Following the hugely successful 25th anniversary celebrations for Jaguar’s remarkable Jaguar XJ220 at last weekend’s record breaking Silverstone Classic, a special reunion is being organised for the men and women who hand-built these awesome machines.
Emboldened by the rave reviews, and a flood of deposit cheques from eager customers, after the original XJ220 Concept Car was unveiled at the Birmingham NEC Motor Show in October 1988, Jaguar granted approval for a limited production run of road cars.
A dedicated JaguarSport joint venture was set up with the company’s then competition partner, Tom Walkinshaw Racing, and soon afterwards a sparkling new XJ220 factory was opened by HRH The Princess of Wales in Bloxham near Banbury in Oxfordshire.
Customer sales started in June 1992 – hence the 25-year milestone – and the dramatically-styled, mid-engined, two-seater supercar was not only Jaguar’s fastest ever production car (an accolade it still holds today) but also the fastest production car on earth, officially clocked at a then peerless 212.3 mph.
Over the next two years, 271 of these stunning XJ220s were lovingly created at Bloxham – 41 of which gathered at the Silverstone Classic to mark the landmark anniversary.
Now more than 50 staff from Bloxham will be reunited on Saturday 12 August at Don Law Racing in Staffordshire. Don Law Racing is the world-renowned family-run organisation that has assumed global responsibility for the XJ220 having taken over the business from JaguarSport. Don Law (below middle right) and his son Justin were also the driving forces behind the standout Silverstone Classic showcase.
“Graham Cooling, who was JaguarSport’s senior buyer at Bloxham, approached me in the build-up to the Classic looking to arrange a private staff reunion,” explained Don Law. “With more than 20 of the XJ220s that they hand built in our workshops, it was clearly the perfect place to host such an evocative gathering. We are now looking forward to welcoming them all to DLR and continuing the XJ220 celebrations.”
In addition to members of the Bloxham senior management team and highly skilled staff, representatives from a number of the external companies that supplied original equipment for the XJ220 programme have also been invited to join in the celebrations at Don Law Racing. Among these are Premier Fuel Systems, AP Racing, Ricardo Transmissions, Bridgestone Tyres and TWR Race Engines.
Special guest invitees also include Jim Randle, Keith Helfet and Elizabeth Walkinshaw. As Engineering Director at Jaguar, Randle was the inspiration behind the XJ220, Helfet was responsible for its ageless styling while Walkinshaw is the widow of JaguarSport supremo Tom Walkinshaw.
“It’s going to be another wonderful occasion,” said Law. “In the meantime, I’d like to thank all those who helped us to make the incredible Silverstone Classic festivities so remarkable – it was a truly wonderful moment in our very special relationship with the XJ220. To have so many key figures joining the parade from the extraordinary car’s racing and road history was just fantastic. They included David Brabham, Tony Brooks, Keith Helfet, Alastair Macqueen, Tiff Needell, Richard Owen, Jim Randle, and Elizabeth Walkinshaw.”
Source. Silverstone Classic/Photos. The Editor/John Patterson