Graham Warwick/DETROIT

Raytheon and luxury-car manufacturer Jaguar have signed a marketing agreement under which the company is to produce a special edition of its Beech King Air twin-turboprop.

The US manufacturer plans to produce a dozen Jaguar Special Edition King Air C90Bs in 1998. The first four have already been sold. The first example was unveiled on the Jaguar stand at the Detroit motor show in early January and was the first aircraft ever to be displayed at the show.

The special edition receives Jaguar design treatment inside and out, including Connolly leather seats and sidewalls, burl-walnut cabinetry and trim, use of Jaguar colours throughout the cabin and a special paint scheme incorporating the UK car-manufacturer's name and logo.

Jaguar and Raytheon believe that their customers share an interest in "elegance, handling, style and performance". The aircraft and cars will be displayed together at air and motor shows across the USA in a bid to stimulate sales of both. The Jaguar Special Edition costs $2.65 million, some $66,500 more than a standard C90B.

Raytheon says that the Jaguar tie-up is its first venture into "co-identification" with another product. It adds that the Jaguar design treatment could be applied to other Raytheon aircraft "at customer request". The company may be considering a similar link with US motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson on its Bonanza piston-single machines.

The C90B - the smallest of the King Airs - was selected for the Jaguar deal because it appeals to the owner-flown market most likely to be interested also in the UK manufacturer's luxury cars.

Blair Sullivan, manager for turboprop and piston marketing, says that hopes for the special edition are modest at first, but that production could be stepped up if it catches on. Some 45 C90Bs are expected to be produced in 1998.

Source: Flight International