Jaguar is a famous British luxury car manufacturer. Its name speaks for itself. Jaguar is the fastest land animal after cheetah and the biggest cat predator of the New World; in addition, the jaguar is the third biggest cat in the world after the tiger and the lion and it is well known for its immense power and agility. It would be hard to think of a better name for the automobile, which combines luxuriousness with high performance. In fact, Jaguar is one of the most recognizable brands in the automotive world. It is widely known as a marque of choice for celebrities, millionaires and politicians. In addition, like many other noteworthy vehicle manufacturers, Jaguar not only makes amusing cars but also has an amusing history. Here are some twenty interesting facts about the famous British company.
1. In 1922, two motorcycle enthusiasts William Walmsley and William Lyons founded the Swallow Sidecar Company. As you may have guessed from its name, the new enterprise started its business as a manufacturer of motorcycle sidecars. It is not a rare case in the history of the automotive industry that a small company that had nothing to do with automobiles later became one of the best vehicle makers. However, when it comes to Jaguar, the British company made rather a smooth transition from motorcycle equipment and coachbuilding to car manufacturing.
2. In 1926, the company changed its name to S. S. Cars Ltd. The business branched out into coachbuilding in addition to making stylish sidecars for motorcycles. During the late 1920s, William Lyons found a partner in John Blake from Standard Motor Company. Together they developed the SS 1, a 2-seater sports saloon, which was officially presented at the London Motor Show in 1929.
3. The public warmly received SS 1. This success encouraged the company to develop new vehicles. In 1935, S. S. Cars Ltd came with the next model, a two-seater sports car called SS 90. It received its name because of its claimed 90 mph (140 km/h) top speed. Only a year later, in 1936, the British company released the famous SS 100, a roadster that was heavily based on the SS 90. The SS 100 is widely considered one of the most aesthetically pleasing Jaguar cars. With only 314 vehicles built it is also one of the rarest. In addition, motorists and car enthusiasts all from over the world praise the car, as the first real Jaguar. The latest S. S. Cars Ltd vehicle featured a distinct jaguar mascot, mounted on the radiator cap. It is this stylish “leaper” that became the basis for subsequent mascots and the trade mark for Jaguar Cars Ltd that has been used to the present day.
4. During the Second World War, the entire British industry was made to work exclusively for the needs of the army, and S. S. Cars Ltd was no exception. Moreover, after the war, the company had no choice, but to change its name, since the name SS was then odious and associated with the Nazism. Therefore, the company’s management made a wise choice to change its name to Jaguar Cars Limited. William Lyons, the Chairman of the company stated that: “Unlike S.S. the name Jaguar is distinctive and cannot be connected or confused with any similar foreign name.”
5. During the post-war years, from 1945 to 1949, the Jaguar Mark IV became the company’s new flagship model. It was a range of automobiles that was heavily based on models produced by SS Cars from 1935 to 1940. The nameplate Jaguar Mark IV was applied to a range of saloons with an engine capacity of 1.5 to 3.5 litres. However, the real breakthrough for the company was made with an introduction of the Jaguar XK120. Released in 1948, this sports car was the fastest serial automobile in the world.
6. In 1950, Jaguar started to cooperate with Daimler Motor Company (not to be confused with Daimler-Benz), another British automaker, which produced cars similar to that of Jaguar. In 1960, Daimler became a part of Jaguar. In 1960, two famous companies merged.
7. Starting from the 1950s, Jaguar substantially increased its involvement in motorsports. The British car manufacturer set a goal to win the famous race of endurance and efficiency, 24 Hours of Le Mans. This goal was reached in 1951 thanks to supreme speed and reliability of the Jaguar XK-120C. Then, Jaguar C-type became one of the most successful racing cars, winning thirty-seven titles in various motorsports competitions. In 1955, the British company once again triumphed in Le Mans with the Jaguar D-Type. This glorious victory was widely celebrated by the British public and William Lyons was made into a knight.
8. In 1960, Jaguar started to offer its products to American customers. The XK150 and the Jaguar XK150 Roadster were the first two models to be introduced to the United States market.
9. Jaguar Cars Ltd manufactured the Jaguar E-Type, or the Jaguar XK-E as it was known in the North American market, between 1961 and 1975. The British sports car became one of the most prominent automobile models of all times. Its combination of beauty, high performance and competitive pricing established the Jaguar E-Type as an icon of the motoring world.
10. In 1968, the Jaguar Cars Ltd launched the legendary XJ series. This full-sized luxury car was the last model designed by the company’s founder Sir William Lyons. Since 1970, Jaguar XJ has been company’s flagship model; over the course of twenty-four years, the British automaker sold more than 400,000 of them.
11. It’s time to touch on a turbulent period in Jaguars’ history. Since 1984, the Government of Margaret Thatcher provided to Jaguar Cars protection from absorption by foreign companies by retaining a “golden share” of fifty percent in Jaguar Cars Ltd. However, in 1990, this measure was lifted, which started a bidding war between General Motors and Ford, as the Americans considered the Jaguar marque a trophy of almost incalculable worth.
12. Eventually, Ford bought Jaguar Cars Ltd in 1990. However, the famous American company failed to unleash the power of Jaguar. Sadly, Jaguar division was never a profitable enterprise under the Ford management. Therefore, on January 1, 2008, Ford sold its shares in Jaguar to the Indian automobile company Tata Motors.
13. This is not a very well-known fact, but Jaguar was involved in Formula 1 races from 2000, until the end of 2004. However, even the most devoted Jaguar fans hardly ever brag about exploits of Jaguar F1 team since its highest achievement was the modest seventh place in Grands Prix.
14. In 1968, the British company introduced the Jaguar XJ6, one of the classic cars. It is an outstanding example of automotive design and one of the most recognizable cars in the automobile history. XJ6 stands for a six-cylinder engine. A little later, in 1972, Jaguar Cars Ltd came out with the Jaguar XJ12. This version of the popular car was powered by a 311-horse power, 12-cylinder engine. For a long time, Jaguar XJ12 was the most powerful Jaguar vehicle on the market.
15. In 2011, while celebrating its 75th anniversary, the famous British automobile manufacturer released a hybrid concept car named Jaguar C-X 75. 780 h/p engine powers this four-wheel-drive vehicle.
16. Jaguar proudly holds a reputation of one of the strongest motorsports brands. Here are some examples of the racing achievements of different Jaguar models.
Jaguar XK-120C is the winner of 24 Hours of Le Mans (season 1951-1952).
Jaguar C-Type is a winner of 24-hour of Le Mans (season 1951-1953).
Jaguar D-Type is a three-times winner of 24 Hours of Le Mans (season 1954-1957 ).
Jaguar E-Type Lightweight is a winner of 24 Hours of Le Mans (season 1963-1964).
Jaguar XJR-5 is a two-times winner of 24 Hours of Le Mans (season 1985-1992) and a three-times winner of the World Sportscar Championship.
17. In 1991, the company released its very first supercar, the Jaguar XJ220. With the price tag of £ 413,000, it is by far the most expensive car in Jaguar’s history. Jaguar XJ220 is also one of the fastest Jaguars; it is capable of top speed of 217 mph (354 km / h).
18. For those, who don’t know, Bloodhound supersonic car was built for one purpose – to set a new World Land Speed Record. Jaguar F-Type R Bloodhound SSC Rapid Response Vehicle is a modified version of Jaguar F-Type. It was developed as a support vehicle for the World Land Speed Record attempt.
19. In 2012, the British company introduced Jaguar F-Type. Powered by a five-litre 495 hp V8 engine, this convertible was capable of the maximum speed of 300 km / h. It takes only 4.3 seconds to accelerate from zero to a hundred and 2.5 seconds to go from 80 to 120 km / h. According to the British automaker itself, the Jaguar F-Type is the first real sports car in last 50 years! Younger motorists met this statement with enthusiasm; however, it made some old fans of the marque wonder what Jaguar was doing for the past 50 years. Well, I guess they were saving steam to release this one.
20. The same year, in 2012, for the first time in 50 years, the management of the Jaguar Land Rover Group made a decision to switch the Halewood plant to a 24-hour operating mode.