FOUNDED BY MOTOR ENTHUSIASTS FOR MOTOR ENTHUSIASTS
Comes a time in most petrolheads’ lives when they rather fancy owning a Jaaag. And why not? Sporting lineage, wonderful engines and beautifully balanced body sculpting, set in train by design genius Ian Callum.
The current range has clearly sought to capitalise on the surging demand for SUV and crossover platforms, with Jaguar’s offering comprised of the muscular father-son duo of F-Pace and E-Pace alongside the all-electric I-Pace. It was a smart move, because the F-Pace and E-Pace are Jaguar’s best-selling models to-date.
The Jaguar F-Type
Of the stunning F-Type, Auto Express wrote, back in 2016: “The F-Type looks dramatic enough to be a worthy modern incarnation of the show-stopping Jaguar E-Type.” You still can’t argue with that. Easily one of the best looking cars on the road today, and somehow improved still further with the 2021 styling update.
For sportscar fans considering Jaguar, the F-Type options are where you’re going to focus your attentions: you have the entry-level R-Dynamic, F-Type 75 and range-topping F-Type R 75, with a 5.0l supercharged V8. All are available in both coupe and cabriolet, and in rear-wheel and AWD for the two F-Type variants.
That’s not to say performance can’t be found elsewhere in the range. The XF and XE Performance options deliver a decent punch with the added practicality of seats in the back and a useful boot.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF Jaguar
The Jaguar name first appeared in 1935 as a model name for a 2.5l sports saloon, produced by SS Cars Limited. SS Cars had in turn, evolved from the Swallow Sidecard Company, founded in 1922 by Williams Lyons and Walmsley. Walmsley departed in the early 1930s and Lyons continued as SS Cars.
Lyons had financed the launch of SS Cars by selling shares to the public, and it was at the behest of these shareholders that the company name was changed, in 1945, to Jaguar Cars Limited. The timing is not surprising, coming at the end of WWII. William Lyons commented at the time: “Unlike SS, the name Jaguar is distinctive and cannot be connected or confused with any similar foreign name.”
Jaguar was immensely popular in the post-war era, making its name with rakish sport cars, such as the Jaguar XK120 in 1948, and XK140 in 1954 and, perhaps most famously, the E-Type in 1961. Throughout this period, Jaguar was heavily involved in motorsports around the world, intended to prove the quality of Jaguar engineering.
Jaguar’s involvement in motorsport has been both long-standing and varied. But the marque has really shined at Le Mans, first winning in 1951 and again in 1953. They did it again in 1955, ’56 and ’57. In 1982, Jaguar formed a successful partnership with Tom Walkinshaw’s TWR. Jaguar won the European Touring Car Championship in 1984 with a sports derivative of the XJ-S prepared by TWR. This car went on to win the Bathurst 1000 race the following year. Throughout the mid-1980s, TWR designed and prepared Jags for the World Sport Prototype Championship races, winning in 1987, and taking Le Mans again in 1988 and 1990.
More recently, Jaguar has focused its motorsport commitments to the Formula E series.
Style and substance. It’s worth noting that Lyon’s stated focus for Jaguar wasn’t ‘Sports, speed, excitement’ or ‘beauty, elegance, style’, but rather “Value for money”. However, this was evolved somewhat into their long-standing slogan “Grace, Space and Pace”. Lyon was determined that Jaguar’s success would come through world-class, beautifully designed and well-engineered sporty (but luxurious) saloons, rather than the rather more niche market for sports cars.
Critical to the success of Jaguar from 1948 or so, right into the 1990s, was the Jaguar-designed powerplant. Evolving from a twin-cam straight-six engine designed and developed during the war, designers Bill Heynes and Wally Hassan developed this unit with a Twin Overhead Cam, and was dubbed the ‘Twin, OHC XK Engine’. It was thereafter deployed, in various configurations, in the XK120, Mk VII Saloon, MkI and II Saloons and XK 140 and 150. Also, the E-Type and XJ6 Saloon right up until 1992. It was even used in vehicles for the British Army.
Up until 1965, Jaguar had relied on external suppliers to produce its body panels. For the most part, this was Pressed Steel Company (PSC). In 1965, PSC was bought by British Motor Corporation (BMC), the joint venture between Austin and Morris. BMC merged with Jaguar to form British Motor (Holdings). Concentrate now, because that’s far from where the story ends.
BMH was under pressure from the UK Government to merge with Leyland Motor Corporation, which produced Leyland buses and trucks, and from 1967, Rover vehicles. In 1968, British Leyland Motor Corporation was born. It was not a success. In fact, so much so, that British Leyland was effectively nationalised in 1975.
By now, British Leyland’s reputation was so poor that attracting more outside investment to dig it out of the hole it had gotten itself into was all but impossible. To save itself from being pulled down with the ship, Jaguar was floated off as a separate company on the stock market.
Sir John Egan took the reins in 1980 and delivered a new era of prosperity for the company, albeit following major layoffs, price increases and reliance on legacy platforms.
In 1990, Jaguar became part of Ford’s new Premier Automotive Group along with Aston Martin, Volvo Cars and, the following year, Land Rover. It was not a success.
Under Ford’s ownership, Jaguar never once made a profit. However, the Ford era did see the launch of the S- and X-types.
In 2007, Ford announced plans to sell Jaguar, along with Land Rover (under Ford, the two car brands shared a range of platforms and components, such as the X-Type and Land Rover Freelander 2). After much to-ing and fro-ing, Indian giant, Tata Motors acquired both car makers in 2008. Tata immediately established Jaguar Land Rover, ultimately giving the new entity full responsibility for design, manufacture and marketing of both Jaguar and Land Rover products.
In 1950, Jaguar leased the Daimler factory in Coventry from the UK Ministry of Supply. Jaguar went on to purchase The Daimler Company and moved to a new site in Folsehill a year later. From the late 1960s, Jaguar used the Daimler marque as a brand name for its most luxurious saloons. However, it should not be confused with Daimler-Benz – not related in any way.
The future of Jaguar
Jaguar was one of the very first major car brands to commit to electric drive trains, with the still successful i-Pace SUV, and continues its involvement with the Formula E championship.
In direct contrast to this forward-perspective, and in concert with Aston Martin, Jaguar is also reaching back into its heritage, with its ‘Classic’ division. Here you can spec and order your very own C-Type Continuation – a limited run of its iconic Le Mans racer. Similarly, you can also own one of the E-Type 60 collection, a limited collection of six matched pairs of E-Type Coupe and Convertibles.
So, the future? Two steps forward, one step back, perhaps?
- Harrison Ford
- George Harrison
- Frank Sinatra
- Simon Cowell
- Ranveer Singh
Jaguar Owners Club: https://jec.org.uk/