The Jaguar that became a Daewoo – The Emergency Lane

The Jaguar that became a Daewoo – The Emergency LaneItaldesign Project KensingtonItaldesign Project KensingtonItaldesign Project KensingtonItaldesign Project KensingtonItaldesign Project KensingtonItaldesign Project KensingtonItaldesign Project KensingtonItaldesign Project KensingtonDaewoo LeganzaDaewoo LeganzaDaewoo LeganzaDaewoo LeganzaDaewoo LeganzaDaewoo LeganzaDaewoo LeganzaDaewoo LeganzaDaewoo LeganzaDaewoo Leganza

In the early 1990s, design house Italdesign had had enough of the often conservative, classic look of sedans in the top segment and presented a study model with Jaguar badges during the Geneva motor show in 1990. According to the Italians, the luxury limo was thus ready for the nineties, which were dominated by round shapes. Jaguar didn’t like it, but years later a car manufacturer of a completely different caliber Giorgetto Giugiaro still pulled his jacket for the design.

The legendary draftsman Giorgetto Giugiaro crept behind the drawing board in 1990 with the aim of bringing a breath of fresh air into the top sedan segment. Under the name Project Kensington, his design house did not come up with a technically completely self-developed new model, after all, it was a design proposal. Italdesign based its latest project on the Jaguar XJ, but left the then current and less than four-year-old XJ40 generation of the Jaguar XJ because of the lack of a twelve-cylinder in that car at that time. Instead, the design house took the Series III-based XJ12 by the wayside to dump its classically sculpted body with one fluid motion in the trash. What remained was the foundation, and that was by no means a childish foundation to build upon.

Italdesign Project Kensington

Project (Jaguar) Kensington

Hidden Criticism

Project Kensington therefore benefited from the exact same 5.3 V12 as the donor car, but almost everything else changed. Except for the 2.87 meter long wheelbase, which was retained. Giugiaro molded a completely new body around the whole, packaging that was nothing like the XJ’s in any way. Italdesign’s technicians replaced the two longitudinal fuel tanks housed on either side in the rear of the XJ with one large one that was placed directly behind the back of the rear seat. According to the Italians, this resulted in a better weight distribution, although the main reason for adjusting the fuel tank(s) was the fact that Giugiaro wanted to shorten the rear of the car. Project Kensington got a much higher, but no less than 18.5 centimeters shorter buttock than the XJ. In addition, Italdesign increased the overhang at the front by 12.1 centimeters, which, together with the 2.5 centimeters higher roof, gave the car completely different proportions.

Italdesign Project Kensington

Project (Jaguar) Kensington

With its slippery windows, convex, round shapes and with a bit of fantasy BMW M3-style side mirrors, the Kensington exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1990 looked nothing like the classic English top sedan at first glance, although the chrome-colored grille and the shape of the taillights still for a link with Jag’s flagship. Jaguar seemed little charmed by the Kensington, which may have had to do with the hidden criticism that Italdesign made with the design study of Jaguar’s design policy. Although Italdesign puts forward the existence of the 5.3 V12 on its website as one of the reasons for choosing the XJ as a base, it also writes that it felt that Jaguar’s sedans did not keep up with the times in the same way as its competitors. the brand. ouch.

korean interest

The design of Italdesigns Project Kensington remained unsold on the shelves in Italy for several years, but around 1994 interest suddenly arose from an unexpected quarter. Daewoo approached Italdesign for the design of a successor to Espero, drawn by Bertone. After the necessary fine-tuning, Daewoo finally gave a blow to the design of the car that was still under development under code name V100 at that time under code name V100 and in 1997 it finally came on the market as Leganza. Particularly from the side, the similarities between the Kensington and the Leganza are evident, although Daewoo was forced to take the convex and much more cheerful front that sat on the Lanos also introduced in 1997 (and to a lesser extent on the Nubira) to its new European top sedan. to translate. Indeed, European, because in its home country of South Korea, Daewoo not only supplied the Arcadia, which was based on the Honda Legend, but also the top sedan Chairman with Mercedes technology.

Daewoo Leganza

Daewoo Leganza

Not the last

Technically, the Leganza was, of course, miles away from the Kensington and its XJ12 donor. The Leganza was a front-wheel drive sedan in a much lower segment than Italdesign had in mind for the Kensington, but the final result was certainly there in the mid-nineties. Daewoo sold 2,230 Leganzas in the Netherlands between 1997 and 2002, initially all with a 2.0, but in the last years of delivery with a 136 hp 2.2 four-cylinder. It certainly wouldn’t be the last time an Italdesign design proposal didn’t turn out as it was created for and was picked up by Daewoo. Thus the concept car, intended as a modern interpretation of the Fiat 500, but rejected by Fiat in 1992 as Fiat Cinquecento ID (and in 1993 as Fiat Lucciola) eventually ended up as the Daewoo Matiz. More on that another time!

– Thanks for information from

Recent Articles

Related Stories