced 540hp which in the early 90’s was akin to selling a Formula One racer to Joe Public. But it didn’t sell.

The story of the V12 proposed for the XJ220 being ditched in favour of the V6 at the eleventh hour is well-documented and for supercar-wannabes the smaller engine was a faux pas. The fact that it made the car actually go faster than originally intended was ignored by both prospective buyers and the press. Interesting that here we are today hearing about twin-turbo V6’s ultimately replacing traditional V12, V10 and V8 powerplants to save weight and become more fuel-efficient. The XJ220 could achieve 32 miles per gallon which made it the most economical car produced by Jaguar at the time. And still it didn’t sell.

So what really was behind the cancelled orders and the grand total of only 271 cars being produced? Simple – price.

When the XJ220 was launched in 1992 the list price in the UK was £470,000 including vat. That is over £100k more than you might spend on an Aventador SV today. The development costs crippled the project and nonetheless had to be recouped but buyers just couldn’t stomach the outlay. Great car but not at any price.

However, prices for XJ220’s have long-since hit rock-bottom and buying one for around £100,000 was something that occurred about 10 years ago. Now they are heading for £300k+ territory. The market has woken up to the fact that the XJ220 rightly deserves a place in the automotive history books and is a proper icon that moved the game on in its day.

The XJ220 is big and has presence. The styling is svelte and will draw crowds parked in a High Street even parked next to a LaFerrari. It is comfortable and very easy to drive (just avoid country lanes because it is wide, very wide). Most XJ220’s today have covered seriously low mileages and time is running out to buy at less than 1992 prices – the car is an absolute bargain.

We have spotted a 1994 Silverstone Green example with less than 3000 miles on the clock complete with what looks like great service history and provenance on sale in the Silverstone auction on the 27th/28th February here. The sales estimate is less than £300k so this could be a good opportunity for somebody looking to acquire a decent XJ220.

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In the meantime here is Jay Leno having his first encounter with an XJ220….

lamboc1

There are too many icons from the 1970’s but some will remain in our minds forever. Glam-rock, flares, tank-tops and the Lamborghini Countach are freeze-framed for eternity.

Any self-respecting petrol-head with a spare bedroom wall to hang the Athena posters on would have given centre-stage to the one featuring the Countach. The car was white and it was car-porn. Yours truly remembers it well.

Even better than having the poster was to one day see a Countach in the flesh and one day it happened, in Carnaby Street (or very near that at least). The car was red and matched the owner’s jacket. It attracted a large crowd and the sound ‘Wow’ was repeated constantly which roughly translated is what ‘Countach’ meant if you came from the Piedmont region in Italy. A visitor from Mars may just have well landed in front of us.

Today, the car is still likely to get the same reaction. Not because of its outrageous design but more so that it comes from the past. From around 40-odd years ago in fact. That is what boggles the mind these days. Park one next to a Pagani Huayra and see which car attracts the most attention. Have another look at the sharp, angular detailing of the design and then take a close look at the Aventador. The genes are obvious and the Countach set the blue-print for most Lamborghinis that followed it.

In its day the Countach was no slouch but by today’s hypercar standards a 0-60 mph time of slightly less than 6 seconds and a top speed of 160 mph seems a bit laid-back and more comparable to modern-day hot hatch performance figures. However, if road presence is a major factor then a Countach has it by the spade-full and not only did the car look sensational it sounded mental too.

A few decades ago nobody really gave a damn about how noisy your car was. Cherry-bomb exhausts and sawn-off silencers were high priorities for a spotty-faced adolescent looking to impress his mates in the pub car park. The louder the better so it went back then.

A Countach’s V12 woke up with a war-zone explosive sound that could vibrate the inside of your rib-cage. It was feral and primeval and made your neck-hairs stand upright. It was glorious and it attacked all of the senses. This is what made the Countach a hero of its day.

Today, the Jimi Hendrix of the car world is more likely to be found posing at a classic car event or sitting in an auction room as eye-candy for investment opportunists. It is likely that most owners of the few that were made have ever driven them, at least if they have then not very far. And who would want to anyway? On the UK’s congested roads and tight parking spaces the Countach would be a pig to navigate. The letter-box view from the cockpit and virtually no rearward vision would make for a very stressful driving experience let alone the recurring nightmare of damaging your very expensive purchase.

So how much would you have to pay for one today? Up until only a few years ago it was possible to buy one for well under £100k. Today you would need to spend at least double that for a decent example. It is strange that such an important car as the Countach would have arrived so late to the ‘appreciating classics’ scene but now it seems the sky is the limit depending on which model is up for sale. An early 70’s car with solid-gold provenance could probably write its own cheque.

Not many do come on the market but on the 26th – 28th February Silverstone Auctions will be featuring a rare right hand drive 1981 LP400S which was originally purchased by a certain Tim Dutton Woolley of Dutton Cars fame. The car appears to have a decent recorded history with plenty of paperwork to support the work carried out on the car over the years including various colour changes. The current-day Pearl Yellow finish suits this Countach and is a good match for the Oatmeal leather interior. Just look at those dinky 15″ Campagnolo wheels too!

Yep, still in love with the Countach so it seems that The Car Spy is about to make another poster purchase.

For more details of this Countach click here take a look at the information on the Silverstone Auction site

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