The decade was marked by increased demand for Jaguar cars. Sports victories on world tracks bring the company tangible dividends and sales growth, especially in the US market, and throughout the 80s the company continued to improve many models. After 8 years of development, the company is back at the forefront with the new JX40, but Sir William Lyons doesn't wait until he passes away in February 1985. After a long hiatus, Jaguar cars again win the Le-Mans in 1988 (and again in 1990), but at the end of the decade, for sustainable growth and further development of the company, its board comes to the conclusion that it is necessary to cooperate with car manufacturers world class. At the end of 1989, Jaguar Cars becomes the property of Ford Motor Company Ltd.
In 1982, Group 44 received the green light to develop and manufacture a sports racing car using the Jaguar V12 engine. The car was created for IMSA competitions in the States. The model was called the XJR-5 and was an aluminum honeycomb monocoque with a centrally located engine that acted as a stressed part to which the rear suspension clung. The final touch was eye-catching white and green stripes on the bright fiberglass body. The car finished first, debuting in a race at Road Atlanta, and won the same event in 1983. In 1983 and 1984, the Jaguar XJR-5 won several victories in the USA (Road Atlanta, Lime Rock, Mosport Park, Miami) and the decision was made exhibit it as an experiment in the 1984 24 Hours of Le Mans. The races were attended by two cars with pilots Claude Ballot-Lena/John Watson/Tony Adamovicz and Bob Tulius/Brian Redman/Doc Bundy, but both were forced to retire due to technical problems. The following year, 1985, JaguarXJR-5s driven by Bob Tulius/Chip Robinson/Claude Ballot-Lena were able to finish in 13th place (for the first time after a break of 20 years).
After returning to the UK, a new force appeared on the arena of competitions. Driver Tom Walkinshaw prepared the Jaguar XJ-S for racing in Australia in 1982 and planned to build a couple of cars for the European Touring Car Championship. The first season brought first and second place in the Tourist Trophy race at Silverstone. The following year, Jaguar scored five victories against BMW's six victories; the meaning of the numbers becomes clear if we mention that for every two Jaguars, five German cars were registered. The 1984 season proved to be a good one for Tom Walkinshaw's team, who added a third championship XJ-S to their collection. The team led the European Championship with a string of victories and Walkinshaw finished the season with the European title.
In February 1985, Sir William Lyons passed away quietly at his home, Wappenbury Hall in Leamington Spa, after seeing his beloved company regain independence the year before. The tribute to this man was truly boundless. For 50 years, he personified the Jaguar, and the role he played in the history of automobiles cannot be overestimated. Many remember him for being a shrewd businessman or an autocratic boss who called all his subordinates by name. Others will remember him for his frugality, and still others for his personal attention to detail. But mostly we remember him for his unique sense of design and style, and the way he incorporated a bit of character into every car he built. So when we see the Jaguar emblem on the trunk lid, we know - It's really Lyons' car. His wife Greta, Lady Lyons, whom he had married back in 1924, died the following year. They are both buried in the cemetery of St. John the Baptist next to their home.
Teams like Porsche and Lancia had a solid racing reputation, but British Formula 1 teams were world leaders in chassis design and Tony Southgate, a former Grand Prix designer, was hired to build the new XJR-6. At the time, Grand Prix cars used "ground effect" to "squeeze" the car into the road at high speeds, and this was put to good use in Southgate's design. The car was first tested in June - July 1985, and already in August 1985, at the first race in Canada, it took third place. Thanks to a contract with the manufacturer of Silk Cut cigarettes, in 1986 the TWR-Jaguar team entered the racing championships in Silk Cut colors. By this time, the V12 engine was upgraded, its volume was 6.5 liters (6496) and the power was increased to 690 hp.
Group 44 debuted the new XJR-7, with a redesigned body that featured stronger construction through the use of composite and honeycomb materials and the use of aluminum instead of steel, but the V12 engine and rear suspension remained unchanged. At the end of 1985 and in 1986, in front of their compatriots, the team managed to win two fourth and several second places, the team demonstrated such constancy again, taking second place in the manufacturer's championship. The TWR team had a great season, winning the 1000 km race at Silverstone and moving closer to the title of world champion. In total, under the auspices of Jaguar Cars, the Group44 team competed in 76 events over six seasons, including two at Le Mans, and made a total of 120 starts. It was a great result in itself, but unfortunately no championships were won and Bob Talius' hopes of another Le Mans run were dashed when Jaguar Cars redirected financial support to Tom Walkinshaw and his TWR team.
Work on the car has been going on since the late 70s. Jim Randle became in charge of engineering and developed a completely new suspension for the car. The prototypes were tested in extreme climates over a total distance of 5 million miles. Launched in Europe in the second half of 1986 and in the US in early 1987, the new XJ6 was met with widespread acclaim. Models were offered with the 3.6-litre AJ6 engine and a 2.9-litre version was also offered in Europe, and there were again queues waiting to purchase the car. The 3.6 had good ride quality and the new suspension provided excellent ride quality. It was possible to order a 5-speed manual or automatic transmission. The automatic transmission had the original "J-Gate" drive tuning knob - the brainchild of Jim Randle. The car received a completely new, redesigned interior with Connolly leather trim and inlaid precious wood inserts, while rear seat passengers received polished wood folding picnic tables, and a new automatic transmission rocker made it easy and quick to select speed for a livelier ride. . Three derivative models were offered - XJ6, Sovereign and, the best in the series, Daimler.
By 1987, the TWR XJR-6 had been extensively redesigned and renamed XJR-8. About 60 changes were made to the car, the engine size was increased to 7.0 liters (6995), and its power was 720 hp. Now the cars have become stiffer, lighter, more powerful and had more downforce to improve traction properties. The changes paid off as Jaguar won the first four rounds of the 1987 championship. The next round was Le Mans, and Southgate designed the hull specifically for the fast French circuit. Three XJR-8LMs, as they were called, were registered, but luck turned against them, a puncture and a cracked cylinder head knocked out two cars, and transmission problems delayed a third. The seventh round brought first and third place at the Brands Hatch races, and victory at the Nürburgring in Germany finally cemented the world championship for Jaguar cars, which won eight races out of ten this year.
In 1988, the index in the name of the car was changed again to Jaguar XJR-9, the car received an upgraded 7.0-liter V12 engine with an increased power of 750 hp. The IMSA cars were sponsored by Castrol, they were painted in elegant green, red and white and won the first event, the 24 Hours of Daytona - the season was off to a great start. At this time, the team started the world championship with second place behind Sauber Mercedes in the first run, followed by victories for team leaders Martin Brundle and Eddie Cheever at Yarama (Spain), Monza (Italy) and Silverstone (England). Porsche cars dominated Le Mans for several years. TWR-Jaguar came into opposition in 1988, registering at least five new XJR-9LMs. After 24 hours of hard racing XJR-9LM, driven by Lammers, Johnny Dumfries and Andy Wallace crossed the line, adding another victory to the five Jaguars won in the fifties. This moment was to be enjoyed. The remainder of the season was very successful, with Martin Brundle and Jaguar finishing respectively as Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championship winners by a substantial margin.
The XJR-10 did not have the famous V12 engine, but a 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 engine that developed 650 hp. The engine was equipped with an injection system, electronically controlled and equipped with two Garrett turbochargers. This light, high-revving engine was excellent for short-distance acceleration, and the TWR-Jaguar team had high hopes for it. The Jaguar XJR-10 debuted at the IMSA Championship on May 29 at Lime Rock. Jan Lammers came in second, just a second behind Team Nissan. In July, the Jaguar XJR-10 driven by Jan Lammers and Price Cobb took victory in Portland, defeating Team Nissan. The JaguarXJR-10 ultimately amassed 6 wins out of 26 positions in the extremely competitive IMSA GTP Championship. For a while, Jaguar cars competed in shorter distance races against cars with smaller, turbocharged engines. The advantage was that they could quickly develop turbo boost to increase power. Thus, TWR developed the XJR-10 for sprint racing, but continued to use the V12-powered XJR-12 for long-distance races such as Daytona and Le Mans.
By July 1989, the Jaguar XJR-11 was prepared for the Group "C" championship specification. The car was equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine with an electronically controlled injection system and equipped with two Garrett turbochargers, which developed 750 hp. Like the Jaguar XJR-10, it faced very strong competition, this time from the Sauber-Mercedes team with their cars equipped with powerful V8 engines - the "Silver Arrows". Jan Lammers and Patrick Tambay could only take sixth place. Reliability problems, due to engine problems, plagued the Jaguar XJR-11 for most of the year. The only victory for the Jaguar XJR-11, with the Bosch Motronic engine management system instead of that installed by Zytec, won at Silverstone on May 20, 1990.
After studying the experience of using V6 engines with turbochargers, TWR-Jaguar engineers came to the conclusion that this engine did not meet the reliability requirements for long races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in 1990 the old V12 engine was returned to compete in Le Mans. The car was named the Jaguar XJR-12 and again proved successful, winning the 1989 24 Hours of Daytona driven by Jones/Lammers/Wallace, followed by victories in Tampa, Portland and Del Mare. At the 24 Hours of Le-man on 16 and 17 June 1990, drivers Pryce Cobb/John Nielsen/Martin Brundle scored Jaguar's seventh and final Le Mans victory. In 1991, the Jaguar XJR- returned to Le Mans with a 7.4-liter V12 engine and 780 hp, it weighed exactly 1000 kg, as required by the new regulations, but could only take second and third place, losing to the Mazda team. After the rules changed again, Jaguar retired from the race.
On November 1, 1989, Ford Motor Corporation (FoMoCo) approached the board of Jaguar Cars Ltd. with a proposal which, after a lengthy discussion of the proposed terms, led to an agreement. This agreement recognized the integrity of the Jaguar brand and established that Jaguar should remain a separate legal entity with a self-sustaining capital structure and its own board of directors. On December 1, 1989, an extraordinary meeting of shareholders was held, which approved the recommendation of the board to accept Ford's offer. Seven days later, this decision became irrevocable, and Ford announced the closure of its offer on February 28, 1990, when Jaguar's delisting was filed. Ford's transition team spent three months preparing the Jaguar performance report, during which time appointments of Ford officials to the main board were made. By the end of March, Sir John Egan announced that he was leaving Jaguar, and although he immediately handed over the powers of chief executive, until the end of June 1990 he retained the position of non-executive chairman. William J. Hayden (CBE), who took over as Chief Executive in March, took over as Chairman and Chief Executive on 1 July 1990. Bill Hayden had extensive experience in the British automotive industry, where he held a number of very important positions. Commenting on his appointment, he said: "I believe in Jaguar, its products and its people. The level of skill, education and ability of the workers is higher than I have seen anywhere so far."