The mysterious case of the missing red prototype?

I was reminded yesterday of a case from about 15 years ago where a red XJ220 prototype was stolen in the UK and attempted to be exported to the US as a “modified XJS”. As the story went the owner of the XJ220 was the son of a Jaguar director and had been “racing the car in China”. A customs officer noticed that something was wrong and the export was stopped.

This is all going by memory, but I’d love to know what the story really was, and how it all ended up. Does anyone know?

Clearly it was this one! Before the wildest cat was tamed: driving a rare Jaguar XJ220 prototype | Classic & Sports Car

Hassan negotiated the purchase of two XJ220s from Jaguar, a production-spec car that had come a cropper during a demo at Goodwood, and Prototype 002. Both would be reconfigured for racing.

Relations between the partners soon broke down, however, with Lloyd distancing himself from the project almost immediately. Sponsorship wasn’t forthcoming so the team was disbanded, with the damaged Jaguar being broken for spares while 002 was put into storage.

The story then went quiet until Hassan was tipped off that the prototype was on its way to a new life in the USA. He contacted the police, who tracked it down to a warehouse near Heathrow. The car was intact, but somewhere along the line it had gained an XJ-S VIN plate!

Following extensive legal wrangling, with Jim Randle and Robert Loades of Abbey Panels confirming the car’s identity and provenance, the car was sold with a clear title.