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Scientists at lubricants company rescue famous Jaguar XJ220 supercar

Scientists at Britain’s leading independent lubricants specialist came to the rescue when the iconic Jaguar XJ220 supercar was in danger of being mothballed.


Experts at Shrewsbury-based Morris Lubricants were called in to answer an SOS from Jaguar XJ220 guru, Don Law, who was running out of specialist transmission oil needed to keep the supercars running.


During vehicle production, JaguarSport commissioned a one off batch of a specific lubricant in conjunction with transmission designer, Ricardo. “JaguarSport had concerns over transmission crown wheel and pinion life during early testing,” explained Don, who owns Jaguar XJ220 specialist Don Law Racing in Newcastle-under-Lyme.


“There was no lubricant on the market in 1991 that could withstand the extreme pressures required for the crown wheel and pinion to survive whilst maintaining the integrity of the unique triple syncromesh design.”


In 2008, stock of the transmission oil was rapidly running out, so Don approached the original supplier and was given the bad news that it could no longer be made due to the high cost and small batch situation.


That’s when he turned to Morris Lubricants’ managing director Andrew Goddard for help

Having had a 40-year association with Morris Lubricants, he put his faith in the company to find a solution.


As the final stocks of the old transmission oil ran out, a new batch was produced by Morris Lubricants, using the original specification and Don is delighted with the result.


Last week, he paid a visit to the company’s Shrewsbury headquarters to meet the scientist who devised the new lubricant, which has just been rebranded Don Law XJ220 Specialised Transaxle Gear Oil.


Following detailed research of the engine and analysis of the original lubricant, Morris Lubricants’ automotive products manager Adrian Hill devised a modern alternative.


“As the Jaguar XJ220 is an expensive car, the challenge was to get it right first time,” he said. “Being able to call upon our knowledge of alternative transmission systems in racing conditions certainly helped.


“Having understood the system and the environment in which high performance motorsport flagship lubricants perform, we were able to confidently piece together a product that would do the job.


“Our lubricant encapsulates modern additive chemistry and base oil technology to provide a product which is superior in certain aspects to the original. Without this lubricant, these cars would be at risk of gearbox failure.


“There is a high degree of satisfaction attached to devising this lubricant because it was a specialised project with a lot of importance hinging on it. It was in effect make or break for the XJ220.”


The new oil carries a blue dye, at Don’s request, to identify it from the original red dye, which had led to confusion with other transmission lubricants that were the same colour. “We have seen several crown wheel and pinion failures in recent years and in each case the oil has been suspect, noted by the incorrect colour,” explained Don.


“Isn’t it amazing that the only component in that wonderful supercar that we are struggling to produce was that lubricant. Thanks to Morris Lubricants the XJ220 legend lives on. Without this oil, 281 of these beautiful cars would now be off the road.”


Don bought the XJ220 business from Jaguar and now supplies parts for the car and the oil to owners literally all around the world, with the majority in the USA, Russia, Middle East and Far East.


He’s a huge fan of Morris Lubricants’ products, having seen them in various settings since working on a farm part-time at the age of 14.

“Since I started the business in 1986, every vehicle I have serviced or repaired has had Morris Lubricants in it,” he said. “I am very patriotic and loyal to my suppliers and I have a great affinity with Morris Lubricants, which is a fascinating company.”

The new oil is available exclusively from


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