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Why is Jaguar more than a car manufacturer?Thursday 19 November 2015
Driving the nice car is the same as living in the well-designed mansion. Having a Jaguar car means to be provided with the advanced service, comfort, feeling of safety and much more other benefits. CovetED Magazine suggests to see the whole history of Jaguar growth.
Jaguar Cars is a brand of Jaguar Land Rover, a British multinational car manufacturer headquartered in Whitley, Coventry, England, owned by the Indian company Tata Motors since 2008.
Jaguar’s business was founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922, originally making motorcycle sidecars before developing bodies for passenger cars. Under the ownership of S. S. Cars Limited the business extended to complete cars. The name S. S. Cars was changed to “Jaguar” in 1945. A merger with the British Motor Corporation followed in 1966, the resulting enlarged company now being renamed as British Motor Holdings (BMH), which in 1968 merged with Leyland Motor Corporation and became British Leyland, itself to be nationalised in 1975.
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Jaguar was de-merged from British Leyland and was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1984, becoming a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index until it was acquired by Ford in 1990. Jaguar has, in recent years, manufactured cars for the British Prime Minister, the most recent delivery being an XJ in May 2010. The company also holds royal warrants from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.
Jaguar cars today are designed in Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering centres at the Whitley plant in Coventry and at their Gaydon site in Warwickshire, and are manufactured in Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich assembly plant inBirmingham with some manufacturing expected to take place in the Solihull plant.
In September 2013 Jaguar Land Rover announced plans to open a 100 million GBP (160 million USD) research and development centre in the University of Warwick, Coventry to create a new generation of vehicle technologies. The carmaker said around 1,000 academics and engineers would work there and that construction would start in 2014.
The Swallow Sidecar Company was founded in 1922 by two motorcycle enthusiasts, William Lyons and William Walmsley. In 1934 Walmsley elected to sell-out and Lyons formed S. S. Cars Limited funding the replacement of Walmsley’s investment by issuing shares to the public. The SS Jaguar name first appeared in September 1935 on a 2.5-litre saloon, sports models of which were the SS 90 and SS 100.
On 23 March 1945 the S. S. Cars shareholders in general meeting agreed to change the company’s name to Jaguar Cars Limited. Said Chairman William Lyons “Unlike S. S. the name Jaguar is distinctive and cannot be connected or confused with any similar foreign name.”
Though five years of pent-up demand ensured plenty of buyers production was hampered by shortage of materials, particularly steel, issued to manufacturers until the 1950s by a central planning authority under strict government control. Jaguar sold Motor Panels, a pressed steel body manufacturing company bought in the late 1930s, to steel and components manufacturer Rubery Owen, and Jaguar bought from John Black’s Standard Motor Company the plant where Standard built Jaguar’s six-cylinder engines. From this time Jaguar was entirely dependent for their bodies on external suppliers, in particular then independent Pressed Steel and in 1966 that carried them into BMC, BMH and British Leyland.
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Jaguar made its name by producing a series of successful eye-catching sports cars, the Jaguar XK120 (1948–54), Jaguar XK140 (1954-7), Jaguar XK150 (1957–61), and Jaguar E-Type (1961-75), all embodying Lyons’ mantra of “value for money”. The sports cars were successful in international motorsport, a path followed in the 1950s to prove the engineering integrity of the company’s products.
Jaguar’s sales slogan for years was “Grace, Space, Pace”, a mantra epitomised by the record sales achieved by the MK VII, IX, Mks I and II saloons and later the XJ6. During the time this slogan was used, but the exact text varied.
The core of Bill Lyons’ success following WWII was the twin-cam straight six engine, conceived pre-war and realised while engineers at the Coventry plant were dividing their time between fire-watching and designing the new power plant. It had a hemispherical cross-flow cylinder head with valves inclined from the vertical; originally at 30 degrees (inlet) and 45 degrees (exhaust) and later standardised to 45 degrees for both inlet and exhaust.
As fuel octane ratings were relatively low from 1948 onwards, three piston configuration were offered: domed (high octane), flat (medium octane), and dished (low octane).
The main designer, William “Bill” Heynes, assisted by Walter “Wally” Hassan, was determined to develop the Twin OHC unit. Bill Lyons agreed over misgivings from Hassan. It was risky to take what had previously been considered a racing or low-volume and cantankerous engine needing constant fettling and apply it to reasonable volume production saloon cars.
The subsequent engine (in various versions) was the mainstay powerplant of Jaguar, used in the XK 120, Mk VII Saloon, Mk I and II Saloons and XK 140 and 150. It was also employed in the E Type, itself a development from the race winning and Le Mans conquering C and D Type Sports Racing cars refined as the short-lived XKSS, a road-legal D-Type.
Few engine types have demonstrated such ubiquity and longevity: Jaguar used the Twin OHC XK Engine, as it came to be known, in the Jaguar XJ6 saloon from 1969 through 1992, and employed in a J60 variant as the power plant in such diverse vehicles as the British Army’s Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) family of vehicles, as well as the Fox armoured reconnaissance vehicle, the Ferret Scout Car, and the Stonefield four-wheel-drive all-terrain lorry. Properly maintained, the standard production XK Engine would achieve 200,000 miles of useful life.
Two of the proudest moments in Jaguar’s long history in motor sport involved winning the Le Mans 24 hours race, firstly in 1951 and again in 1953. Victory at the 1955 Le Mans was overshadowed by it being the occasion of the worst motorsport accident in history. Later in the hands of the Scottish racing team Ecurie Ecosse two more wins were added in 1956 and 1957.
In spite of such a performance orientation, it was always Lyons’ intention to build the business by producing world-class sporting saloons in larger numbers than the sports car market could support. Jaguar secured financial stability and a reputation for excellence with a series of elegantly styled luxury saloons that included the 3 litre and 3½ litre cars, the Mark VII, VIII, and IX, the compact Mark I and 2, and the XJ6 and XJ12. All were deemed very good values, with comfortable rides, good handling, high performance, and great style.
Combined with the trend-setting XK 120, XK 140, and XK 150 series of sports car, and nonpareil E-Type, Jaguar’s elan as a prestige motorcar manufacturer had few rivals. The company’s post-War achievements are remarkable, considering both the shortages that drove Britain (the Ministry of Supply still allocated raw materials) and the state of metallurgical development of the era.
In 1950, Jaguar agreed to lease from the Ministry of Supply the Daimler Shadow 2 factory in Browns Lane, Allesley, Coventry, which at the time was being used by The Daimler Company Limited and moved to the new site from Foleshill over the next 12 months. Jaguar purchased Daimler — not to be confused with Daimler-Benz or Daimler AG—in 1960 from BSA. From the late 1960s, Jaguar used the Daimler marque as a brand name for their most luxurious saloons.