Quick – think of a mid-engine, production supercar from Jaguar. You pictured the XJ220, didn’t you? No surprises there. Although it was considered a commercial failure, the XJ220 remains the definitive mid-engine hyperspace sled for Jag. However, reach just a few years earlier, and you’ll find the wild and exotic XJR-15, a low-production mid-engine, V-12 supercar that has wasted away in the shadow of the XJ220. If you want to get better acquainted with this forgotten supercar, Classic Driver has a museum-quality one up for grabs.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Jaguar was riding high on its motorsports success. The British automaker enjoyed an overall win at the 1988 24 Hours of Le Mans with the famed XJR-9, and looked to cash-in on this revitalized prestige.
As the now-apocryphal story goes, XJR-9 builder and racing legend Tom Walkinshaw was approached by a number of wealthy enthusiasts seeking roadworthy versions of the XJR-9. Walkinshaw worked with XJR-9 (and McLaren F1) designer Peter Stevens to soften the XJR-9 for public consumption.
Power came from a 6.0-liter, naturally aspirated V-12, which put out 450 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Power was sent to the rear wheels through one of two manual transmissions, a synchromesh five-speed or a non-synchromesh six-speed. Thanks to its then-revolutionary carbon fiber construction, performance was spectacular by contemporary standards — 0-60 mph sprints took just 3.9 seconds, while top speed was a gear-limited 191 mph.
When new, the XJR-15 carried a monumental $960,000 price tag, around $100,000 more than the later McLaren F1 and equivalent to roughly $1.7 million when adjusted for 25 years of inflation. Just 53 of these were made and prices have remained comparably low, until recently.
Classic Driver’s XJR-15 is chassis 18 out of 53, and wears just 439 miles on the odometer. Considering the condition, rarity, performance, and cool factor, we’d consider the $750,000 asking price fair.
Head over to Classic Driver to check out this example of Jaguar’s forgotten supercar.