It is not surprising that Jaguar is the prestige car of choice for many of the successful stock brokers who trade on Wall Street. Heralded by the nouveau riche in Japan, the Jaguar with its elegant design, sumptuous luxury and exceptional refinement combine with remarkable handling and agility has deservedly, loyal admirers throughout the world.
Jaguar Cars Limited is a British luxury car manufacturer, with headquarters in Browns Lane, Coventry, England. It was founded as SS Cars Ltd in 1922 (Swallow Sidecar Company) and changed its name to Jaguar in 1945. The company was purchased by Ford Motor Company in 1990 for $2.6 billion. Jaguar also has an engineering division in Whitley, Coventry.
As stated above, Jaguar was originally founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922, by two motorcycle enthusiasts, 21 year old William Lyons and 30 year old William Walmsley. In the early 1920s William Lyons met fellow motorcycle enthusiasts William Walmsley, whose hobby was building sidecars for motorcycles. Lyons approached Walmsley, about setting up a joint effort to manufacture and sell sidecars. With financial assistance via their respective fathers, the two men procured a loan of 1,000 pounds from a local bank and established the Swallow Sidecar Company in Blackpool in a compact first and second floor building.
The now famous Jaguar name first appeared on a 2.5 litre saloon in 1935. This name was given to the entire company when SS Cars Ltd was renamed Jaguar Cars Ltd after World War II because of the unfavourable connotations of the initials "SS" (from their use by the Schutzstaffel in Nazi Germany).
The distinctive Jaguar badgeJaguar merged with the British Motor Corporation (BMC), the Austin-Morris combine, to form British Motor Holdings (BMH) in 1966. After merging with Leyland and Rover, the resultant company then became British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC) in 1968. Financial difficulties and the publication of the Ryder Report led to effective nationalisation in 1975 and the company became British Leyland Ltd (BL).
In 1984, Jaguar was floated off as a separate company on the stock market. It took the Vanden Plas name with it.
The company was originally located in Blackpool but moved to Coventry in 1928 to be at the heart of the British motor industry. Today, Jaguars are assembled at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham and Halewood in Liverpool. The historic Browns Lane plant closed as a vehicle assembly plant in 2005 leaving the XJ, XK and S-Type production at Castle Bromwich and the X-Type at Halewood.
Jaguar also owns the Daimler car company (not to be confused with Daimler-Benz), which it bought in 1960 from Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA). Since the late 1960s, Daimler has been a brand name for Jaguar's most luxurious saloons.
Jaguar Cars are 'by appointment' to HM The Queen and Prince Charles.
The Jaguar company started production with the pre-war 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 litre models which used engines designed by the Standard Motor Company. The 1.5 litre four-cylinder engine was still supplied by Standard but the two larger six-cylinder ones were made in house. These cars have become known unofficially as Mark IVs.
The first post war model was the 1948 Mark V available with either 2.5 or 3.5 litre engines and had a more streamlined appearance than pre-war models, but more important was the change to independent front suspension and hydraulic brakes.
The big breakthrough was the launch in 1948 of the XK120 sports car with the new XK twin overhead camshaft (DOHC) 3.5 litre hemi-head six-cylinder engine designed by William Heynes and Claude Bailey. This car had originally been intended as a short production model of about 200 vehicles as a test bed for the new engine until its intended home, the new Mark VII saloon, was ready. The XK120's reception was such production continued until 1954 and it was followed by the XK140, XK150, and E-Type, keeping Jaguar in the sports car market.
Introducing the large Mark VII saloon in 1951, a car especially conceived for the American market, Jaguar soon found itself overwhelmed with orders. The Mark VII and its successors gathered rave reviews from magazines such as Road & Track and The Motor. In 1956 a Mark VII won the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally.
The 1955 Mark 1 small saloon was the first monocoque (unibody) car from Jaguar and used a 2.4 litre short stroke version of the XK engine. In 1959, the car was improved with a larger engine and wider windows and became the Mark 2, one of the most recognizable Jaguar models ever produced. It would be popular with British police forces for its small size, light weight, and powerful engine.
The Mark VIII of 1956 and Mark IX of 1958 were essentially updates of the Mark VII but the Mark X of 1961 was a completely new design of large saloon with all round independent suspension and unibody construction.
The independent rear suspension from the Mark X was incorporated in the 1963 S-Type which closely resembled the Mark 2, and in 1967 the Mark 2 name was dropped when the small saloon became the 240/340 range. The 420 of 1966, also sold as the Daimler Sovereign, put a new front onto the S-type, although both cars continued in parallel until the S-Type was dropped in 1968. The Mark X became the 420G in 1966.
Of the more recent saloons, the most significant is the XJ (1968-present), still the definitive Jaguar saloon car for many. Since 1968 the Series I XJ has seen major changes in 1973 (to Series II), 1979 (Series III), 1986 [Europe] / 1987 [United States] (XJ40), 1995 (X300), 1997 (to the V-8 powered X308), 2003 (the present model, X350). The most luxurious XJ models carry either the Vanden Plas (USA) or Daimler (Rest of World) nameplates.
Jaguar E-type (1961-1975)
XK (X150) (2006 to present)
2.5 Litre (1935-1948)
3.5 Litre (1937-1948)
Mark IV (1945-1948)
Mark V (1949-1951)
Mark VII(M) (1950-1957)
Mark VIII (1957-1959)
Mark IX (1958-1961)
Mark X/420G (1961-1970)
XJ8 (1998 to present)
1.5 Litre (1935-1949)
Mark 1 (1955-1959)
Mark 2 (1959-1966)
S-type (1999 to present)
Jaguar has designed in-house four generations of engines.
Jaguar XK6 engine - inline-6
Jaguar V12 engine - V12
Jaguar AJ6 engine - inline-6
Jaguar AJ-V8 engine - V8
Jaguar AJ-V6 engine - V6
 Current Models
The current Jaguar line-up includes the following models:
2007 Jaguar Model Line-up:
Model US Type Price Range Notes
XJ full-size luxury sedan $64,250 - $116,000
S-Type luxury sport sedan $46,500 - $66,500 To be replaced by the Jaguar XF
X-Type near-luxury mid-size sedan and wagon $33,500 - $37,500
XK sports car/Coupe/Convertible $75,500 - $93,000
R-D6 - Compact four-seat coupe
XK-RR - A high-performance version of last generation XK coupe.
XK-RS - Another performace-spec version of last generation XK convertible.
Concept Eight - Super-lux version of the long-wheelbase model of the XJ.
R-Coupé - Luxury four-seater coupe, closest competitor being the Bentley Continental GT.
Sports car racing:
The company has had major success in sports car racing, particularly in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Victories came in 1951 and 1953 with the C-Type, then in 1955, 1956 and 1957 with the D-Type. The famous race was then left for many years, until in the mid-1980s Tom Walkinshaw's TWR team started designing and preparing Jaguar V12-engined sports prototypes for European sports car races. The team started winning regularly from 1987, and with increased factory backing the team won Le Mans in 1988 and 1990. Jaguar Sport:
Jaguar C-Type (1951-1953)
Jaguar D-Type (1954-1957)
Jaguar Lightweight E-Type