Coventry Transport Museum’s iconic pink Jaguar to take part in MotoFest

A Coventry-built Barbie Jaguar which inspired the popular doll’s iconic toy car will take part in MotoFest this year.

The pink Jaguar XJS will ride Coventry’s famous ring road as part of the motoring festival’s traditional sprint circuit parade. It will then be exhibited at Millennium Place near Coventry Transport Museum.

The news comes as movie fans await one of the most eagerly anticipated film adaptations in recent years; Greta Gerwig’s Barbie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling

So motoring fans attending the event will be able to pose for photos with a Coventry-built Barbie car at what is one of Coventry’s biggest annual events which attracts thousands upon thousands of people.

The Barbie Jag has a hugely fascinating history. It was specially prepared for the American toy manufacturing company Mattel as a prototype for Barbie’s very own car, part of a range of Barbie accessories. It was painted in bright pink and matched the doll’s lip colour and then used for promotion worldwide. 

However, it had a life before Barbie. It was originally used by Jaguar Cars to help launch the new XJS Convertible in 1990. It was then shipped to Bosnia to appear in a film directed by Michael Winner starring Omar Sharif.

But due to war in the region in the 1990s it became trapped in Bosnia. It was eventually returned to Jaguar but required considerable repair work. This led to it being ideal to be reused as the ‘Barbie car’.

It is a left-hand drive automatic, powered by a 5.3 litre V12 engine which makes it both fast and smooth to drive.

It was acquired by the Museum from Jaguar Daimler Heritage trust in 1999.

For those who also love toys, the museum has an example of the toy Barbie Jaguar, which can be seen in the neighbouring display case in ‘Behind the Scenes’ where the car is usually exhibited.

Marguerite Nugent, CV Life’s cultural director, said: “We’re very proud of all of our collection but the Barbie car is truly unique.

“So we’re really pleased to be working alongside MotoFest and to be able to not only take part in the ring road parade, but also to display some of star heritage vehicles at Millennium Place. Every vehicle has a story to tell and our staff and volunteers will be on hand to talk to visitors about the collection.

“It looks set to be a brilliant weekend which will have a bit of something for everyone to enjoy.”

James Noble, MotoFest Coventry Festival Director, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with CV Life to bring the iconic Barbie Car to the festival weekend.

“As well as its current role as the Barbie Car, the Jaguar XJS Convertible has a wonderful history. It was built in Coventry, played an integral role in the Jaguar launch in 1990 and now returns to the city over 30 years later to wow the public again.

“MotoFest Coventry is all about celebrating the city’s motoring heritage and the Jaguar XJS Convertible ‘Barbie Car’ is a fantastic demonstration of that sentiment and a wonderful addition to the ‘star cars’ in our programme.

“We would also like to thank CV Life for bringing the car to MotoFest and all the excellent supporting activities they are organising for visitors to enjoy across the festival weekend.”

For the weekend of MotoFest, entry to the Transport Museum will be free for everyone.

There will also be family activities in the museum on Saturday and Sunday, including junk modelling in our Future Tech gallery which will incorporate Motofest themes.

Meanwhile in Millennium Place, as well as vintage vehicles, there will be a host of activities and equipment to encourage free play and learning for families.

MotoFest will take place on the weekend of June 3 and 4. Find our more about the event at

Find out more about events  at Coventry Transport Museum at