History of Jaguar Cars

Written by in October 05, 2011 at 06:43 AM Tags : , , ,

Pre-Jaguar Time: The Company Called Swallow Sidecar

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

On the 4th of September, 1922, there were 2 young motorbike aficionados in Blackpool, in England by the name of William Walmsley & William Lyons who joined hands to build a Company that they named the Swallow Sidecar to manufacture motorcycle sidecars. The Swallow Sidecar kept on making sidecars till the dawn of the WWII.

The year 1926 was when the company assembled the undersized Austin Seven, called the “people’s car”, somewhat a Spartan design. At the instant, this company altered the name and gave it a new identity- the Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding Co. They also shifted to a bigger manufacturing location. It was here that they assembled custom-made bodies for cars such as Fiat, Standard, Wolseley, Morris, and Swift.

SS1 was their 1st ever car, which the company based on the Standard 6-cylinder engine as well as a Standard chassis that was modified. This creation was launched in the year 1931 @ an exhibition in London.  Compared to the SS1, SS2 which was smaller had a 4-cylinder engine.

SS1 was much larger, longer, lower vehicle that had a short passenger’s section, luggage booth along with spare tire @ the rear & wire wheels. Its classy looks contradicted its exceptional monetary worth.

Jaguar Cars

The year 1933 saw yet another big change in the company. It became SS Cars Ltd. Now and Lyons became the managing director. It was three years later in 1936 that Lyons bought out his partner.

The 1st Jaguars

The year 1934 saw an addition to the company. Harry Weslake, considered as among the industry’s finest engine expert’s, joined SS Cars Ltd. The innovative cylinder head along with OHV valve collection by him was quite dependable.

Photo by exfordy

It was in 1935 that the name ‘Jaguar’ was made use of for the very 1st time.  Another change in the company the same year was William Heynes joining SS Cars Ltd. as the chief engineer.

The Co.’s manufacturing included convertibles, limousines, as well as sports cars that were fitted with engines – 2.5-litre, 1.5-litre, & 3.5-litre. The most distinguished automobile of the phase was an SS 100, 3.5-litre model. It was the most famous & the fastest pre-war model for Jaguar, with a speed of 100 mph in addition to acceleration from 0 – 60 mph in only about 10.5 seconds. The compression ratio of the engine was 17.5:1. What made the model amongst the most famed Jaguar were its racing success in Villa Real International events, Alpine Rally, the Marne Grand Prix of Reims, The Monte Carlo Rally, as well as the RAC Rally.

Throughout WWII, the manufacturing shifted in the direction of the battle effort, evidently. Subsequent to the war, once again the name of the company was altered to- Jaguar Cars Ltd.  & thereafter production recommenced.  The 1st Jaguars were created with the choice of a left-sided driving control!

The Jaguar XK

The year 1946, saw an addition where older models were updated. Furthermore, Lyons fabricated a fresh sports car, called the XK 120. Thos model was motivated by BMW 328 and had a 6-cylinder x two OHC engines that had a 3442 cc capacity.

Photo by Autoviva.com

Jaguar next introduced their fastest automobile till date, in the year 1948 @ the Earls Court Motor Show called XK 120 Roadster which had supposed top speeds of about 120 mph, an excellent styling, road holding.

Geneva Motor Show saw the launch of XK 120 Fixed Head Coupe in 1951. The tour car had an enhanced trim with veneered dashboard, plus wind-up windows in the door. XK 120 Drop head Coupe launched in the year 1953 with a completely-trim convertible hood.

Next came XK 140 in the year 1954 which incorporated large bumpers, rack-&-pinion steering, 190 hp, cast grilling, and extra chrome.  Furthermore, it had some room for a small child at the rear of the seat.

1957 saw Jaguar XK 150 that had a low snarl as the design for XK started looking somewhat outdated.

The Jaguar MK

Mid-50’s was when Jaguar reached a stage in its record of selling merely sports & luxury vehicles. Foreign markets were where a massive portion of their production was sold.

Jaguar was in a shaky position at this point since:

  • Any downturn could squash the demand for sports & luxury vehicles.
  • Any foreign government was capable of closing its markets to Jaguar and that too for no apparent reasons.

Photo by Bryn Pinzgauer

MK I Jaguar was launched @ a motor show in 1955 to reinforce a stronger spot as it intended to be sold to a much bigger market. This model was fabricated to fill in the Jaguar product gap to petition home markets.

MK II Jaguar progressed as the instantaneous success as it had a re-designed dash & a much superior glass area. The fitted leather seats became a standard but in 1967 they were made optional so the cost could be brought down.
Lyons became the Chief Executive as well as the Chairman in 1966. On July 11th, the same year, British Motor Corporation Ltd. & Jaguar Cars Ltd. Decided to merge.

In 1968, a Series 2, 4.2-liter was introduced, subsequently the ill-envisaged Series 3 V12 E-type in 1971.

Chaotic Times:

Photo by rustyheaps

BMC owned MG & Austin-Healey also, and became the British Motor Holdings in 1966. They fused with Leyland, in 1968, and became – British Leyland Motor Company. Majority Jaguars that were rolling out at the time were sedans such as XJ6, & Series 3 XKE. However Jaguar was still almost bankrupt, therefore in the year 1975, the Government took over under another name, the Leyland Cars. When this also didn’t work, Jaguar Rover Triumph finally split off.

The XJ40 Jaguar helped jaguar become solvent again after days of struggle. The company got privatized again in 1984. Lyons passed away in 1985.

Ford intervenes:

Photo by JonRB

The thought of loyally British Jaguar to have an overseas possessor was inconceivable—but the chief at Jaguar knew that the company wanted funds for newer models. In 1990, the Ford Motor Company came in with $2.56 billion. These funds were used to expand facilities & modernize everything to manufacture XK8 & XKR sports coupes. The XJ 220 archetype was brought into the markets in 1992. The V12 6.2-liter was reduced to a V6 3.5-liter, also this all-wheel model was exchanged for a more conservative rear-wheel drive.

The new Era:

The latest Jaguar lineup comprises the XF, XJ & XK. The year 2008 was when Jaguar was once again sold. In a smart twist on olden times, the Jaguar (together with Land Rover) now is held by Tata Motors.

One Response to “History of Jaguar Cars”

  1. Nico says:

    What a fantastic article. I’m a Classic Car lover, Importer and Exporter and the only classic car I own is a Jaguar. It was really nice to learn more about the history of the Jaguar Cars. Thanks for a well researched and informative post.

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