The car is the closest thing we will ever create to something that is alive.“ This sentence came from William Lyons, one of the two fathers of the brand Jaguar. In 1921 the at this time 19 years old motorcycle enthusiast met the 9 years older William Wamsley, who was producing motorcycle-sidecars. Out of this in summer 1922 the Swallow Sidecar Company was founded in the English town Blackpool.
In 1927 the firm got an order to produce a sports car coachwork for the first time for Austin Seven. The two-seat-coachwork got popularity under the London car dealers. So further designs were commissioned for Fiat 509a, Morris Cowley, Swift Nine and Standard Big Nine. To satisfy the great request a movement to Coventry was necessary. At the beginning of the 1930s sports editions for big standard models, like Wolseley Hornet or the “Ensign“, followed.
The first big milestone came 1931, when with the SS1 and the SS2 the first self constructed sports cars were introduced at the London Engine Show. First of all the design of the two Coupés represents something completely new. In 1935 the model name Jaguar was first used for a further series of limousines and sports cars. One year later the legendary radiator mascot “The Leaper“ celebrated birthday. First a copper version decorated the private car of the firms designer Bill Rankin. For the public it first got accessible as Christmas extra back in December 1938.
To further legitimate the designation sports car, the performance had to be raised drastically. So the engine expert Harry Weslake was consulted, who succeeded in improving the standard engines. Also, a new experimental department under the leadership of engineer William Heyes was established, which was responsible for the chassis of the new models. So the SS90 became the SS100, which storied into car history as one of the most beautiful pre-war cars.
While the Second World War with Walter Hassan a top engine expert could be engaged as boss for a further development department. Together with the designer Claude Baily a revolutionary in-line six cylinders engine with overhead camshafts was devised. At the London engine show back in 1948 the company, which was renamed in Jaguar Cars Ltd. since end of the war, presented the new machine at its two-seater XK 120. The nearly 200 km/h fast bullet won over through its smart design. Additionally, the “Growler“-Emblem celebrated debut, which should soon become a typical recognition feature of the Jaguar-models. In 1950 the sports car was also the first which took part in the 24-hours-race of Le Mans and surprised with its speed, till it dropped out with a clutch defect. At the same year at the London car fair the five-seated limousine MK VII was launched. Together with the XK-engine the car impressed especially through its high mass of convenience and luxury. Subsequently, orders in the total value of 30 million pound sterling came in.
In 1951 the release of the XK 120 as coupé followed and for Le Mans the aerodynamic XK 120 C was developed. With this “C-type“ called car the two drivers Peter Whitehead and Peter Walker brought in the first victory for Jaguar. Till 1954 many wins on different race tracks followed, namely a further victory in Le Mans in 1953. At this race the revolutionary technology of the disc brakes were used for the first time.
In 1954 the XK 120 was replaced through the better motorised XK 140. In racing the D-Type became the successor. With the racing victories in Le Mans 1955, 1956 and 1957 it was likewise successful. In 1956 the brand also won the rallye of Monte Carlo with the MK II. So Jaguar was the only racecar-producer, which simultaneous won at Le Mans and Monte Carlo. In 1957 the MK III replaced the MK II and after the XK 140 followed the XK 150 — standard equipped with disc brakes for the first time. At last this car should be produced 9395 times. In 1958 the new brake-technology was used for the first limousine. The MK IX had the 3,8-litre-engine of the XK 150 and was equipped with disc brakes and servo steering.
At the beginning of the year 1960 Jaguar bought out the Daimler Motor Company, which practically had its head office also in Coventry. Soon every new Jaguar-limousine got a more extravagant Daimler-version aside.
In 1961 at the Geneva car saloon with the E-type a further sports car was introduced, which should become legendary. Progressive technology like two camshaft drive system, independent wheel suspension, a monocoque-chassis and an aerodynamic-exciting Design separated the first class car from the masses. In Racing Jaguars “E-Type Lightweight“ with extra light aluminium coachwork won many victories worldwide. The associated travel-limousine MX was the first with self-supporting coachwork, which signed the end of the ladder frame. In 1963 the vehicle was refined to the S-Type with big boot and further technical intricacies.
In 1966 together with Austin Morris and MG Jaguar became part of the British Leyland (BL) group. Later Rover and Triumpf should join this association.
In the next year the goal of the brand was to gain ground in racing again. Under the name XJ 13 a sports car with a twelve-cylinder-engine and five litre cubic capacity was developed. Optical the E-Type was the ideal.
In autumn 1968 the XJ 6 followed. The luxury car was drawn by William Lyons himself and displayed his whole artistic skills in the matter of design. Unfortunately quality defects showed of soon and Jaguar lost fame by the mismanagement of the British-Leyland-Group. At the same time the exhaust rules got more strict and the E-type couldn't keep up with its 6-cylinders-engine. After 72.532 built models, the production was stopped. Successor became the XJ-S, which should become the most built two-seater of the brand. Already in 1971 the conventional engine was replaced through a 12-cylinders-engine, which development had started with the XJ 13. With the XJ 12 Jaguar produced the first 12-cylinders-passenger car since the Second World War. In 1972 the meanwhile gentled Sir William Lyons gave the leadership to Lofty England. The XJ 12 was his last stroke of genius. Unfortunately in the middle of the 1970s it came to bad workmanship at this model as well. Much reputation got lost and trough the falling sales figures the British Leyland Motor Corporation ran out of money. In addition, through the bad relationship with the labour unions strikes broke out.
In 1980 Sir John Egan resumed the corporate management. He started to improve the quality for supplier parts and in the assembly. In 1981 with the help of the revolutionary Fireball-combustion chamber by Michael May the V12 could be refined to the much more economical H.E. (High Efficiency). Also, the 6-cylinder-engines were re-engineered. In 1983 at the binder-cabriolet XJ-SC a model of this path breaking AJ6-engine-generation was used for the first time.
Already in 1982 the Austin Rover Group resumed most of the brands from British Leyland. But remained Jaguar and Daimler in the Jaguar Car Holdings, with which they could upcouple from the main concern in 1984.
With the team TWR (Tom Walkinshaw Racing) the brand had its comeback in racing. In 1984 the XJ-S won the European Championship and the 24-hours-race of Spa. The consequence was the order for TWR to build a car for the 24-hours-race of Le Mans. The XJR won the sports car world championship in 1987 and 1988 and 1988 and 1990 it drove to victory in Le Mans at last.
Congenial to the year of success 1988, the daughter Jaguar Sport was founded, which should prior be engaged with the construction of exclusive sports cars and sportive limousines. The study XJ220 caused a sensation at the British Motor Show in the same year. But also in the construction of limousines they kept busy. Already 1986 the XJ40 was brought to the market in three models: as Jaguar XJ6, as Sovereign and as Daimler.
In 1989 a new leaf turned over in the Jaguar company history, when the brand became part of the Ford-group. Under the new leadership first optimized model series were developed, for example the improved XJ-S. The attendant limousine followed 1993 with over-worked technique. At the same time the “Majestic“ named Daimler- and Soverein-models redefined the subject “sportslimousine“. In 1994 a new XJ-serie with improved 6-cylinders-engine was showed at the “Parisian Carsaloon“. A sensation was, that these models were released simultaneous for all world markets. In 1996 the elitist sports car XK8 became the follower of the legendary E-Type. Since September 1997, also the SJ-series was changed to the by its motorization inspired V8-engines.
In 1999 Jaguar reached a new segment with the S-Type. The car was based on the classical MK-limousines, so the optic did credit to the device of company founder William Lyons “Beauty First“. But also the technique was trendsetting. So in 1999 Jaguar was the first producer, who used the novel ACC speed control.
A further milestone in the brand history was the 2001 released 6-cylinders-, all-wheel drive-X-Type. This model was sold worldwide 100.000 times for the first time.
In the year 2002 the S-Type and the XK got new 8-cylinders-engines. With the 395 HP strong compressor motor the S-Type became the fastest series-limousine of the company history. In September the new Jaguar XJ-series caused a sensation — with a complete self-feeding aluminium coachwork in monocoque construction. At the same year the new X-Type-series came with further innovations. It brought the release of the first Jaguar with front drive, the first Jaguar with diesel engine and the first Jaguar as series-station-wagon.
In 2004 the together with Peugeot developed 2,7-litre-six-cylinders-engine Twin Turbo-diesel was used at the new flagship S-Type. Since 2005 it was also available for the XJ.
In January 2005 the Detroit Motor Show was used to present the Advanced Lightweight Coupé. Technical this model had already over 80 percent of the new Jaguar XK, which celebrated its release at the IAA in Frankfurt. One year later also in Detroit the independent developed Jaguar XK Cabriolet was brought to the market.
In 2008 the merger with the British noble car producer Land Rover under the umbrella group Tata Motors followed. The success proceeded unbraked. The F-Type from 2013 became the title “World Car Design of the year“. In the middle of 2014
a new business domain with the name “Special Operations“ was established. Since then this branch is engaged in constructing special models on customer request and exclusive small batch series. For example the six missing models of the 1963 only twelve times produced Jaguar E-Type Lightweight were rebuilt after the original construction plans and with the manuel manufacturing methods from then. Also, this company division is managing the activities of Jaguar Classic at the traditional location Browns Lane (Coventry). At the end of October 2014 the first new engine plant in the domestic England since the merger could be inaugurated. This Engine Manufacturing Center (EMC) at Wolverhampton was primarily responsible for the development and mounting of the new four-cylinders-Ingenium diesel engines. In October of the same year a Joint-Ventrure with the Chinese company Chery Automobile followed. The together built plant in Changshu was also used for the manufacture of internal combustion engines and the development.
In spring 2015 Jaguar Land Rover conquered the premium-middle-sized-class-segment. Here for the first time in the car range a Laser-Head-Up-Display was used, which was lighter and delivered sharper pictures than the conventional LED-Display.
At the IAA in Frankfurt the F-Pace opened a door to a further segment. The Family-Sportscar-Crossover had a big boot and a spacious interior room for up to five adult persons. With the beginning of the year 2016 the limousine XF was launched, and entered the golden steering wheel from “Autobild“ and “Bild am Sonntag“. Also, the F-Pace won in the readers votings of many professional journals. And the XE was priced with the “Best in Class“-Award for highest security in family cars by the Euro NCAP Organisation.
In June the plant in the Brazilian federal state Rio de Janeiro was inaugurated, which construction was stared back in 2013. It was the first oversea factory which were owned to Jaguar Land Rover 100 %. In September 2016 the cornerstone was laid for a 300.000 m² big manufacturing plant for aluminium construction in Slovakia.
In the same year the company restarted in motor sports, after the Formula 1-commitment ran out back in 2004. In autumn the brand started in the championship for electric driven formula racing cars – the FIA Formula E. The findings out of the races should be integrated in the electrical drives of the serial models. So at the 2016 at the car show in Los Angeles introduced pure battery-electric driven I-Pace, which will be produced in cooperation with the Austria manufacturer Magna Steyr in 2018.