Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bookends - Jaguar XJ220

Around the mid-90s, a few years before I was even old enough to drive, a company called IMP started sending out free samples of a publication called Hot Cars (you may have received them, too). They were single-sheet glossy folders full of vivid pictures and mostly-accurate information about a random assortment of exotic and classic autos. Upon receiving the first 8-folder packet free, if you were so inclined, you could subscribe and get new folders every few weeks in the mail. I thought it was interesting that they covered cars available all over the world, not just the US. The first packet included the XJ220 folder. This was my entry into the car world - the free unsolicited info about the XJ220. And yes, I subscribed - I have 3 or 4 large binders full of these! haha...

Anyway, even when Show or Display was just a twinkle in Bill Gates' eye, I was enamored with the XJ220. It was the first 1/18 scale model I bought, which I still have. Against all the odds, I found out online that one XJ220 lived in Maryland in the late 90s, imported as a racecar around 1994. It was a road version that was bought new by a Maryland resident, stripped down to its bare essentials by Tom Walkinshaw of TWR/JaguarSport semi-fame, and brought over for off-road use only. Even better, it was on display in an exotic car dealership 30 minutes from my home (but not for sale, darn). Eventually my dad agreed to take me there to see it, a Jalpa, an Anniversary Countach, and some other 80s-90s fantasy cars that I had been drooling over. That was when I decided I wanted to be in the exotic car game, and I started buying and selling cool cars for profit.

Maybe 7-8 years later, I came to work at that dealership. The XJ220 was gone, but it hadn't gone far. It sat dusty on flat tires for years in an unassuming warehouse in South Baltimore, with the Countach, a Testarossa, a 959, an XJR-15, a Jensen Interceptor, and a Maserati Indy. The owner was a friend of the dealership and would buy a new car from us every now and then. Suddenly, the Jag was back and for sale, and I had to sell it. The car was parked outside my office door for months. We would occasionally fire it up and take it outside, but it wasn't street legal so we couldn't really drive it (not to say it was never taken on the road though...), and I didn't want to as the risks were too great. But what an amazing car. Too much to say really, but it took me back to my first experience reading about what four wheels could do. I had no idea where to price it, the market was starting to be very unstable around that time. We tried our best but 2008 was a bad year for the exotic car business (as you can imagine), and we closed down for good after 20 years in business. The XJ220 went home to it's warehouse, and I don't know what's become of it. Since then I've been moving away from the car biz, leaving XJ220 bookends on my automotive career.

I happened across this eBay ad this morning. It's not the same car, though it is the same color. The ad struck me in that it was written from the honest perspective of a realistic, no-BS exotic car broker, a guy I can relate to through my years at the dealership. It's also listed here on Anamera by a different broker, with a more detailed history. It's a beautiful, US-legal car at a very good price, $195k or best offer or trade. The eBay ad quotes a recent auction sale of a silver non-US car a few months ago for $148k - it might be the one I knew...

Sources: Hot Cars eBay Ad, my pictures, Jag eBay Ad, Jag Anamera Ad


  1. I've always wondered about those IMP sheets. Do you know if there is a list online that lists all of the cars featured?

  2. Not that I know of, there's very little information about them. They were made by International Masters Publishers AB. All I've really ever seen are on eBay when searching for brochures, these are often marketed as such. Some are priced at $10 or more each, even the ones that came in the free sample set like the XJ220. If they were really worth that I'd be sitting on a goldmine :)

  3. i may have seen the car you used to have in your shop, it was a silver xj220S modified by TWR. strange thing though, this was all the way across the country in california.

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