Shelby McLaren Jaguar XJ220

Jaguar XJ220, Martin Brundle, Monaco Grand prix, Scalextric -

Shelby McLaren Jaguar XJ220

Whenever Shelby McLaren encounters a Jaguar XJ220 it immediately makes him think of three things; Pizza, sweat and Martin Brundle.

The day after the Monaco Grand Prix in 1992, Shelby was in a little pizzeria in Monaco and a voice from behind him told him to have the ‘Pizza Fruits De Mer’. That voice belonged to Martin Brundle, a driver he knew well. That seafood pizza left Shelby ill for days and as Martin felt so bad about it he told Shelby he was doing something special in a few weeks and to be available to go to Italy at short notice. 

A few weeks later Shelby was standing beside a Test track owned by Fiat in the south of Italy and Martin Brundle had just made his first pass in the newly built Jaguar XJ220. Shelby was sweating from the heat, either that or he was sweating from the intensity of the project at hand. In theory, he was there to see Martin Brundle reach 220mph in the Jaguar. 

The sound and sight of that lithesome cat thundering along those banked curves was like nothing Shelby had ever seen. Martin was fearless and was pushing the car to its limits, so much so, that the framework above the front fan covers was stretching and the panels had shifted, distorting those perfect lines that made the car so aerodynamic.

It was close but not quite, 217.1mph. It did break the record to become the fastest production car ever built up until that time and when taking the banking into effect it was certain that the car would have done 220mph. 

At almost 5 metres long and 2 metres wide the Jaguar XJ220 had a presence and a stance like no other. Very few cars have the ability to capture ones attention like the XJ220 and for Shelby it was no different. One man has really been responsible for keeping the XJ220 alive, Don Law in Staffordshire, and it his historic contribution to the XJ220 story that is recreated here at Goodwood.

It probably took no time at all for Scalextric to realise that the XJ220 would be perfect as a slot car and so released the first cars in 1993. The Jaguar Challenge set (C707) was produced for 4 years and was immensely popular. The individual cars were initially released in blue (C290) and silver (C257) and in the following years in a multitude of options like, green (C483), maroon (C230), red (C2064), gold (C2083), and white (C2013). The XJ220 would go on to be an enduring standard within the Scalextric range and a favourite the world over. There is also the crystal cars, the Promocars, the Anniversary Editions, the Jaguar Club cars, the NSCC car and of course the moulds and pre-approval cars. It could almost be the longest running car to be officially released having first appeared in 1993 and the last car, albeit Spanish, being released in 2017, 24 years?


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