Jaguar XJ220. What an oddball piece of automotive history, sitting half-forgotten in that same niche as is occupied by two of the world’s undisputed greats; the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 959. The Jaguar was the fastest production car for 1992, and this was the machine that the mighty McLaren F1 had to beat to set it’s own, glory-defining, top-speed record. Aside from that one aspect of this car, it never reached anything near it’s intended potential and it remains less-loved today than any of it’s then-rivals. This means the diecast models also come cheaper, let’s take a look at a Maisto version today. Not just any Maisto, but the 1/12 scale Jaguar XJ220. 1/12 scale again!
Now, we all know the story of the Jaguar XJ220, but here are some bullet points of the downfall anyway:
- Jaguar promised a V12, 4WD, 6 speed car priced around £350,00, that would go (XJ)220 MPH.
- Jaguar delivered a V6 Twin-Turbo rear wheel drive car with a 5 speed priced closer to £500,000 that went (XJ)213 MPH.
- The economy went to shit, people tried to back out in whatever way they could, and of the 1500+ deposits that were taken, only 275 cars were made and delivered.
- Tom Walkinshaw racing (who raced the XJR cars with Jaguar) built the XJR-15 road car, which did feature the Le Mans V12 engine, almost simultaneously to the XJ220.
- Jaguar didn’t have the capacity and know-how to continue servicing the cars after a while, so they contracted Don Law Racing to perform the servicing on all remaining cars, which they do exclusively to this day.
- The cars that do show up for sale, which arent many, are much cheaper than their contemporary rivals; XJ220 VS F40 VS 959.
- Tail lights from an almost blasphemous source. (so, this is a personal nit-pick.)
As is the case with some notable examples of 1:1 cars with underwhelming sales or reputations, the diecast versions of the XJ220 are barely worth shipping costs nowadays, especially 1/18 Maistos, and chances are most of us that want one, have one. They just made so many, and they weren’t amazingly detailed or finished. I had a green one as a kid that up and disappeared over the years. I missed it so much that when I saw that someone I was buying a 1/18 ‘48 Chrysler from was selling one for around 10€, i promptly talked him down to 6€ for the Jaaaaag and bought both.
I then turned around and gave the never-opened, metallic green Maist0 1/18 Jaguar XJ220 to one of my cousins and he is absolutely besotted with it. My other cousin got a white Jaguar Mark II. He loves that one because all four doors open!
Enter the 1/12. In the same way I found the green 1/18 that my cousin now has, I was buying that Black TVR I posted a while back, and this was also available. For 8€. I didn’t even haggle for the Jag, the TVR was cheap enough and for 8€ it’s way cheaper than others out there. This was a few months ago.
It sat, waiting for me to get a decent display case again. and I only really took it out for this photo shoot and immediately noticed something.
This model has one major defect that time has helped show, and it is more and more common on these older large scale models: paint bubbles.
They’re localized to this area on the car, but the paint quality and finish on this model was never amazing to begin with, so I’m actually okay with it. I may leave it, I may strip the paint and respray it silver or something, or I may convert it to one of the ballistic XJ220S models. Is that too crazy?
Enough about that paint spot. That is the only ‘damaged’ area on the car, and I’m trying to increase the ratio of positivity to negativity in my life. Look! Hood struts!
Let’s have a look around the exterior of this massive, massive diecast car. Keep your eyes open for the horrible levels of orange peel in the paint. Typical early Maisto unfortunately.
I love the separate side marker light and key hole on the door, they look so accurate and so off all at the same time. I also have a thing with lights and key holes apparently.....
The rear mesh is very see-through, and while it is hard to see in there (there isn’t much there, actually, you get a nice peek every now and then. Nicely exposed A arms on the rear suspension too.
Cool gas-filler and engine intake on the side of the car, but the fit-and-finish at times is pretty, pretty, pretty
Huge flat wheels with appropriate dish sizes front and rear, nicely detailed tires that have some accurate lettering on them. However that is simple enough to produce and only correct to have on a scale this large.
That contentious 3.5 liter twin turbo V6. It was actually more powerful than the proposed v12, as well as being lighter and more economical with faster throttle-response.
It was also the replacement for the V12 in the Jaguar/TWR motorsports world. The outgoing XJR-9 race car used a V12 engine close to what was promised would be in the XJ220 road car. The XJR-10 and 11 race cars used the 3.5 V6 engine before it was placed in the XJ220, making it a Le Mans-proven motor after all.
For all their efforts to lighten the weight of the car and make it as track-able as possible, it is very strange that Jaguar then decided to make a heavy glass roof for the thing. Very cool to see the interior through it though!
The interior is surprisingly detailed for a model this old, and it is a highlight of this diecast.
Notice that the seats have seatbelt loops on both shoulders, as though they are one cast for both sides of the car. They are, but the 1:1 Jaguar XJ220 also has twin shoulder belt holes, presumably for mounting a racing harness. smart.
Okay, that last zoom was a little intense. Point being: the interior is a very detailed find in this budget-buy. I like the molded-in stitching on the dash, could you imagine what that would look like sized up to 1:1? Like stitching with a belt....
Under the hood you really only find the radiator and associated fans and piping. nothing too detailed here, and the lack of paint coverage under the hood bring up the lackluster factory paint job again.
Final conclusion? I’m happy I got this, in this scale, to display whenever I get a new case to keep these behemoths all safe and dust-free. It is nowhere near being an amazingly detailed model, but it is one of the only larger scale XJ220 out there and I love that car. For around the same cash as the 1/18 scale it has a nicer assortment of details which the smaller scale just can’t pull off. If you have the space for it and you can find one, then why not?!
I’ll keep you posted on what may happen to this particular one, if anything!
P.S. Check out all the other awesome articles and videos already done on the history and/or disaster and/or amazingness of the 1:1!
- Master Orlove’s Why The Legendary Jaguar XJ220 Was A Disappointment.
- Sir Petrány’s Here’s A Must See For All Jaguar XJ220 Lovers
- TaxTheRich’s Jaguar Joyride video
- Autocar.co.uk’s Hero Cars Jaguar XJ220 video
- Last but not least, /DRIVE’s amazing exposé on Don Law Racing video.
Seriously though, I’m done for the day!