Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars!
This week’s question: What production car did the Jaguar Kensington concept car eventually become?
If you think you know the answer, make the jump and see if you’re right!
A number of important roles are played by the concept car. They often serve as objet d’art for their maker, a bauble that drives enthusiasm for the brand and encourages sales of that brand’s lesser lights. Alternatively, they can prime the pump for future model—a thinly veiled show edition paving the way for acceptance of what might be viewed as a controversial design in production. The 1981 Ford Probe III is prime example of the latter, smoothing the way for the non-traditionally styled Sierra series.
Sometimes a show car comes not from a car maker itself, but from a design house that is perhaps seeking a commission from the car maker for a production design. That was the case with the 1990 Jaguar Kensington show car. Now, the name – Jag-u-war Ken-zhing-tun – sounds about as British as tweed coats and tea at 4, but the car itself was the brainchild of someplace far warmer and much more Latin, the Italian design house, ItalDesign.
The Kensington made its debut at the Geneva Auto Show as a static model, where enough interest was generated that the Giugiaro and company took the next step and constructed a running concept in time for the 1990 British International Auto Show. That car was based on an XJ12 platform and was positioned by ItalDesign as the ideal of a Jaguar executive sedan of the 1990s.
Keep in mind that Ford Motor Company had just purchased the controlling share in Jaguar in 1989 and at the time was far too busy trying to figure out what to make of the British company to worry about just what the next generation of design dialog might be. In the end, Ford decided it was better looking back than looking forward, and all of the Jaguar models that arrived under the American company’s tutelage harkened back to the designs of Jaguar’s glory days. Those cars – the XJ, XK, S- and X-type – all looked like Jags, they just looked like Jags of the past.
The Kensington however looked forward, albeit with nods to the marque’s heritage. With Jag not interested another company, also looking forward, decided its style was a perfect match for their new range-topper.
There is a reason the car seems vaguely familiar; ItalDesign would sell it to Daewoo later in the decade, reworking it for the compact to midsize Leganza sedan, which would make a very brief appearance in North America. The shape of the body and the rear fascia would be carried over with minimal changes to the much smaller Leganza, but front fascia would end up being significantly different.
I’m sure you’ve probably forgotten that Daewoo even existed, and I’m sure you’ve consigned the Leganza to the annals of “that was once a thing?” The Daewoo Motor Company arose during the wave of new Korean cars in the 1980s. Unlike Hyundai and, to a lesser extent, Kia however, Daewoo never overcame the Asian financial crisis in the mid-’90s.
After a misguided purchase of failing 4×4 and weird name haver SSangYong Motors Daewoo finally folded in 1999, selling off their assets to General Motors. The Kensington may not have been the Jaguar for the ’90s. but it was the Daewoo of the decade, which as it turned out, was sadly to be the company’s last.
Images: CarDesignNews, Cars.com