1998 Jaguar XK 180 Concept Car Paris Motor Show October 1998

The XK 180 was revealed to the public at the Paris Motor Show in October 1998, after an incredibly short gestation period of only ten months.  The event happily coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the XK 120, the first of the classic generation of XK sports cars, which were the inspiration for the XK 180 concept.  The car was created in Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) workshop.

Unlike many other motor show concept cars, the XK 180 was a fully operational vehicle.  It was based on a shortened XKR platform, and featured the supercharged 4-litre V8 engine developing 450bhp, together with an automatic gearbox, but with steering-wheel mounted push buttons for sequential gear changes.  The all-aluminium body was made by Abbey Panels, a long-standing Jaguar supplier which had made the C- and D-type bodies in the 1950s, as well as the XJ13 and the XJ220.  In fact, two XK 180 cars were built, the other a left-hand drive car, which is based in the USA.

The body styling was developed under the direction of Keith Helfet, the senior Jaguar designer whose previous work included the XJ220.  Helfet designed the XK 180 to be a modern interpretation of the classic Jaguar themes seen in the Le Mans winning D-type of the 1950s, and the E-type of the 1960s.  However, the XK 180 was at the same time a completely modern design, intended as a showcase of Jaguar technology for the new millennium, showing the direction for sporting variants of Jaguar products.

The XK 180 was given an enthusiastic reception, as it was seen as an indication that Jaguar might at a future date bring back a compact sports car, as a latter-day successor to the classic XK and E-type models.

Owner: The Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust

Inventory Number: 123/J.72