History of Jaguar
Swallow Sidecar Company was set up by two motorcycle enthusiasts
in Blackpool on 4th September in 1922 by William Lyons & William
Walmsley which made sidecars until 1939.
The company then changed its name to the Swallow Sidecar andCoachbuilding
Co. and then again changed in 1933 to SS Cars Ltd.
In 1934 one of the industry's top engine experts, Harry Weslake
was introduced to the company. In 1935 the name changed again
to Jaguar and William Heynes was introduced as chief engineer.
this time the company was producing limousines, sports cars
and convertibles with 3 engine sizes: 1.5L, 2.5L and 3.5L. The
fastest being the 3.5 SS 100 capable of speeds of 100mph and
a 0-60 time of about 10.5 seconds. The SS 100 had plenty of
success with wins at the Marne Grand Prix at Reims, the Alpine
rally, the Villa Real International Event and the RAC rally.
In 1939 with the start of World War II, production was altered
to help the war effort but in 1945 things returned to normal
and the company changed its name again to Jaguar Cars Ltd.
1946 saw the introduction
of the XK120, developed by William Lyons,
inspired by the BMW328. The XK 120 was fitted with a 3442CC
Straight Six DOHC engine.
By 1948 the XK120 Roadster was capable of 120mph and yet combined
road holding with a comfortable ride. The XK120 Fixed Head Coupe
was introduced in 1951 and was better trimmed with a veneer
dashboard and wind-up windows. The XK120 Drophead Coupe followed
in 1953. It had a convertible hood which was fully trimmed.
The Drophead turned out to be a great competitive race car.
These models where followed in 1954 by the XK140
and in 1957 with the XK150. The XK range
continued until 1961, halted by its aging design.
In the mid Fifties the company decided to increase its share
of the market. Precarious because of only selling sports and
luxury models Jaguar decided to aim at the home market and the
MKI was first shown at the 1955 Motor Show.
It was a the first Jaguar to have a monocoque chassis.
Instant success was
the achieved with the introduction of the MKII
an evolution of the earlier Jaguar 2.4 and 3.4 models. It had
a better vision with more glass, better dashboard and leather
seats as standard until 1967 when leather became an optional
MK 1 Jaguar
MK 2 Jaguar
Mk II featured the same engine sizes, plus the addition of
the 3.8 from the XK150. It also spawned a host of variants
during the 1960's such as the 1963 S-Type and the 1966 420.
Each model went upmarket, filling perceived gaps between the
compact Jaguars and the MKX (later renamed as the 420G).
In 1960 Daimler was bought by Jaguar.
Sir William Lyons stepped down in 1966 as Managing Director
of the Jaguar Group, but he remained Chairman and Chief Executive.
Joint management was taken up by Grice and England and later
the company merged with The British Motor Corporation.
They then merged with Leyland in 1968 to form the largest
British production company.
Sir William Lyons retired in 1972, 50 years after starting
the company. This threw the company into disarray resulting
in the loss and closure of various departments. By 1975 it
was declared by the Ryder Report that Jaguar would not continue
as an entity. Leyland Cars was then formed which produced
the Jaguar XJ-S. Percy Plant became the chairman of Jaguar
in 1979 and rumours of closure lowered the workers morale.
The workers went on strike in 1980 over grading and pay. Morale
was at an all time low when a new full-time chairman, John
Egan was appointed in April 1980. With him came new blood,
optimism which was well rewarded with better production figures
and a new stability realised by 1985. That same year Sir Williams
Mark X & 420G
E-Type Series III V-12
XJ6/XJ12 Series II