Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Jaguar

Jaguar


A chronological day-by-day history of Jaguar.

Tuesday 14th January 1896

121 years ago

The Daimler Motor Co. Ltd, founded by Harry Lawson, was registered as Britain’s first motor manufacturer. The right to the use of the name Daimler had been purchased simultaneously from Gottlieb Daimler and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft of Cannstatt, Germany. After early financial difficulty and a reorganization of the company in 1904, the Daimler Motor Company was purchased by Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) in 1910, which also made cars under its own name before World War II. In 1933, BSA bought the Lanchester Motor Company and made it a subsidiary of Daimler. The company was awarded a Royal Warrant to provide cars to the British Monarch in 1902; it lost this privilege in the 1950s after being supplanted by Rolls-Royce. In the 1950s, Daimler tried to widen its appeal with a line of smaller cars at one end and opulent show cars at the other, stopped making Lanchesters, had a highly publicised removal of their chairman from the board, and developed and sold a sports car and a high-performance luxury saloon and limousine.In 1960, BSA sold Daimler to Jaguar Cars, which continued Daimler's line and added a Daimler variant of its Mark II sports saloon. Jaguar was then merged into the British Motor Corporation in 1966 and British Leyland in 1968. Under these companies, Daimler became an upscale trim level for Jaguar cars except for the 1968-1992 Daimler DS420 limousine, which had no Jaguar equivalent despite being fully Jaguar-based. Jaguar was split off from British Leyland in 1984 and bought by the Ford Motor Company in 1989. Ford stopped using the Daimler name on Jaguars (or any other cars) in 2007 and sold Jaguar to Tata Motors in 2008. Tata bought the Daimler and Lanchester brands with Jaguar, but has not used them thus far; as of 2015, the brand appears to be dormant.

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Monday 2nd March 1903

114 years ago

The Standard Motor Company was registered by Reginald Maudslay. Although little known today, the Standard Motor Company was in the top six selling marques in pre-war Britain. It was founded in Coventry in 1903 by Reginald Walter Maudslay who is reputed to have said "I want my car to be composed purely of those components whose principles have been tried and tested and accepted as reliable standards, in fact, I will name my car the Standard car." The fortunes of The Standard Motor Company were mixed to say the least. By 1924 the company had a share of the market comparable to Austin, but by the late 1920s profits had fallen dramatically due to heavy reinvestment, a failed export contract and poor sales of the larger cars. John Black joined the ailing company and by increasing productivity, masterminded the huge success of the company in the 1930's. During the first half of this decade the most successful models were the 'nine' and 'ten' which addressed the low to mid range of the market. A new sleeker styling was introduced in 1934, together with a four speed gearbox with silent second and third gears, and, synchromesh on second third and top. These cars were attractively styled with a big car look, but competitively priced and easy to drive. If the handling of my 1935 nine is anything to go by, it must have been a revelation at £155! The quality of Standard running gear may have been a major factor which attracted William Lyons to use the smaller chassis and engines to produce up-market saloon cars, initially in the early '30's with Swallow bodywork, and later with his own body styling. This enterprise began marketing cars under the familiar name of Jaguar from 1936, but continued to use Standard chassis and engines for several years. It purchased Triumph in 1945 and in 1959 officially changed its name to Standard-Triumph International and began to put the Triumph brand name on all its products.For many years it manufactured Ferguson tractors powered by its Vanguard engine. All Standard's tractor assets were sold to Massey-Ferguson as of 31 August 1959. As of 28 September 1959 Standard Motor Company was re-named Standard-Triumph International Limited. A new subsidiary took the name The Standard Motor Company Limited and took over the manufacture of the group's products. The Standard name was last used in Britain in 1963, and in India in 1987.

Standard Estate - car brochure -1950

Standard Estate - car brochure -1950

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Thursday 13th March 1913

104 years ago

The Vanden Plas (England) Ltd coachbuilding firm was founded. The coachbuilder's name first appeared in the United Kingdom in 1906 when Métallurgique cars were imported with Vanden Plas coachwork. The first Vanden Plas company in England was established by Warwick Wright (now Peugeot dealers) in 1913, building bodies under license from Vanden Plas Belgium. During World War I UK activities were switched to aircraft production and the UK business was bought by Aircraft Manufacturing Company who were based at Hendon near London. In 1917 a company, Vanden Plas (1917) Ltd., was incorporated. After the war it seems to have been a struggle to get back into coachbuilding and in 1922 that company was placed in receivership. The exclusive UK naming rights seem to have been lost as in the early 1920s the Belgian firm was exhibiting at the London Motor Show alongside the British business. In 1923 the rights to the name and the goodwill were purchased by the Fox brothers who incorporated Vanden Plas (England) 1923 Limited. They moved the business from Hendon to Kingsbury and built on the contacts that had been made with Bentley. Between 1924 and 1931, when Bentley failed, Vanden Plas built the bodies for over 700 of their chassis. In the 1930s the company became less dependent on one car maker and supplied coachwork to such as Alvis, Armstrong Siddeley, Bentley, Daimler, Lagonda and Rolls-Royce. The company also updated its production methods and took to making small batches of similar bodies. With the outbreak of war in 1939 the company returned to aircraft work, and coachbuilding stopped. During the War the company manufactured the wooden framework for the De Havilland Mosquito, one of the most successful aircraft of WWII. After the war the company continued its association with De Havilland and manufactured parts for the DH Vampire jet fighter. With peace in 1945 the company looked to restart its old business when a new customer came along. Austin wanted to market a chauffeur-driven version of its in-house-built large 4-litre Rolls-Royce-size A110 Sheerline luxury car and approached Vanden Plas. Vanden Plas became a subsidiary of the Austin Motor Company in 1946 and produced Austin's A120 Princess model on the Austin Sheerline chassis. From 1958 this also began to involve chassis assembly and the Austin (now BMC) board recognised Vanden Plas as a motor manufacturer in its own right dropping Austin from the name so the Princess could be sold by Nuffield dealers. In 1960 the Princess became the Vanden Plas Princess. Austin was joined in BMC by Jaguar with its new subsidiary Daimler. Production of Princess limousines ended in 1968 when they were replaced with Daimler DS420 limousines (Jaguar had acquired Daimler in 1960) built by Vanden Plas on a lengthened Jaguar Mark X platform. The DS420 was produced at the Kingsbury Lane Vanden Plas factory until it closed in November 1979. The British Leyland overall holding company board decided in 1967 there were insufficient funds in the group advertising budget to cope with marketing in North America the Daimler brand as well as Jaguar. This decision was later changed but Vanden Plas is used in North America instead of Daimler on Jaguar's top luxury models. Ownership of the Vanden Plas name stayed with the Rover Group so when Rover was sold Jaguar was obliged to stop using Vanden Plas in the United Kingdom though it continues to do so in America. Within the UK a Daimler Double-Six Vanden Plas became a plain Daimler Double-Six. Also in 1957/8, Vanden Plas were asked by Leonard Lord to add luxury fittings to a batch of Austin A105 Westminster cars, beginning the practice of using the company's skills and name for badge-engineered (and genuinely improved) luxury versions of many of the BMC (and later British Leyland (BL)) cars such as the 1100/1300 range and the Allegro (known as the Vanden Plas 1500, 1.5 & 1.7 ). From 1985 to 1989, Austin Rover made upmarket Vanden Plas models within its Metro, Maestro, Montego and Rover SD1 ranges. The name is also used in North America on Jaguar cars otherwise branded Daimler in other markets.

1938 Daimler 8 Vanden Plas

1938 Daimler 8 Vanden Plas

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Friday 25th July 1924

93 years ago

Engineer Gustaf Larson and SKF sales manager Assar Gabrielsson met by chance over a plate of crayfish, and after enjoying their meal agreed to start up production of 'The Swedish Car', ie Volvo. Their vision was to build cars that could withstand the rigors of the country's rough roads and cold temperatures. The first Volvo car rolled off the production line at the factory in Gothenburg in 1927. Only 280 cars were built that year. The first truck, the "Series 1", debuted in January 1928, as an immediate success and attracted attention outside the country. In 1930, Volvo sold 639 cars, and the export of trucks to Europe started soon after; the cars did not become well-known outside Sweden until after World War II. Pentaverken, who had manufactured engines for Volvo, was acquired in 1935, providing a secure supply of engines and entry into the marine engine market. The first bus, named B1, was launched in 1934, and aircraft engines were added to the growing range of products at the beginning of the 1940s. In 1963, Volvo opened the Volvo Halifax Assembly plant, the first assembly plant in the company's history outside of Sweden in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. In 1999, the European Union blocked a merger with Scania AB. That same year, Volvo Group sold its car division Volvo Car Corporation to Ford Motor Company for $6.45 billion. The division was placed within Ford's Premier Automotive Group alongside Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin. Volvo engineering resources and components would be used in various Ford, Land Rover and Aston Martin products, with the second generation Land Rover Freelander designed on the same platform as the second generation Volvo S80. The Volvo T5 petrol engine was used in the Ford Focus ST and RS performance models, and Volvo's satellite navigation system was used on certain Aston Martin Vanquish, DB9 and V8 Vantage models. Ford sold the Volvo Car Corporation in 2010 to Geely Automobile of China for $1.8 billion. The move followed Ford's 2007 sale of Aston Martin, and 2008 sale of Jaguar Land Rover. Renault Véhicules Industriels (which included Mack Trucks, but not Renault's stake in Irisbus) was sold to Volvo during January 2001, and Volvo renamed it Renault Trucks in 2002. Renault became AB Volvo's biggest shareholder with a 19.9% stake (in shares and voting rights) as part of the deal. Renault increased its shareholding to 21.7% by 2010.

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Friday 20th May 1927

90 years ago

The first Austin Swallow was completed, becoming the first direct lineal ancestor of what would become known as the Jaguar marque. Decidedly more sporting in appearance than Herbert Austin's original, it attracted immediate attention. The seats were upholstered in leather, the instruments (such as they were) were mounted in a polished mahogany dashboard, and a choice of hard- or soft-tops was offered. A Swallow conversion virtually doubled the price of a bare Seven chassis, from £99 to £190.

Austin Swallow - 1927

Austin Swallow - 1927

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Monday 20th January 1930

87 years ago

The MG Car Company Ltd staged a grand inaugural luncheon at its new factory in Abington, England. In 1935, MG was sold by Morris to Morris Motors Limited, and at this time MG's competition activities ceased, while over the next 18 months, the product range was completely altered to re-align it with Morris and Wolseley. Although the MG Car Company as such became dormant, the MG factory at Abingdon survived as an operational unit into the British Leyland era. In the late 1970s it became part of British Leyland's Jaguar Rover Triumph subsidiary. From time to time the Abingdon factory also produced other makes of car for BMC/BL, such as Riley (1949-1957), Austin-Healey (1957-1971), some Morris Minors (1960-1964) and Vanden Plas 1500s (1979-1980). By a twist of fate, from 1959 onwards MG saloon cars production returned to Cowley, then later at Longbridge, rather than Abingdon. With the discontinuation of the MG Midget and MGB models in 1979-81, the factory was closed, and the Abingdon property disposed of. A and B Blocks are still extant, re-clad and part of the Abingdon Business Park. The Administration Block (known as "Top Office") still stands at the end of Cemetery Road. Cecil Kimber's home is now a pub - The Boundary House - in Oxford Road. Between 1982 and 1991, the MG badge re-appeared on sportier versions of Austin Rover's Metro, Maestro and Montego ranges. In 1992, the MG RV8 was launched, an up-dated MGB Roadster powered by a Rover V8 engine and produced in low volumes. In 1995, the completely new MG F two-seater roadster was launched, selling in volumes unthinkable since the 1970s. In 2000, then parent BMW sold the MG Rover Group to a consortium which used the MG badge on sportier Rover-based cars. Production ceased in April 2005 when MG Rover went into administration. The assets of MG Rover were bought by Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile in 2005, who themselves were bought by the Chinese company SAIC in 2007. In 2007 production of the MG TF roadster and MG 7 large sports saloon, derived from the Rover 75, started in China. Production of the MG TF re-started at Longbridge in small volumes in 2008.

MG Factory at Abingdon; ZA Magnette and MGA lines circa 1955

MG Factory at Abingdon; ZA Magnette and MGA lines circa 1955

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Saturday 21st September 1935

81 years ago

The SS Jaguar 2½-litre saloon with its 102 bhp six-cylinder Weslake-designed cross-flow ohv cylinder head on its Standard engine caused a sensation when it was launched at a trade luncheon for dealers and press at London's Mayfair Hotel. The show car was in fact a prototype. Luncheon guests were asked to write down the UK price for which they thought the car would be sold and the average of their answers was £765. Even in that deflationary period, the actual price at just £395 would have been a pleasant surprise for many customers. Also available was a similar looking but scaled-down version using a 1½-litre four-cylinder side-valve engine. The Motor magazine in its announcement issue of 24 September 1935 referred to the SS Jaguar's distinguished appearance, outstanding performance and attractive price. With its new 2½-litre engine it could now compete with Kimber's heavily influenced by Morris but brand new MG SA. Extract from the speech of chairman and managing director Mr W Lyons to the shareholders Friday 11 October 1935: "This new car, which is called the Jaguar and has received a most enthusiastic reception from the whole of the trade and public has been produced to an ideal. It has fulfilled all our most optimistic anticipations, for it was intended to produce a car of extremely high quality and performance, hitherto associated with only the most exclusive type of car, at a moderate price."[ Everyone else noted the new grille's likeness to a Bentley's.

SS Jaguar 2½-litre saloon advertisement 1936

SS Jaguar 2½-litre saloon advertisement 1936

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Monday 30th September 1935

81 years ago

William Lyons announced that SS Cars would launch a new SS Jaguar touring saloon, capable of 90 mph, at the following month’s London Motor Show. SS Cars asked their dealers to put a price on it, and their guesses averaged out at £632. Lyons then revealed the price was £395. The car used a six-cylinder side-valve Standard engine of 2663 cc with an output of 68 bhp (51 kW). The engine differed from the one used in the ordinary cars by having Dural connecting rods, an aluminium cylinder head with 7:1 compression ratio, and twin RAG carburettors. At 8 feet 8 inches (2.64 m) in length the chassis was a shortened version of the one used on the SS 1, and was also supplied by Standard. Suspension was by half-elliptical springs all round, with an underslung back axle. The braking system was Bendix. The cars rapidly gained attention for their elegant sporting styling, but were not well regarded by the sporting fraternity as their performance did not match their appearance. True sports car performance had to wait for the SS 100, which had similar styling and suspension but an engine fitted with an overhead-valve cylinder head. The SS 90 does not seem to have been tested independently by any magazines, therefore contemporary performance figures are unknown, but it was widely believed to be capable of reaching 90 mph (140 km/h). In 1932 the basic tourer cost £395. Twenty-three were made.

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Thursday 17th October 1935

81 years ago

The first car to carry the Jaguar name – the Jaguar SS90 – was launched to tremendous acclaim at the London Motor Show. Selling for £385, it had a top speed of nearly 90mph.

SS90

SS90

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Saturday 14th October 1939

77 years ago

Appearing for sale in the classified ads in Autocar were a Jaguar 3.5-litre two-seater, £325; a 1935 Frazer-Nash-BMW Type 55/38 two-seater, £295; and a 1930 Rolls-Royce H. J. Mulliner 20/25, £2,255.

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Monday 31st December 1945

71 years ago

The Triumph Company was acquired by the Standard Motor Company for £75,000 and a subsidiary "Triumph Motor Company (1945) Limited" was formed with production transferred to Standard's factory at Canley, on the outskirts of Coventry. Triumph's new owners had been supplying engines to Jaguar and its predecessor company since 1938. After an argument between Standard-Triumph Managing Director, Sir John Black, and William Lyons, the creator and owner of Jaguar, Black's objective in acquiring the rights to the name and the remnants of the bankrupt Triumph business was to build a car to compete with the soon to be launched post-war Jaguars.[ The pre-war Triumph models were not revived and in 1946 a new range of Triumphs was announced, starting with the Triumph Roadster. The Roadster had an aluminium body because steel was in short supply and surplus aluminium from aircraft production was plentiful. The same engine was used for the 1800 Town and Country saloon, later named the Triumph Renown, which was notable for the styling chosen by Standard-Triumph's managing director Sir John Black. A similar style was also used for the subsequent Triumph Mayflower light saloon. All three of these models prominently sported the "globe" badge that had been used on pre-war models. When Sir John was forced to retire from the company this range of cars was discontinued without being replaced directly, sheet aluminium having by now become a prohibitively expensive alternative to sheet steel for most auto-industry purposes. In the early 1950s it was decided to use the Triumph name for sporting cars and the Standard name for saloons and in 1953 the Triumph TR2 was initiated, the first of the TR series of sports cars that would be produced until 1981. Curiously, the TR2 had a Standard badge on its front and the Triumph globe on its hubcaps. Standard had been making a range of small saloons named the Standard Eight and Ten, and had been working on their replacements. The success of the TR range meant that Triumph was considered a more marketable name than Standard, and the new car was introduced in 1959 as the Triumph Herald. The last Standard car to be made in the UK was replaced in 1963 by the Triumph 2000. Standard-Triumph was bought by Leyland Motors Ltd. in December 1960; Donald Stokes became chairman of the Standard-Triumph division in 1963. Further mergers resulted in the formation of British Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968. Triumph set up an assembly facility in Speke, Liverpool in 1959 gradually increasing the size of the most modern factory of the company to the point that it could fully produce 100,000 cars per year. However, only a maximum of 30,000 cars was ever produced as the plant was never put to full production use, being used largely as an assembly plant.[7] During the 1960s and '70s Triumph sold a succession of Michelotti-styled saloons and sports cars, including the advanced Dolomite Sprint, which, in 1973, already had a 16-valve four-cylinder engine. It is alleged that many Triumphs of this era were unreliable, especially the 2.5 PI (petrol injection) with its fuel injection problems. In Australia, the summer heat caused petrol in the electric fuel pump to vapourise, resulting in frequent malfunctions. Although the injection system had proven itself in international competition, it lacked altitude compensation to adjust the fuel mixture at altitudes greater than 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level. The Lucas system proved unpopular: Lucas did not want to develop it further, and Standard-Triumph dealers were reluctant to attend the associated factory and field-based training courses. For most of its time under Leyland or BL ownership the Triumph marque belonged in the Specialist Division of the company which went by the names of Rover Triumph and later Jaguar Rover Triumph, except for a brief period during the mid-1970s when all BL's car marques or brands were grouped together under the name of Leyland Cars.The only all-new Triumph model initiated as Rover Triumph was the TR7, which had the misfortune to be in production successively at three factories that were closed: Speke, the poorly run Leyland-era Standard-Triumph works in Liverpool,[7] the original Standard works at Canley, Coventry and finally the Rover works in Solihull. Plans for an extended range based on the TR7, including a fastback variant codenamed "Lynx", were ended when the Speke factory closed. The four-cylinder TR7 and its short-lived eight-cylindered derivative the TR8 were terminated when the road car section of the Solihull plant was closed (the plant continues to build Land Rovers.The last Triumph model was the Acclaim, introduced in 1981 and essentially a rebadged Honda Ballade built under licence from Japanese company Honda at the former Morris Motors works in Cowley, Oxford. The Triumph name disappeared in 1984, when the Acclaim was replaced by the Rover 200, a rebadged version of Honda's next generation Civic/Ballade model. The BL car division was by then named Austin Rover Group which also ended the Morris marque as well as Triumph. The trademark is owned currently by BMW, which acquired Triumph when it bought the Rover Group in 1994. When it sold Rover, it kept the Triumph marque. The Phoenix Consortium, which bought Rover, tried to buy the Triumph brand, but BMW refused, saying that if Phoenix insisted, it would break the deal. The Standard marque was transferred to British Motor Heritage Limited. The Standard marque is still retained by British Motor Heritage who also have the licence to use the Triumph marque in relation to the sale of spares and service of the existing 'park' of Triumph cars.The Triumph name has been retained by BMW along with Riley, and Mini. In late 2007, the magazine Auto Express, after continued rumours that Triumph be revived with BMW ownership, featured a story showing an image of what a new version of the TR4 might look like. BMW has not commented officially on this.

Triumph advert - 1937

Triumph advert - 1937

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Wednesday 24th March 1948

69 years ago

The last Lincoln Continental Mark I was produced. Before there were series of "Continental Mark", "Lincoln Continental Mark", "Lincoln Mark", or "Lincoln MK" models, there were various models built by the Ford organization employing the name "Continental". These began in the 1930s with a one-off car, a custom personal car that ended up serving the function of a concept car, which Edsel Ford directed his designers to create. It began with the existing design of the Lincoln-Zephyr and was modified extensively. It was called the "Continental" because it was meant to capture an essence of Continental European luxury. This first car led to a production model, the first of the "Lincoln Continental" series, which was built from 1939 to 1948. In 1955, Ford Motor Company chose to introduce a new personal luxury car as a successor to the pre-war Lincoln Continental. As it was to be one of the most exclusive and expensive automobiles in the world, Ford chose to create a stand-alone division above Lincoln. The new Continental Mark II of the Continental Division adopted a naming convention of "mark number", also meaning "version number" or "model number"; while used in the European automotive industry, this was also used to identify versions of artillery, tanks, naval vessels, and aircraft, as demonstrated with the Jaguar Mark 1. The name was thus equivalent in original meaning to simply "Continental, version 2" or "Continental, model B", although the name "Mark" later took on a brand-like feel of its own in the minds of many customers, which later branding efforts then expanded upon. In 1958, the Continental division was reintegrated back into the Lincoln product lineup, with Lincoln introducing the Mark III, IV, and V to replace the Mark II; they served as the flagships of the Lincoln line. In 1961, Lincoln went from a three-model line to a single Continental; the Mark series was dropped. For 1968, Lincoln restarted the Mark series with the Mark III. Instead of being a flagship model of the standard Lincoln, the Mark III was an all-new car. Based upon the Ford Thunderbird, it was a strict personal-luxury coupe like the Continental Mark II and the 1939-1948 Continental, thus restarting the series at Mark III. While sharing little to no common bodywork, the Mark series would share much of its underpinnings with the Ford Thunderbird for its entire production run from 1969 to 1998. The lone exception is the 1980-1983 Mark VI, which was based on the Ford LTD/Mercury Marquis coupe and Lincoln Town Car; the Mark VI is the only model ever produced as an optional 4-door.

Lincoln Continental Mk1

Lincoln Continental Mk1

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Wednesday 27th October 1948

68 years ago

The greatest-ever British Motor Show opened at Earls Court, with no less than 32 British car manufacturers exhibiting their wares. It was to be a motoring spectacle the like of which would never be witnessed again. Almost every British manufacturer’s stand included at least one brand new model. These included the Morris Minor from the Nuffield Organisation, the Morris Oxford/Wolseley 4/50 and Morris Six/Wolseley 6/80 ranges, a new Hillman Minx, Austin's A70 Hampshire, Vauxhall's Velox and Wyvern, the Singer SM1500 and the Sunbeam-Talbot 80 and 90. Perhaps the star of the show was the incredible fast and beautiful Jaguar XK120, priced at just £998 (£1,298 with tax). The name was based on top speed that made it the fastest production car in the world. To convince the sceptics who refused to believe what was being claimed for the XK120, Jaguar took over a closed section of dual carriageway at Jabbeke in Belgium where, in front of the assembled press, a standard XK120 proceeded to clock 126 mph. With the windscreen removed 133 mph was achieved. Orders came flooding in and Jaguar quickly realised that the couple of hundred originally intended could not possibly meet demand. The waiting lists were lengthened still further after the XK's racing debut at Silverstone in a Production Sports Car race. The factory loaned three cars to well known drivers, Peter Walker, Leslie Johnson and Prince Bira of Siam. Bira was unlucky enough to have a puncture, but the others finished first and second. Aston Martin presented their “2-litre Sports” at the London show. It attracted little attention and only 16 examples of this £2,331 car were built. The 2-Litre Sports produced from 1948 to 1950, was the first product of the company under new director, David Brown, and is retrospectively known as the DB1. The show also gave the everyday motorist the opportunity to first chance to see a real, live Standard Vanguard and Jowett Javelin, thus far almost exclusively reserved for export. There were the Bristol 401 sports saloons, and the US-influenced Austin A90 Atlantic.

British Motor Show 1948

British Motor Show 1948

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Monday 30th May 1949

68 years ago

On the empty Ostend-Jabbeke motorway in Belgium, a prototype Jaguar XK120 timed by the officials of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium achieved an average of runs in opposing directions of 132.6 mph- a new production car speed record - with the windscreen replaced by just one small aero screen and a catalogued alternative top gear ratio, and 135 mph with a passenger-side tonneau cover in place. In 1950 and 1951, at a banked oval track in France, XK120 roadsters averaged over 100 mph for 24 hours and over 130 mph for an hour, and in 1952 a fixed-head coupé took numerous world records for speed and distance when it averaged 100 mph for a week.

Jaguar XK120

Jaguar XK120

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Thursday 21st July 1949

68 years ago

The first Jaguar XK120 released for public sale (serial #660002) was shipped to Sydney, Australia. The XK120 was launched in open two-seater or (US) roadster form at the 1948 London Motor Show as a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine. The display car was the first prototype, chassis number 660001. It looked almost identical to the production cars except that the straight outer pillars of its windscreen would be curved on the production version. The roadster caused a sensation, which persuaded Jaguar founder and design boss William Lyons to put it into production. Beginning in 1948, the first 242 cars wore wood-framed open 2-seater bodies with aluminium panels. switched to the 1cwt or 112 lb (51 kg) heavier all-steel in early 1950. The "120" in the name referred to the aluminium car's 120 mph (193 km/h) top speed (faster with the windscreen removed), which made it the world's fastest production car at the time of its launch.Chassis number 670003, was delivered to Clark Gable. The XK120 was ultimately available in two open versions, first as an open 2-seater described in the US market as the roadster (and designated OTS, for open two-seater, outside America), then also as a drophead coupé (DHC) from 1953; and also as a closed, or fixed head coupé (FHC) from 1951. A smaller-engined version with a 2-litre 4 cylinder engine, designated the XK100, intended for the UK market was cancelled prior to production. On 30 May 1949, on the empty Ostend-Jabbeke motorway in Belgium, a prototype XK120 timed by the officials of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium achieved an average of runs in opposing directions of 132.6 mph with the windscreen replaced by just one small aero screen and a catalogued alternative top gear ratio,[note 1] and 135 mph with a passenger-side tonneau cover in place. In 1950 and 1951, at a banked oval track in France, XK120 roadsters averaged over 100 mph for 24 hours and over 130 mph for an hour, and in 1952 a fixed-head coupé took numerous world records for speed and distance when it averaged 100 mph for a week. Roadsters were also successful in racing and rallying.

Jaguar XK120 brochure

Jaguar XK120 brochure

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Sunday 23rd July 1950

67 years ago

The first races were held at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, US. The main 60 mile event run over a 3.35 mile triangular road course laid out on public roads just west of Elkhart Lake was won by Jim Kimberly in a Ferrari 166 (56 minutes, 13.2 seconds). Second place went to Fred Wacker out of Chicago driving Jim Kimberly's Healey Silverstone (57 minutes, 12.2 seconds). Third place went to James Feld out of Milwaukee driving a Jaguar XK-120 (57 minutes, 12.2 seconds).

Jim Kimberly Ferrari 166

Jim Kimberly Ferrari 166

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Wednesday 18th October 1950

66 years ago

At the 1950 London Motor Show the Jaguar Mark VII saloon, specifically aimed at the US market, was presented and once again Lyons 'stole the show'. Americans took to the Mark VII and some $30m worth of orders were taken within months of the car's introduction. Such was the demand that a larger factory was required and the company moved to Browns Lane, Coventry in 1951-52.

Jaguar Mark VII

Jaguar Mark VII

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Sunday 5th November 1950

66 years ago

The first Pebble Beach Road Races (California) were staged, with the main event won by Phil Hill in a Jaguar XK120. The races were managed under the auspices of the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America), as were most races from that day to this. The route was originally 1.8 miles (2.9 km) long, but was lengthened from 1951 onwards to 2.1 miles (3.4 km). Not all of the "track" was paved; the original 1950 route consisted of both paved two-lane roads and sections of dirt or loose gravel.

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Thursday 8th March 1951

66 years ago

Three years after the launch of the pretty XK120 Roadster, Jaguar unveiled another version of its XK120, the Fixed Head Coupe at the Geneva Motor Show The new hardtop coupe featured an elegant roof section, which closely reflected the lines of the much larger Jaguar Mk VII Saloon. The XK120 Fixed Head Coupe doors carried proper wind-up windows in bright finished surrounds with small rear 1/4 windows behind them. External door handles and locks gave the Fixed Head Coupe a more civilised image than the rakish Roadster. Mechanically the car differed little from the open versions and made use of the powerful six cylinder 3442 cc, 160bhp (5000 rpm) XK engine. It was capable of 0-60 mph in 9.9 seconds

Jaguar XK120 Coupé

Jaguar XK120 Coupé

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Friday 22nd June 1951

66 years ago

Three Jaguar C-types entered Le Mans, one driven by British drivers Stirling Moss and ‘Jolly’ Jack Fairman, one by fellow Britons Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead (a couple of gentleman farmers), and the other by Britain’s Leslie Johnson with Italian Clemente Biondetti. The Jaguars were an unknown quantity and the crowd were there were to watch the Ferraris, Talbots and Cunninghams. Moss set off at a great rate of knots, breaking the lap record and the opposition. An amazing Jaguar 1-2-3 looked possible until an oil-pipe flange broke on the Johnson/Biondetti car. Then a similar fate befell Moss. The third car’s luck held, however, and Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead recorded a remarkable victory first time out for the C-types.

Jaguar C-type

Jaguar C-type

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Sunday 24th June 1951

66 years ago

Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead in their works-entered Jaguar C-type, claimed the first Le Mans win for the marque. This year marked the real start of the modern era of sports-car racing, with the arrival of Jaguar’s purpose-built racer, and the first showing for Porsche and Lancia. It was also the final time for Delahaye and Bentley (for 50 years). The race was marred by the death of French driver Jean Larivière within the opening laps of the race.

1951 Le Mans Peter Walker in Jaguar C-type

1951 Le Mans Peter Walker in Jaguar C-type

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Saturday 31st May 1952

65 years ago

In San Francisco the first Golden Gate Park Road Race was held. A 3.1-mile, eight-turn course was laid out in the western half of the park. Co-sponsored by The Guardsmen and the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department, the meeting was SCCA-sanctioned. Fifty-eight entries were accepted for the three races on the card: F3, sportscars under and sportscars over 1500cc. The under-1500s consisted mostly of MG TCs and TDs, while among the over-1500s were Jaguar XK120s, Allards, an Aston Martin, a Ferrari and a variety of specials. An estimated 50,000 spectators saw Roger Barlow (Simca Special) win the small-capacity category and Bill Pollack's Cad-Allard beat Phil Hill's Ferrari 212 in the main event. There were several changes made to improve crowd control and the racing for the second running in 1953. An even bigger crowd was anticipated and miles of snow fencing was erected to keep fans further from the track. An additional production car class replaced F3 and more entries were accepted: 87. OSCA, Giaur, Jowett, Nardi, C-type Jaguars and Healey Silverstones joined the more familiar MGs, Allards, Porsches and homebuilt specials. Ken Miles' R-1, an MG-based special, was the fastest 1500, but the man of the meeting was 21-year-old Masten Gregory, who belied his inexperience — just two races prior to this one — with a mature drive to victory aboard a C-type. A record 100,000 lined the course. The third meeting in 1954 was bigger and better: 143 entries, 115,000 spectators, four races. Bill David's OSCA ran away with the under-1500cc event and Jack McAfee's Ferrari 375 outran the field in the main event. Journalists and officials were by now speculating that Golden Gate Park's races might gain grand prix status and attract top international drivers to compete with America's best. Not everybody was enamoured, though. Environmentalists wielded power even then and the city fathers succumbed to their pressure to stop the races: too many people, too much noise, and damage to plants and trees. Racing cars were getting faster, too, increasing the chance of a big accident. The venue was consigned to history.

1952 Golden Gate Park Road Race

1952 Golden Gate Park Road Race

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Sunday 15th June 1952

65 years ago

Mercedes-Benz 300SLs finished 1-2 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the car of Karl Kling and Fritz Riess beating the car of Theo Helfrich and Helmut Niedermeyer. It was the first Le Mans win for Mercedes-Benz and first Le Mans win for an enclosed car. After the start Ferrari and Jaguar took the lead, André Simon and Alberto Ascari setting lap records in turn. Too much of a good thing, however: two hours into the race, the clutch of Ascari’s Ferrari 250 S gave up. Simon with the Ferrari 340 America, now led in front of the Robert Manzon / Jean Behra team with their 2.3-litre Gordini. Towards evening the two Frenchmen moved up into the leading position. Meanwhile, an alternator malfunction made itself felt on board the Kling / Klenk team’s 300 SL, forcing Kling to make a 10-minute pit stop; an hour later another 17-minute delay in the pits was called for. Finally, at half-past midnight Hans Klenk took off his helmet, his expression showing resignation and utter disappointment. And the little lightweight 2.3-litre Gordini was still leading. After a pit stop Pierre Levegh, with his 4.5-litre Talbot took over the first place, followed at a distance of 65 kilometres by the 300 SLs of the Helfrich / Niedermayr and Lang / Riess teams. By noon of the following day the number of contestants had shrunk to 19 vehicles. Levegh was still at the forefront, but stubbornly refused to allow his co-pilot Marchand to relieve him. Behind him the two 300 SLs thundered on reliably, lap after lap. Then, just 70 minutes before the end of the race, a damaged connecting rod forced Levegh to abandon between Arnage and Maison Blanche.The two 300 SLs were now unreachably far ahead. In the early hours of the morning the new front runner Theo Helfrich lost his leading position to Hermann Lang due to a driving error. Mercedes-Benz won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For Hermann Lang and Fritz Riess, to whom this success was largely due, it was the most important triumph of their careers. The double victory at Le Mans was preceded by a triple win in Bern on 18 May 1952. Further successes followed in that racing season: a four-fold victory at the Great Jubilee Prize at Nürburgring on 3 August 1952 and another double win in the 3rd Carrera Panamericana in Mexico (19 to 23 November 1952), the last great event of the extremely successful 1952 racing season.

Mercedes-Benz Wins 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans

Mercedes-Benz Wins 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans

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Saturday 20th September 1952

64 years ago

John Fitch drove a Jaguar XK120C to victory in the Seneca Cup race at Watkins Glen, New York, US.

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Monday 22nd December 1952

64 years ago

Chevrolet EX122 show car was completed. Unveiled at New York City's Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and shown as part of the traveling road show extravaganza known as Motorama, EX122 would go into production as the 1953 Corvette. Conceived by Harley J. Earl, the two seat convertible built by GM aimed at capturing the small car market from manufacturers like Jaguar and MG. All 1953 Corvettes were convertibles with black canvas tops, polo white with red interiors, built by hand and more eye-candy than sports car with their 'Blue Flame' six coupled with a two-speed automatic transmission. This prototype was retained by GM's engineering department and later used as a test bed for the new V-8 that would see production in 1955.

Chevrolet EX122 (1952)

Chevrolet EX122 (1952)

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Sunday 22nd March 1953

64 years ago

Laura Maxine Elmer, the future wife of Briggs Cunningham, drove a Jaguar to victory in the sports car race for ladies at Palm Springs, California, USA.

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Saturday 13th June 1953

64 years ago

(13-14th): The highlight of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 21st Grand Prix of Endurance was the introduction, by Jaguar Cars, of disc brakes on all four wheels of each C-type car, which gave Jaguar 1st, 2nd, and 4th place finishes. This race saw the death of American driver Tom Cole Jr. when his Ferrari was involved in an accident late in the race.

Jaguar C-type

Jaguar C-type

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Sunday 14th June 1953

64 years ago

Jaguar cars finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th in Le Mans 24-hour Grand Prix d’Edurance. At 4:00pm on the Saturday, the flag fell and the race was on. At the end of the first lap, the Allard led the field, which was closely bunched behind. The first few laps at Le Mans means very little and it was not until after the 30 minutes that the true picture really become close. Rolt had already put in a lap record at 96.48 mph, while Moss led the way, closely followed by Villoresi, Tom Cole, Rolt, John Fitch, with Karl Kling rounding out the top six. Sydney Allard early lead lasted hardly any time, and by lap four he had to retire with a collapsed rear suspension that severed a brake pipe. Moss was also in trouble. Although he had smoothly pulled away from the chasing pack, until a misfire set in. His subsequent unplanned pitstop for spark plugs, plus another later to the eventual cure – removal of a clogged fuel filter. At least Jaguar remembered the pit regulations. Ferrari topped up the brake system on Mike Hawthorn’s 340 MM before the specified 28 laps had been completed, thereby Hawthorn/Farina were disqualified. Whilst all this was going on, Villoresi had taken the lead. By 5:00pm, the order had settled down, and it became clear that the Jaguars, Ferraris and Alfa Romeos were the forces to be reckoned with. The Lancias and Talbots were quite outclassed, as was the Aston Martins. Consalvo Sanesi in his Alfa Romeo 6C, continued to lower the fastest lap, with Rolt moving into the lead for Jaguar. Just before 6:00pm, Fangio retired with engine troubles in his Alfa Romeo. The pace continued at a fantastic pace and now it was Jaguar setting it. At the three-hour mark, Rolt/Hamilton led from Ascari/Villoresi, followed by Cole and his partner, Luigi Chinetti, Sanesi with Piero Carini, and the Germans of Kling and Fritz Riess. Already these five cars had pull out a two lap advantage over the rest of the field. As darkness fell, the Ferrari-Jaguar battle continued unabated, between Ascari/Villeoresi and Rolt/Hamilton, with the Alfa Romeos close behind. During the early hours of the morning, Rolt/Hamilton continued to lead with no sign of tiring, while Ascari/Villoresi was now losing ground. By 3:00am, the rear suspension on Sanesi/Carini car has collapsed, and they were out, along with George Abecassis and Roy Salvadori as oil was getting into their Aston Martin’s clutch.Although the Ascari and Villeroesi still was taking the fight to the Jaguars, the car was lame, for it was suffering from a sticking clutch and drinking a lot of water. However, the Italians, in a win-or-burst attempt were driving flat out at all times, but it had no effect on Rolt and Hamilton. Their Jaguar now had a lap lead over the Ferrari. Despite the night being very clear and fine, dawn approached a certain amount of mist in the air, making driving conditions very tiring. The windscreen on the leading Jaguar had been smashed early in the race, and as result Rolt and Hamilton were suffering from wind buffering, but the pair kept up the pace, nevertheless, with an average speed of well over 105 mph. By the time the mist had cleared, Rolt and Hamilton still lead by a lap ahead of the Ascari and Villoresi’s lame Ferrari. Third place was over three adrift was the Cunningham of Fitch/Walters. A lap further back was the fast Jaguars of Moss/Walker and Whitehead/Stewart. It was during this period, when disaster struck at Maison Blanche, when Cole crashed his Ferrari and was killed instantly.Shortly after 8:30am, the leading Jaguar and Ferrari both made routine refuelling stops at the same time, while Moss moved up to third when the Cunningham came for its stop. At 9:00am, the lame Ferrari was dropping back, and was now back in fifth place, following clutch issues. Rolt and Hamilton were now clear up front, but they could not rest as the American of Fitch/Waters started to challenge the Moss/Walker Jaguar for second place. The lame Ferrari retired at 11:00 am having dropped down the order to sixth place. This left only the Marzotto car to challenge the Jaguars and the lead Cunningham. It could not do it and raced to finish in fifth, keeping the Gordini of Maurice Trintignant and Harry Schell behind them. With three hours to ago, the Jaguars were still lapping at over 105 mph, however the pace had slackened a little. In the closing stages the order did not change, as Hamilton took over from Rolt to complete the last stage of the race, they were followed home by Moss, Fitch, Stewart, Giannino Marzotto, and Trintignant. Rolt and Hamilton driving their British license plated Jaguar C-Type, to victory covering a distance of 2,555.04 miles (4,088.064 km), over 304 laps, averaging a speed of 106.46 mph (170.336 km/h). Their team-mates, Moss and Walker were four lap adrift at the finish, in second place was their C-Type. The podium was completed by Walters and Fitch, in their Cunningham-Chrysler C5-R. The third works Jaguar finished fourth, two laps behind the Americans. The fourth Jaguar, entered by Ecurie Francorchamps for Roger Laurent and Charles de Tornaco, although supported the works team, with a standard C-Type, but still finished in ninth place.The winning duo’s performance, other than not being bothered by a bird to the face at 130 mph, set a number of records: The first win with an average speed over 100 mph (105.85); The first win with a distance over 4000 kilometers (4088.064); The first win with more than 300 laps completed (304). Just to put these numbers in perspective, the total distance would have been enough to win the race in 1995.

Le Mans 1953

Le Mans 1953

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Wednesday 21st October 1953

63 years ago

A Jaguar XK120 driven by Norman Dewis set a stock car record of 172.412 mph at Jabbeke, Belgium.

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Sunday 13th June 1954

63 years ago

Al Keller made history in the first road-course event in NASCAR’s top series, notching the only win for Jaguar at the Linden, New Jersey (US) airport. Keller, whose only other win came in a Hudson, led 28 of 50 laps on the 2-mile runway layout. Joe Eubanks was second in a Hudson while pole-starter Buck Baker was third, one lap down. Keller’s car was one of 13 Jaguars in the 43-car field, which also featured MGs, an Austin Healey and a Porsche.

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Friday 30th July 1954

62 years ago

George Lister in Cambridge, England founded Lister Cars. Inspired by Cooper, he used a tubular ladder chassis, de Dion rear axle, and inboard drum brakes. Like others, he used a tuned MG engine and stock gearbox. It made its debut at the British Empire Trophy at Oulton Park in 1954, with former MG pilot Archie Scott Brown at the wheel. Later, Lister swapped in a Moore-tuned Bristol two-litre engine and knockoff wire wheels in place of the MG's discs to improve performance. For the sports car race supporting the 1954 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Scott Brown won the two-litre class and placed fifth overall behind only works Aston Martins. In 1955, a handful of Lister-Bristols were built with a new body built by an ex-Bristol employee with the aid of a wind tunnel. Despite its new fins and strakes, it was less successful than the original Lister-Bristol of 1954. Lister moved up to a six-cylinder motor from a Formula 2 Maserati A6GCS for their own car, while customers continued to receive the Bristol motor, sold for ₤3900. Lister also attempted single-seater racing with a multi-tube chassis powered by a Coventry-Climax motor and using an MG gearbox, but the car was a failure. For 1957, Lister redesigned the car around a Jaguar D-type inline-six, with an aerodynamic aluminium body; it was tested by racing journalist John Bolster, performing a 0–100 mph (0–160 km/h) run in 11.2 seconds. Driver Archie Scott Brown won the 1957 British Empire Trophy in the new Lister-Jaguar. Refined again in 1958, the Lister-Jaguar entered international competitions. Brown was killed that season when he crashed the Lister-Jaguar at Spa-Francorchamps. Lister also developed another single-seater car based on the Lister-Jaguar, for use in the unique Race of Two Worlds at Monza. Cars from this era are affectionately known as the "Lister Knobbly" cars, due to their curved bodywork. For 1959, Lister hired aerodynamicist Frank Costin who produced entirely new bodywork built around a new Chevrolet Corvette powerplant. However, the front-engine layout of the new Lister-Chevrolet was quickly eclipsed by the rear-engine layout of the new Cooper sports car. By the end of 1959, Lister withdrew from competition, although production of sports cars continued for customers. In 1963 Brian Lister was chosen by the Rootes Group to prepare the Sunbeam Tiger for the prototype category of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Ford V8-powered Tiger was still in the early stages of development while Lister were constructing the chassis at the Jensen factory. Lister beefed up the suspension and brakes, added an aerodynamic fastback hardtop with a more sloping windscreen and a Kamm tail. The 260 cu in (4,300 cc) Ford V8 engine was tuned by Carroll Shelby to give it 275 hp (205 kW) instead of the stock 160 hp (120 kW). The cars were designed with a top speed of 170 mph (270 km/h), but were developed in too short a time frame and both suffered engine failures. Rootes later received a refund for the engines. The two cars and one prototype mule still exist. The Lister company returned in 1986 as Lister Cars Ltd. based in Leatherhead, Surrey, with engineer Laurence Pearce tuning approximately 90 Jaguar XJSs, improving their capable top speed to over 200 mph and with an asking price of over £100,000. Success at this endeavour led the company to design a new sports racer, the Lister Storm. Launched in 1993, it would use the largest V12 engine ever fitted to a production road car up to that time, a 7.0 L Jaguar unit. The Storm was later developed for motorsport in various guises, winning the FIA GT Championship in 2000. Lister later developed a bespoked Le Mans Prototype, the Storm LMP in 2003. Brian Lister died in December 2014 aged 88.

Lister Jaguar Costin

Lister Jaguar Costin

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Sunday 13th March 1955

62 years ago

The Briggs Cunningham entered Jaguar D Type driven by Mike Hawthorn/Phil Walters was eventually declared winner of a confused Sebring 12 Hour World Sports Car Championship race. Protests and counter protests over scoring delayed confirmation of the Jaguar's win until 8 days later. The Carroll Shelby/Phil Hill driven Ferrari was awarded second.

Start of 1955 Sebring 12 Hour

Start of 1955 Sebring 12 Hour

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Wednesday 19th October 1955

61 years ago

Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark II (1955 - 1957) was unveiled at the London Motor Show. Production ran for only 2 short years, with just 199 cars built, the majority were saloons. Other body styles were the desirable fixed head coupe and the wind-in-the-hair drophead coupes. Initially, the engine was the same as for the DB2/4 model (VB6J), but as an optional extra, the special series engine (VB6J/...../L or L1) with larger valves and high lift camshafts which produced 165 bhp. The Jaguar Mark I was also introduced at the show, with the Roots Group announcing the Sunbeam Rapier.

Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark II

Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark II

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Saturday 24th March 1956

61 years ago

Ferrari, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Porsche and Lotus all entered the Sebring 12 Hour World Sports Car Championship race. Also on hand was an official team of 4.4 liter Corvettes. Moss' Aston Martin fell out early, the Mike Hawthorn/Desmond Titterington Jaguar led 6 hours before retiring with brake failure, and Carlos Menditeguy crashed. Juan Fangio and Eugenio Castellotti won in a brakeless Ferrari. 1955 Indy 500 winner Bob Sweikert impressed by taking third in a private Jaguar he co-drove with Jack Ensley.

1956 Sebring 12 Hours Grand Prix

1956 Sebring 12 Hours Grand Prix

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Sunday 29th July 1956

60 years ago

The British Jaguar team of Ninian Sanderson and Ron Flockhart won the Le Mans 24 hour race, driving a 3.4 litre Jaguar D, for the new Ecurie Ecosse team. This race also marked the golden jubilee of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) founded in 1906, however because of the previous year's terrible accident, celebrations were deferred to 1957 to go along with the imminent 25th anniversary of the race. Following the events of 1955, the front stretch and pit lane were redesigned in order to enhance driver and spectator safety. This involved a change to the layout of the Dunlop curve, shortening the overall length of the track by 31 meters.This race saw the death of French driver Louis Héry when his Monopole was involved in an accident early in the race.

1956 Le Mans 24 hour: Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson win in a Jaguar D-Type

1956 Le Mans 24 hour: Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson win in a Jaguar D-Type

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Tuesday 29th January 1957

60 years ago

Stirling Moss teamed with local hero Carlos Menditeguy in a 3.0 litre Maserati to win the Argentine 1000 Kilometers World Sports Car race. The race was a battle between Ferrari and Maserati teams since the Jaguar and Aston Martin teams did not enter the event. The 4.9 liter Ferrari Bolidos of Peter Collins/Luigi Musso and Juan Fangio/Eugenio Castellotti led, but both chewed up their rear axles, forcing retirement.

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Tuesday 12th February 1957

60 years ago

Jaguar’s Browns Lane factory and several hundred cars were destroyed by fire. They started building cars at Browns Lane in 1952, having acquired the huge Browns Lane plant, left over from WW II, from the U.K. government. The company was building exciting cars and needed more room to expand production. Timing was important. The move from their original Coventry factory at Foleshill was orchestrated with great care. Machinery was installed at each work area overnight or on weekends and materials supplied at the new site. The operators ended a shift in the old factory and started the next one at Browns Lane with no loss of production. Over the years, Jaguar continued to expand, acquiring Daimler in 1960, which gave them much-needed factory space at nearby Radford to build engines, axle assemblies and other components. A WWII Spitfire aircraft factory at Castle Bromwich, half an hour away, was re-made into Jaguar's body and paint plant. Trucks carrying bodies, engines and other components roared through the big iron gates on Browns Lane, feeding the assembly lines all day long. Browns Lane is a mainly residential street in the Coventry district of Allesley. For years, the locals put up with the truck traffic and the stream of new cars pouring in and out of the gates for their on-the-road test. However, as production inched up from four figures annually towards the mid-fives, enough was enough and protests were organized. Eventually, with Coventry planning permission, Jaguar closed the Browns Lane gates and opened a new entrance at the rear of the property through an area called Coundon Wedge. With heavy investment by Ford, the production lines were modernized and car quality improved to J.D. Power Award-winning standards. The new operation was so quiet that you could hold a conversation next to the assembly line where, in the old days, the racket called for ear plugs. In the end, however, production at Browns Lane was defeated by the lack of a rail line. Jaguar's new X-Type factory at Halewood had its own siding and a rail link was built for the Castle Bromwich plant. Cars moved off the production line and traveled a couple of hundred yards to be loaded on rail cars and taken to the docks. Much more efficient than the dozens of diesel trucks passing through Browns Lane every day. Manufacturing at the historic plant stopped in July 2005. Though the offices, experimental facilities and woodshop stayed for a while, by the end of 2006 the plant was empty and up for sale.

Browns Lane fire, 1957

Browns Lane fire, 1957

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Saturday 22nd March 1958

59 years ago

The Ferrari of Peter Collins and Phil Hill won the Sebring 12 Hour World Sports Car Championship race. The Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar and Aston Martin teams returned to WSC competition, and the Aston Martin of Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks led for 4 hours before falling off the pace.

Start of 1958 Sebring 12 Hour Race

Start of 1958 Sebring 12 Hour Race

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Tuesday 20th May 1958

59 years ago

The Austin-Healey ‘Frogeye’ Sprite was announced to the press by BMC in Monte Carlo, just before the start of that year’s Monaco Grand Prix. Designed by the Donald Healey Motor Company, which received a royalty payment from manufacturers BMC, it was intended to be a low-cost model (£669) that ‘a chap could keep in his bike shed’. The Sprite quickly became affectionately known as the "frogeye" in the UK and the "bugeye" in the US, because its headlights were prominently mounted on top of the bonnet, inboard of the front wings. The car's designers had intended that the headlights could be retracted, with the lenses facing skyward when not in use; a similar arrangement was used many years later on the Porsche 928. But cost cutting by BMC led to the flip-up mechanism being deleted, therefore the headlights were simply fixed in a permanently upright position, giving the car its most distinctive feature. The body was styled by Gerry Coker, with subsequent alterations by Les Ireland following Coker's emigration to the US in 1957. The car's distinctive frontal styling bore a strong resemblance to the defunct American 1951 Crosley Super Sport. 48,987 "frogeye" Sprites were made. The problem of providing a rigid structure to an open-topped sports car was resolved by Barry Bilbie, Healey's chassis designer, who adapted the idea provided by the Jaguar D-type, with rear suspension forces routed through the bodyshell's floor pan. The Sprite's chassis design was the world's first volume-production sports car to use unitary construction, where the sheet metal body panels (apart from the bonnet) take many of the structural stresses. The original metal gauge (thickness of steel) of the rear structure specified by Bilbie was reduced by the Austin Design Office during prototype build, however during testing at MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association) distortion and deformation of the rear structure occurred and the original specification was reinstated. The two front chassis legs projecting forward from the passenger compartment mean the shell is not a full monocoque. The front sheet-metal assembly, including the bonnet (hood) and wings, was a one-piece unit, hinged from the back, that swung up to allow access to the engine compartment. The 43 bhp, 948 cc OHV engine (coded 9CC) was derived from the Austin A35 and Morris Minor 1000 models, also BMC products, but upgraded with twin 1 1⁄8 inch SU carburettors. The rack and pinion steering was derived from the Morris Minor 1000 and the front suspension from the Austin A35. The front suspension was a coil spring and wishbone arrangement, with the arm of the Armstrong lever shock absorber serving as the top suspension link. The rear axle was both located and sprung by quarter-elliptic leaf springs, again with lever-arm shock absorbers and top links. There were no exterior door handles; the driver and passenger were required to reach inside to open the door. There was also no boot lid, owing to the need to retain as much structural integrity as possible, and access to the spare wheel and luggage compartment was achieved by tilting the seat-backs forward and reaching under the rear deck, a process likened to potholing by many owners, but which resulted in a large space available to store soft baggage. Engine: 1958–1961: 948 cc A-Series I4, 43 hp (32 kW) at 5200 rpm and 52 lbf·ft (71 Nm) at 3300 rpm A car was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1958. It had a top speed of 82.9 mph (133.4 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 20.5 seconds. Fuel consumption of 43 miles per imperial gallon (6.6 L/100 km; 36 mpg‑US) was recorded. The test car cost £678, including taxes of £223. The BMC Competition Department entered Austin Healey Sprites in major international races and rallies, their first major success coming when John Sprinzel and Willy Cave won their class on the 1958 Alpine Rally. In 1959, the Sprite was introduced to the U.S. market by racing and winning its class in the 12-hour race at Sebring. Private competitors also competed with much success in Sprites. Because of its affordability and practicality, the Austin Healey Sprite was developed into a formidable competition car, assuming many variants by John Sprinzel, Speedwell and WSM. The Sebring Sprite became the most iconic of the racing breed of Austin Healey Sprites. Many owners use their Austin Healey Sprites in competition today, fifty years after its introduction.

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Wednesday 15th July 1959

58 years ago

The first Jaguar Mark 2 saloon was produced. The Mark 2 gained a reputation as a capable car among criminals and law enforcement alike; the 3.8 Litre model being particularly fast with its 220 bhp (164 kW) engine driving the car from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.5 seconds and to a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h) with enough room for five adults. Popular as getaway cars, they were also employed by the police to patrol British motorways. The Mark 2 is also well known as the car driven by fictional TV detective Inspector Morse played by John Thaw; Morse's car was the version with 2.4 L engine, steel wheels and Everflex vinyl roof. In November 2005, the car used in the television series sold for more than £100,000 following a total ground-up rebuild (prior to this, in its recommissioned state in 2002 after coming out of storage, it had made £53,000 at auction – £45,000 more than an equivalent without the history). In the original novels by Colin Dexter, Morse had driven a Lancia but Thaw insisted on his character driving a British car in the television series. In the late 1980s to early 1990's the Character Joey Boswell drove a black Jaguar 240 in the British TV comedy "Bread".

Jaguar Mark 2 sales brochure

Jaguar Mark 2 sales brochure

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Friday 2nd October 1959

57 years ago

The Jaguar Mark 2 saloon was introduced. The Mk2 of 1959 was a logical development to the original sports saloon, which then became known as the Mk1. While the shell was basically the same, clever refreshing by William Lyons with a broader grille, re-contoured rear end and more glass area modernised the looks, which still delight to this day. Inside the instruments were sited in front of the driver, there were new seats (with those famous picnic tables), a better heater (well, sort of) and a raft of other improvements. Mechanically, the biggest change was to the rear suspension where a wider track went a long way to counter the skittish behaviour of the original while it’s often forgotten that the front end used re-angled wishbones at the same time to further tighten handling. The 2.4 and 3.4 models were quickly joined in 1960 with the now iconic 3.8-litre model, using the legendary engine that was to soon feature in the E-Type, albeit in lower 220bhp tune for the saloon. But the car did have a limited slip diff plus the option of a higher-geared power steering system.The Mark 2 gained a reputation as a capable car among criminals and law enforcement alike; the 3.8 Litre model being particularly fast with its 220 bhp (164 kW) engine driving the car from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 8.5 seconds and to a top speed of 125 mph (201 km/h) with enough room for five adults. Popular as getaway cars, they were also employed by the police to patrol British motorways.The Mark 2 is also well known as the car driven by fictional TV detective Inspector Morse played by John Thaw; Morse's car was the version with 2.4 L engine, steel wheels and Everflex vinyl roof. In November 2005, the car used in the television series sold for more than £100,000 following a total ground-up rebuild (prior to this, in its recommissioned state in 2002 after coming out of storage, it had made £53,000 at auction – £45,000 more than an equivalent without the history). In the original novels by Colin Dexter, Morse had driven a Lancia but Thaw insisted on his character driving a British car in the television series.

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Sunday 19th June 1960

57 years ago

BSA sold Daimler to Jaguar Cars for £3.4 million, which continued Daimler's line and added a Daimler variant of its Mark II sports saloon. Jaguar discontinued the six-cylinder Majestic in 1962 and the SP250 in 1964, but Daimler's core product, the old-fashioned, heavy but fast 4.5 L V8 Majestic Major, was continued throughout Jaguar's independent ownership of Daimler. In 1961 Daimler introduced the DR450, a long-wheelbase limousine version of the Majestic Major. The DR450 also continued in production beyond the end of Jaguar's independent ownership of Daimler. 864 examples of the long-wheelbase DR450 were sold, as opposed to 1180 examples of the Majestic Major saloon. The 4.5 litre saloon and limousine were the last Daimlers not designed by Jaguar. In 1966 Jaguar was merged into the British Motor Corporation and in 1968 with British Leyland. Under these companies, Daimler became an upscale trim level for Jaguar cars except for the 1968-1992 Daimler DS420 limousine, which had no Jaguar equivalent despite being fully Jaguar-based. Jaguar was split off from British Leyland in 1984 and bought by the Ford Motor Company in 1989. Ford stopped using the Daimler name on Jaguars (or any other cars) in 2007 and sold Jaguar to Tata Motors in 2008. Tata bought the Daimler and Lanchester brands with Jaguar, but has not used them thus far; as of 2015, the brand appears to be dormant.

Daimler magazine advert early 1960s

Daimler magazine advert early 1960s

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Thursday 30th June 1960

57 years ago

Skid marks 290 metres (950 ft) in length were made by a Jaguar car involved in an accident on the M1 near Luton – the longest recorded on a public road. Evidence given in the subsequent High Court case indicated a speed ‘in excess of 100 mph before the application of the brakes’.

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Sunday 31st July 1960

56 years ago

Armstrong Siddeley was a British engineering group that operated during the first half of the 20th century, ceased the production of motor cars. It was formed in 1919 and is best known for the production of luxury motor cars and aircraft engines. The company was created following the purchase by Armstrong Whitworth of Siddeley-Deasy, a manufacturer of fine motor cars, that were marketed to the top echelon of society. After the merge of companies this focus on quality continued throughout in the production of cars, aircraft engines, gearboxes for tanks and buses, rocket and torpedo motors, and the development of railcars. Company mergers and takeovers with Hawker Aviation and Bristol Aero Engines saw the continuation of the car production but the production of cars ceased in August 1960. The company was absorbed into the Rolls-Royce conglomerate who were interested in the aircraft and aircraft engine business and eventually the remaining spares and all Motor Car interests were sold to the Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club Ltd who now own the patents, designs, copyrights and trademarks, including the name Armstrong Siddeley. The first car produced was a fairly massive machine a fairly massive machine, a 5-litre 30 hp. A smaller 18 hp appeared in 1922 and a 2-litre 14 hp was introduced in 1923. 1928 saw the company's first 15 hp six; 1929 saw the introduction of a 12 hp vehicle. This was a pioneering year for the marque, during which it first offered the Wilson preselector gearbox as an optional extra; it became standard issue on all cars from 1933. In 1930 the company marketed four models, of 12, 15, 20, and 30 hp, the last costing £1450. The company's rather staid image was endorsed during the 1930s by the introduction of a range of six-cylinder cars with ohv engines, though a four-cylinder 12 hp was kept in production until 1936. In 1933, the 5-litre six-cylinder Siddeley Special was announced, featuring a Hiduminium aluminium alloy engine; this model cost £950. Car production continued at a reduced rate throughout 1940, and a few were assembled in 1941. The week that World War II ended in Europe, Armstrong Siddeley introduced its first post-war models; these were the Lancaster four-door saloon and the Hurricane drophead coupe. The names of these models echoed the names of aircraft produced by the Hawker Siddeley Group (the name adopted by the company in 1935) during the war. These cars all used a 2-litre six-cylinder (16 hp) engines, increased to 2.3-litre (18 hp) engines in 1949. From 1949 to 1952 two commercial variants of the 18 hp cars were produced, primarily for export. The Utility Coupé was a conventional coupe utility style vehicle, while the Station Coupé was effectively a dual cab vehicle, although it still retained only two doors. However, it did have two rows of seating to accommodate up to four adults. From 1953 the company produced the Sapphire, with a 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine. In 1956, the model range was expanded with the addition of the 234 (a 2.3-litre four-cylinder) and the 236 (with the older 2.3-litre six-cylinder engine). The Sapphire 346 sported a bonnet mascot in the shape of a Sphinx with namesake Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire jet engines attached. The 234 and 236 Sapphires might have looked to some of marque's loyal customers like a radical departure from the traditional Armstrong Siddeley appearance. However, in truth, they were simply too conservative in a period of rapidly developing automotive design. If the "baby Sapphire" brought about the beginning of the end for Armstrong Siddeley, it was because Jaguar had launched the unitary-construction 2.4 saloon in 1955, which was quicker, significantly cheaper, and much better-looking than the lumpy and frumpy 234/236 design. The last model produced by Armstrong Siddeley was 1958's Star Sapphire, with a 4-litre engine, and automatic transmission. The Armstrong Siddeley was a casualty of the 1960 merger with Bristol; the last car left the Coventry factory in 1960.

Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire

Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire

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Wednesday 15th March 1961

56 years ago

Jaguar’s E-Type sports car was presented to the world's press at the restaurant du Parc des Eaux Vives in Geneva by Sir William Lyons. Surrounded by up to 200 members of the press, the car caused a sensation, and so did the price. At £2097 for the roadster and £2196 for the fixed head coupe, it was considerably cheaper than similar performing cars from Ferrari, Aston Martin and Chevrolet, and was on a par with much slower cars from Porsche and AC. In fact, the E-types was initially sold at a cheaper price than the outgoing XK150.The powertrain, which was carried over from the XK150S, was a 3781 cc XK engine mated to a four-speed Moss transmission, without overdrive. Jaguar claimed the E-type engine produced 265bhp (SAE) at 5500 rpm, but this was – to say the least – an exaggeration. The cast iron cylinder block was actually manufactured by Leyland Motors in Lancashire, a task it had performed since 1948, predating its involvement in the management of Jaguar. The aluminium cylinder head came from two sources, West Yorkshire Foundries of York and William Mills of Wednesbury, Staffordshire. The XK engine was fed by triple 2in SU HD8 SU carburettors. The body employed a central monocoque made of steel, a year before the monocoque chassis made its appearance in Formula One racing. The Bob Knight designed independent rear suspension, and the careful use of rubber, helped suppress noise and vibration. Initially, the car was available in two forms, the roadster – styled by Malcolm Sayer – and the fixed head coupe (FHC), featuring an opening rear hatchback, which also had some input from Sir William Lyons and Bob Blake. The E-type was the only Jaguar car produced during Lyons’ active involvement in the running of the company, not wholly styled by the boss himself. Enzo Ferrari called it; “The most beautiful car ever made!”

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Saturday 15th April 1961

56 years ago

The Jaguar E-type made its racing debut with Graham Hill winning a race at Oulton Park, England.

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Wednesday 18th October 1961

55 years ago

The Jaguar Mark X saloon was unveiled at the London Motor Show, Britain’s biggest car so far with unitary body construction. Like the E-type, it was remarkable value for money at £2,256 undercutting its nearest rival, the similarly specified Lagonda Rapide by more than half. A convertible version of the Aston Martin DB4 was also presented for the first time.

Jaguar Mark X

Jaguar Mark X

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Wednesday 14th February 1962

55 years ago

The Jaguar Mark X was introduced to the US market.

Jaguar Mark X brochure

Jaguar Mark X brochure

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Saturday 23rd March 1963

54 years ago

Ferrari dominated, taking the first six places in the Sebring 12 Hour World Sports Car Championship race. John Surtees and Ludovico Scarfiotti drove a new 3.0 liter 250P to victory with another 250P of Willy Mairesse/Nino Vaccarella second. The American challenge of Cobra, Corvette and Chaparral collapsed and the new Jaguar E-Type of Bruce McLaren and Walt Hansgen had brake trouble to set up the Ferrari sweep.

1963 Sebring 12 Hours start

1963 Sebring 12 Hours start

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Wednesday 16th October 1963

53 years ago

The Marcos GT was presented at the 1963 Earls Court Motor Show. The chassis was constructed from wood clothed in a glass fibre shell. With a low roof line and a long sleek long bonnet it was reminiscent of the E-type Jaguar and Ferrari GTO. It had a Volvo 1800cc engine and De Dion sophisticated rear suspension. Production costs were high and this changed in 1966 to a more conventional suspension and a Ford V4 engine, and optional more powerful Ford V6 and Volvo 3 litre straight 6 achieving speeds in excess of 120mph. The export version to North America used the Volvo engine for exhaust emission regulations. The Vanden Plas Princess 1100d was shown to gauge public reaction. The Show car was converted by hand from an MG1100, with luxury equipment including a burr walnut-veneer dashboard, housing two round instruments, door cappings and picnic tables; Connolly hide upholstery, Wilton carpets and West of England cloth headlining.

Marcos GT

Marcos GT

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Tuesday 21st June 1966

51 years ago

Singer Tom Jones needed 14 stitches in his forehead after his Jaguar was involved in a car crash in Marble Arch, London.

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Monday 11th July 1966

51 years ago

British Motor Corporation (BMC) and Jaguar announced they were to merge as British Motor Holdings.

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Tuesday 23rd August 1966

50 years ago

Jaguar's Browns Lane plant produced the first XJ16, now christened the Jaguar 420. Autocar magazine was the first to get their hands on a Jaguar 420 in March 1967. GKV 67D was a manual overdrive car fitted with the optional Marles Varamatic power steering and the magazine was impressed with what they found. It commented: ‘The ideal cruising speed seems to be just over 100mph… Engine silence is impressive in the lower speed ranges… Directional stability is very good indeed and cross winds have little effect; the car runs dead straight, calling for minimum steering correction, right up to maximum speed.’ The magazine concluded by saying: ‘Eagerly awaited since its announcement, the 420 in every way lives up to high expectations. It has an extraordinary dual character in that it can at one moment provide stately, luxurious travel for an elderly party, and behave like a high performance sports car the next.’

Jaguar 420

Jaguar 420

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Friday 30th September 1966

50 years ago

Mercury Cougar was introduced as "America's first luxury/sports car at a popular price." Slotted between the Ford Mustang and the Ford Thunderbird, the Cougar was the performance icon and eventually the icon for the Mercury name for several decades. The Cougar was available in two models (base and XR-7) and only came in one body style (a two-door hardtop, no center or B-pillar). Engine choices ranged from the 200 hp (149 kW) 289 cu in (4.7 L) two-barrel V8 to the 335 hp (250 kW) 390 cu in (6.4 L) four-barrel V8. A performance package called the GT was available on both the base and XR-7 Cougars. This included the 390 cu in (6.4 L) V8, as well as a performance handling package and other performance enhancements. The 1967 Cougar, with the internal code T-7, went on sale September 30, 1966. It was based on the 1967 refaced first-generation Mustang,[4] but with a 3-in-longer (76 mm) wheelbase and new sheet metal. A full-width divided grille with hidden headlamps and vertical bars defined the front fascia—it was sometimes called the electric shaver grille. At the rear, a similar treatment had the license plate surrounded on both sides with vertically slatted grillework concealing tail lights (with sequential turn signals), a styling touch taken from the Thunderbird. A deliberate effort was made to give the car a more "European" flavor than the Mustang, at least to American buyers' eyes, drawing inspiration from the popular Jaguar E-Type. Aside from the base model and the luxurious XR-7, only one performance package was available for either model: the sporty GT. The XR-7 model brought a simulated wood-grained dashboard with a full set of black-faced competition instruments and toggle switches, an overhead console, a T-type center automatic transmission shifter (if equipped with the optional Merc-O-Matic transmission), and leather-vinyl upholstery. This was the only generation with covered headlights. In 1967 and 1968, they were deployed using a vacuum canister system that opened and closed the headlamp doors. For 1969 and 1970, a redesigned vacuum system kept the doors down when a vacuum condition existed in the lines, provided by the engine when it was running. If a loss of vacuum occurred, the doors would retract up so that the headlights were visible if the system should fail. The GT package, included Ford's 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE-series big block , along with an upgraded suspension to handle the extra weight of the big engine and give better handling, more powerful brakes, better tires, and a low-restriction exhaust system. Introduced with the music of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' "The Work Song", the Cougar was a sales success from its introduction and helped the Lincoln-Mercury Division's 1967 sales figures substantially. The Cougar was Motor Trend magazine's car of the year for 1967. The Cougar continued to be a Mustang twin for seven years, and could be optioned as a muscle car. Nevertheless, the focus continued away from performance and toward luxury, evolving it into a plush pony car. The signs were becoming clear as early as 1970, when special options styled by fashion designer Pauline Trigère appeared, a houndstooth-patterned vinyl roof and matching upholstery, available together or separately. A facelift in 1971 did away with the hidden headlights and hidden wipers were adopted. Between 1969 and 1973, Cougar convertibles were offered. The 1968 model year included federally-mandated side marker lights and front outboard shoulder belts (sash belt, shoulder harness) among some minor changes. A 210 hp (157 kW) 302 cu in (4.9 L) two-barrel V8 was the base engine on all XR-7s and early standard Cougars. Three new engines were added to the option list this year: the 230 hp (172 kW) 302 cu in (4.9 L), four-barrel V8; the 335 hp (250 kW) 428 cu in (7.0 L), four-barrel V8; and the 390 hp (291 kW) 427 cu in (7.0 L), four-barrel V8. In addition, the 289 cu in (4.7 L) engine was made standard on base cars without the interior decor group midway through the model year. Comfort and performance options available for the Cougar included the "Tilt-Away" steering wheel that swung up and out of the way when the driver's door was opened (and the ignition was off), and from 1971, a power driver's seat. The new option appeared in 1968: Ford's first factory-installed electric sunroof. It was available on any hardtop Cougar, but rarely ordered on early cars. Mercury also made limited versions of Cougar in the performance-market segment. The XR7-G, named for Mercury road racer Dan Gurney, included performance add-ons, such as a hood scoop, Lucas (brand) fog lamps, and hood pins. Engine selection was limited to the 302, 390, and 428 V8s. A total of 619 XR7-Gs were produced, and only 14 Gs were produced with the 428 CJ. The 7.0-L GT-E package was available on both the standard and XR-7 Cougars and came with the 427 V8. The 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air was available in limited numbers on the GT-E beginning 1 April 1968.[5] Conservatively rated at 335 hp (250 kW), the 428 Cobra Jet could produce more than the (306 kW (410 hp)) from the factory. A total of 394 GT-Es were manufactured, 357 with the 427 and 37 with the 428.[6] The GT-E came with power front disc brakes as standard.

Mercury Cougar

Mercury Cougar

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Thursday 13th October 1966

50 years ago

The Jaguar 420 (pronounced "four-twenty") was introduced at the London Motor Show and produced for two years as the ultimate expression of a series of "compact sporting saloons" offered by Jaguar throughout the 1960s, all of which shared the same wheelbase. Developed from the Jaguar S-Type, the 420 cost around £200 more than that model and effectively ended buyer interest in it, although the S-Type continued to be sold alongside the 420/Sovereign until both were supplanted by the Jaguar XJ6 late in 1968. Autocar magazine was the first to get their hands on a Jaguar 420 in March 1967 and they were impressed with what they found: ‘The ideal cruising speed seems to be just over 100 mph… Engine silence is impressive in the lower speed ranges… Directional stability is very good indeed and cross winds have little effect; the car runs dead straight, calling for minimum steering correction, right up to maximum speed.’ The magazine concluded by saying: ‘Eagerly awaited since its announcement, the 420 in every way lives up to high expectations. It has an extraordinary dual character in that it can at one moment provide stately, luxurious travel for an elderly party, and behave like a high performance sports car the next.’ Top speed was an impressive 123 mph, 0-60 mph was reached in 9.9 seconds and overall fuel consumption was 15.7 mpg. Rival organ, Motor, had its say in May 1967 when they tested a 420 automatic. The men from Motor extracted a top speed of 115 mph out of the car and an overall fuel consumption of 15.4 mpg. The 0 to 60mph acceleration was recorded in two different settings of the Borg Warner type 8 auto box. In D1 it was a mere 9.4 seconds, in D2 a longer 11.8 seconds. It commented: ‘As a Grand Tourer – far more grandiose, in fact, than many so called GT cars – the 420 is superb and at its impressive best on a long distance journey when it will carry four adults of medium height in great comfort, with room to stow all their luggage in a big boot.’

Jaguar 420

Jaguar 420

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Wednesday 19th October 1966

50 years ago

The London Motor Show opened with each end of the motoring spectrum exhibited. The best of British luxury car manufacturing was represented by the 6 cylinder Jaguar 420 (£1,930), 420G (£2,238) and their sister model the Daimler Sovereign (£2,121). The Jensen Interceptor (£3,743) was launched to replace the C-V8; the first Jensen to use steel, rather than fibreglass, panels, but again used a Chrysler 6.2-litre V8. Reliant stayed with fibreglass, however, with its revised Scimitar, a more affordable £1,516 despite a new Ford-sourced 3.0-litre V6. Cheaper yet was the Triumph GT6 (£985), a Spitfire-based coupe and the Vitesse's six-cylinder, 95bhp 2.0-litre engine. More practical family cars were also present, too. The Mk 2 Ford Cortina was set to emulate the runaway success of its predecessor and visitors were impressed by the German Taunus engined Ford Zephyr V4, costing just £949. This engine also made its debut in a quirky Swedish import - the Saab 96 V4, Saab's first four-stroke car (£801). With prices from just over £800, the Hillman Hunter, launched to replace the old Super Minx and a sister model to the latest Singer Vogue, promising 90mph and 30mpg, also on display. The twin-carburettor version of the 2000, the Rover 2000TC, previously only made for export, perhaps stole the show. This £1,415, 114bhp sports saloon was capable of 112mph and 0-60mph in 11.5 seconds.

Singer Vogue

Singer Vogue

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Tuesday 26th September 1967

49 years ago

The Jaguar 240 and 340, relabelled Mark 2's, were launched as interim models to fill the gap until the introduction of the XJ6 in September 1968. Production of the 340 ceased with the introduction of the XJ6 but the 240 continued as a budget-priced model until April 1969; its price of £1,364 was only £20 more than the first 240 in 1956.

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Thursday 5th October 1967

49 years ago

Jaguar announced a revised E-type, known retrospectively as the Series 1½. This was to meet impending US emissions legislation due to come into force on 1st January 1968, and this was after it had been delayed some four months by protests from British manufacturers. Jaguar spent £250,000 to enable the E-type to meet these new regulations. The most obvious revision to the Series 1½ was the removal of the perspex headlamp covers and the moving forward of the headlamps by 2.5in. This was another bastardization of Malcolm Sayer’s design, although the Perspex covers did diffuse the headlights. According to Jaguar’s press release of the time, a total of 21 changes were made to the export cars to satisfy US regulations. In October 1967, Autocar magazine tested the latest revised E-type roadster. The car performed best with the hood up, with a top speed of 140mph. With the hood down, it could only manage 130mph. The 0-60mph time was 7.4seconds.

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Tuesday 14th May 1968

49 years ago

British Leyland Motor Corporation was formed through the merger of British Motor Holdings Ltd. and Leyland Motor Corp. Ltd. It was partly nationalised in 1975, when the UK government created a holding company called British Leyland, later BL, in 1978. With headquarters in London, the company had interests in about 95 percent of the British automotive industry, and it manufactured vehicles ranging from commercial trucks and buses to private automobiles, construction equipment, and engines.Leyland, initially the dominant partner in the merger, was the first British manufacturer to concentrate on commercial vehicles. James Sumner of Leyland, Lancashire, built his first steam-driven wagon in 1884; and in 1896 he allied with the wealthy Spurrier family to set up the Lancashire Steam Motor Company, renamed Leyland Motors Ltd. in 1907, after its first experiments with gasoline engines. Except briefly in 1920–23, the company did not produce automobiles until 1961, when it acquired Triumph Motor Co. Ltd. (Triumph had begun in 1903 as a motorcycle manufacturer and began making cars in 1923.) In 1966 Leyland merged with another car manufacturer, The Rover Co. Ltd. (founded 1904), and the combined companies became Leyland Motor Corp. Ltd. The first chairman of the new British Leyland in 1968, Donald Gresham Stokes, Baron Stokes, had also been the old Leyland’s last chairman. British Motor Holdings Ltd. had a much more complex history, but basically it grew out of three auto manufacturers: Morris, Austin, and Jaguar. Early in the 20th century William Richard Morris (later 1st Viscount Nuffield) founded a garage in Oxford, which after 1910 became known as Morris Garages Limited. In the 1920s, with Cecil Kimber as general manager, it began producing the popular M.G. cars, which were manufactured until 1980, when they were discontinued because of rising production costs. The M.G. Car Company was created in 1927 and was absorbed by another Morris car company, Morris Motors Ltd., in 1935. In that same year, another organization, Wolseley Motors Ltd. (founded in 1901 and taken over by Morris in 1927), was similarly absorbed. In 1952 another venerable car manufacturer, Austin Motor Co. Ltd. (founded in 1905 by Herbert Austin), merged with Morris Motors to form British Motor Corporation Ltd. It continued to turn out Austin, Morris, M.G., and Wolseley cars and the highly successful “Mini” series. Although production of the Mini Cooper ended in 1971, the model was relaunched in 1990 and by 2001 was selling internationally through parent company Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW). The first Jaguar car was produced in 1936 by S.S. Cars Ltd. (founded 1932 in Coventry), which was renamed Jaguar Cars Ltd. in 1945 both to avoid the accidental reminder of the German SS and to highlight the name of the make that had proved to be most successful. Jaguar in 1960 bought Daimler Co. Ltd. (founded 1893), makers of limousines and other prestige cars; and in 1961 it bought Guy Motors Ltd. (founded 1919), a commercial-vehicle manufacturer. In 1966 Jaguar amalgamated with the Austin-Morris interests (i.e., the British Motor Corporation) to form British Motor Holdings Ltd., which two years later merged with Leyland to become British Leyland; in 1984 Jaguar was sold. With two successive name changes, British Leyland became BL Limited in 1979. The company assumed its current name in 1982. In 1981 BL entered into a joint venture with Honda Motor Company, Ltd., of Japan to produce Japanese-designed Triumph Acclaims in the United Kingdom. BL began selling its interests in the 1980s, and by 1990 the Ford Motor Company had acquired full ownership of Jaguar. BMW purchased Rover in 1994 but later sold the sport utility vehicle (SUV) brand to Ford, which continued to develop the Land Rover line of SUVs as part of its Premier Automotive Group. That group also comprised Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Volvo.

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Friday 31st May 1968

49 years ago

British Motor Holdings (BMH) merged with LMVC (Leyland Motor Vehicle Corporation) to become British Leyland Motor Corporation. It was partly nationalised in 1975, when the UK government created a holding company called British Leyland, later BL, in 1978. It incorporated much of the British-owned motor vehicle industry, which constituted 40 percent of the UK car market, with roots going back to 1895. Despite containing profitable marques such as Jaguar, Rover and Land Rover, as well as the best-selling Mini, British Leyland had a troubled history. In 1986 it was renamed as the Rover Group, later to become MG Rover Group, which went into administration in 2005, bringing mass car production by British-owned manufacturers to an end. MG and the Austin, Morris and Wolseley marques became part of China's SAIC, with whom MG Rover attempted to merge prior to administration. Today, MINI, Jaguar Land Rover and Leyland Trucks (now owned by BMW Group, TATA and Paccar, respectively) are the three most prominent former parts of British Leyland which are still active in the automotive industry, with SAIC-owned MG Motor continuing a small presence at the Longbridge site. Certain other related ex-BL businesses, such as Unipart), continue to operate independently.

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Tuesday 11th June 1968

49 years ago

Perhaps one of the most popular and recognisable post-war British limousines, the Daimler DS420, was officially launched. No royal wedding or state procession would be complete without a long line of these stately cars quietly wafting along. Production of the DS420 lasted until 1992 and many of the 4116 examples were exported to embassies, foreign royal households and business users. The DS420 was originally constructed on a modified Jaguar 420G floorpan and featured the same 4.2 litre, twin cam six cylinder engine. All models had automatic gearboxes, independent suspension and thankfully power steering. Although most DS420s were built as closed limousines a handful of open landaulettes were also built to special order.

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Thursday 26th September 1968

48 years ago

The XJ6 made its public debut at the Paris Motor Show. Sir William Lyons himself appeared in the advertisements for the car, declaring it to be the finest saloon Jaguar had ever made. The 4.2-litre automatic with power steering cost only $6,465 in the US. it had a top speed of 127mph and could accelerate from 0 to 60mph in a respectable 8.8 seconds.

Jaguar XJ6 series1

Jaguar XJ6 series1

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Wednesday 16th October 1968

48 years ago

Princess Alexandra performed the opening ceremony of the London Motor Show at Earls Court where the Jaguar XJ6 and Austin 3-litre were introduced. A bigger-engined version of the Morgan 4/4, the Plus Four morphed into the Plus Eight in July of 1968 when the revised model with a Rover V-8 engine was also shown.

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Wednesday 22nd October 1969

47 years ago

The Datsun 240Z sportscar was introduced. The first draft of the Datsun 240Z was created by German car designer Dr. Albrecht Graf von Goertz, a man who co-designed both the BMW 507 and the Porsche 911. The car was to be a joint project between Datusn and Yamaha but a lasting agreement couldn’t be reached and as such, plans for the car were put on ice. Nissan’s Chief Designer Yoshihiko Matsuo couldn’t bear to see the project on the shelf for too long and finally managed to get approval to build the car as a 100% Nissan project. The original design was modified but the influences of both the E-Type Jaguar and Porsche 911 are still quite apparent in the finished styling. Performance from its rorty 2.4-litre power unit that owed a lot to the BMC C-Series and well as Mercedes-Benz's straight-six, was more than ample. Being a Datsun, reliability was a given, but the agile (if tail-happy) handling was a pleasant surprise. During its five year run, more than 150,000 were produced, but survivors are now seriously appreciating. Rust has been its main enemy, so be careful when buying, even if you're buying a restored example.

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Wednesday 20th January 1971

46 years ago

The Jaguar XJ13 prototype was taken to MIRA for some publicity filming with Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis at the wheel. Unfortunately, a rear tyre (which had been plugged to cure a slow leak) deflated at speed, the car rolled heavily and was nearly destroyed although Norman Dewis was fortunately unharmed. The wreck of the car was put back into storage and later restored by the company.

Jaguar XJ13

Jaguar XJ13

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Monday 29th March 1971

46 years ago

The Jaguar E-type Series III was launched. It was introduced to showcase the new Jaguar 5.3-litre V12 engine and is easily identified by the wider track, wider wheels and tyres, slightly flared front and rear wheel arches, and large cross-slatted front grille. The distinctive rear badge proclaimed it as an E-Type V12.

Jaguar E-Type Series III

Jaguar E-Type Series III

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Monday 3rd May 1971

46 years ago

The first Cannonball Baker, more popularly known as the Cannonball Run, began in New York City. It was an unofficial, if not outlawed, motor race from New York City to Los Angeles. Conceived by car-magazine writer and racer Brock Yates and fellow Car and Driver editor Steve Smith, the run was not a real competitive race with high risks, but intended both as a celebration of the United States Interstate Highway system and a protest against strict traffic laws that were coming into effect at the time. The first running was accomplished in a 1971 Dodge Custom Sportsman van, called the "Moon Trash II". The race was run four more times, on November 15, 1971; November 13, 1972; April 23, 1975; and April 1, 1979. Jack May and Rick Cline drove a Ferrari Dino (05984) from the Red Ball Garage in New York City in a world's record time of 35 hours and 53 minutes, on April 23–25, 1975, averaging 83 mph (134 km/h). The most remarkable effort certainly was by American racing legend Dan Gurney (winner of the 1967 24 hours of Le Mans), who won the second run in a Ferrari Daytona. Dan himself put it best, saying: "At no time did we exceed 175 mph." With Brock Yates as co-driver, it took them 35 hours and 54 minutes to travel 2,863 miles (4,608 km) at an average of approximately 80 mph (130 km/h), while collecting one fine. Snow in the Rockies slowed them down considerably.The record for official Cannonballs is 32 hours and 51 minutes (about 87 mph), set in the final run by Dave Heinz and Dave Yarborough in a Jaguar XJS in April 1979. This New York to Los Angeles record was broken in 2007 by Alex Roy & David Maher, setting a time of 31 hours 4 minutes, as documented in the film 32 Hours 7 minutes. After the original Cannonball races were halted, Car and Driver began to sponsor a legitimate closed-course tour, the One Lap of America. Outlaw successors in the United States, Europe, and Australia continue to use the Cannonball name without Yates' approval.[citation needed]

First Cannonball Run - 1971

First Cannonball Run - 1971

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Friday 3rd March 1972

45 years ago

Sir William Lyons, founder of Jaguar Motors, retired as Chairman of Jaguar Cars Ltd. He ruled Jaguar with an iron fist and an iron will. Even when Jaguar was later absorbed by the larger British Motor Corporation, Sir William made it clear that in matters concerning Jaguar, he was the ultimate authority. But, oh, did he make beautiful automobiles! William Lyons was born in Blackpool, England in 1901, the son of a music shop owner. As a young man, Lyons was fascinated by motorcycles and owned several. Across the street from Lyons lived William Walmsley, who owned a company called Swallow that made motorcycle sidecars. Lyons was particularly impressed with the Swallows, as they had a unique octagonal dirigible look to them, and bought one for himself. In 1922 at the age of 21, Lyons joined Walmsley as a partner in the business. With Lyons’ keen business sense, the business grew rapidly and expanded into coach building. Using an Austin chassis and engine, the two boys from Blackpool created a stunning two-seat automobile. The new two-toned Swallow car was an immediate hit, and a four door sedan, or saloon, soon followed. Growth was inevitable, and Lyons soon increased production from 12 cars a week to 50. But Bill Lyons’ dream was not just to re-body existing cars, but to design and build his own cars from the ground up. He began to hire top-notch engineers to help him achieve his dream. The first products of this new philosophy were the S.S. 1 and 2 automobiles in 1931 and 1932. Whether the “S.S.” designation stood for Standard Swallow of Swallow Special is lost to history. Always seeking better performance, Lyons instructed his engineers to begin designing a more powerful engine for a new line of cars called S.S. Jaguars. At this time in the company’s growth – the mid 1930s -- William Walmsley was content to sit back and enjoy the profits that were rolling in. Lyons, on the other hand, kept pushing his company to create new, more powerful, more beautiful products. This difference in philosophy caused Walmsley to leave the company, leaving Bill Lyons fully in charge. Following the war, the company name was changed to Jaguar Cars, Ltd., since the S.S. name now carried negative connotations. Lyons had desired to create a car capable of going 100 miles per hour, and set his engineers to work on a new engine powerful enough. The engine, first used in the large Mark IV sedan, was unable to take the heavy vehicle to 100 mph. Lyons then installed in the engine in the groundbreaking Jaguar XK. he car-engine combination enabled the XK sports car to not only exceed 100 mph, but was able to achieve 120 mph. The car debuted in 1948 at the London Motor Show and caught the attention of motoring enthusiasts not only in England, but America as well. Over the succeeding decade, the XK 120 was followed by the XK 140 and the XK 150, cars capable of going 140 mph and 150 mph respectively. In the early 1950s, Lyons entered the XK sports cars in racing events. Fueled by early success on the track, the company developed the C-type and D-type racecars, which not only achieved racing success at LeMans and other venues, their feline-like shapes would define the new Jaguar look. The first passenger car to adopt this new look was the Jaguar E-type coupe, considered one of the greatest automobile designs of all time.In 1956, Queen Elizabeth granted Lyons knighthood, and from that point forward he was known as Sir William. The string of successful products and a growing legion of Jaguar customers defined the fifties and early sixties. In 1966, however, Sir William felt that in order for Jaguar to continue its growth, it should merge with the larger British Motor Corporation. It was a decision that Lyons would later regret. British Motor was subsequently taken over by British Leyland. During the mergers, Lyons was kept on as a consultant and advisor, but in his mind, Jaguar was always his and he was in charge. With retirement nearing, Sir William had one more car in him, and in 1968, he debuted the Jaguar XJ6, his last masterpiece. Sir William Lyons retired in 1972, but even in retirement, he would frequently visit the Jaguar factory, offering his advice to eager listeners. In 1985, Lyons died, leaving behind a company and a string of products reflecting his grand vision.

Sir William Lyons

Sir William Lyons

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Tuesday 4th July 1972

45 years ago

The National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire, England opened. The museum was founded in 1952 by Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, as a tribute to his father, who was one of the great pioneers of motoring in the United Kingdom, being the first person to drive a motor car into the yard of the Houses of Parliament, and having introduced King Edward VII (then the Prince of Wales) to motoring during the 1890s. At first the museum consisted of just five cars and a small collection of automobilia displayed in the front hall of Lord Montagu's ancestral home, Palace House, but such was the popularity of this small display that the collection soon outgrew its home and was transferred to wooden sheds in the grounds of the house. The reputation and popularity of the Beaulieu collection continued to grow: during 1959 the museum's "attendance figures" reached 296,909. By 1964, annual attendance exceeded half a million and a decision was taken to create a purpose-built museum building in the grounds of the Beaulieu estate. A design committee chaired by the architect Sir Hugh Casson was created to drive the project, and the architect Leonard Manasseh was given the contract for the design of the building which was primarily the work of his partner Ian Baker. By 1972, the collection exceeded 300 exhibits. In a ceremony performed by the Duke of Kent the new purpose-built museum building in the parkland surrounding Palace House was opened. The name was changed to the "National Motor Museum", reflecting a change of status from a private collection to a charitable trust and highlighting Montagu's stated aim to provide Britain with a National Motor Museum "worthy of the great achievements of its motor industry".[6] The opening of the museum coincided with the UK launch of the Jaguar XJ12 which made it an appropriate week for celebrating the UK motor industry.[6] The museum is run by the National Motor Museum Trust Ltd, a registered charity. An unusual feature of the new museum building in 1972 was a monorail[6] passing through its interior. This was inspired by the light railway running through the US Pavilion at the Montreal World's Fair, Expo 67.

National Motor Museum in Beaulieu

National Motor Museum in Beaulieu

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Monday 11th August 1975

41 years ago

British Leyland was nationalised. It incorporated much of the British-owned motor vehicle industry, which constituted 40 percent of the UK car market, with roots going back to 1895. Despite containing profitable marques such as Jaguar, Rover and Land Rover, as well as the best-selling Mini, British Leyland had a troubled history. In 1986 it was renamed as the Rover Group, later to become MG Rover Group, which went into administration in 2005, bringing mass car production by British-owned manufacturers to an end. MG and the Austin, Morris and Wolseley marques became part of China's SAIC, with whom MG Rover attempted to merge prior to administration. Today, MINI, Jaguar Land Rover and Leyland Trucks (now owned by BMW Group, TATA and Paccar, respectively) are the three most prominent former parts of British Leyland which are still active in the automotive industry, with SAIC-owned MG Motor continuing a small presence at the Longbridge site. Certain other related ex-BL businesses, such as Unipart), continue to operate independently.

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Wednesday 28th March 1979

38 years ago

The Jaguar XJ6 Series III and Daimler Double-Six Series III were introduced.

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Friday 30th March 1979

38 years ago

British Leyland Motors Inc., the United States subsidiary of BL Plc, changed its name to Jaguar Rover Triumph Inc.

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Sunday 1st April 1979

38 years ago

The final Cannonball Run began at Darien, Connecticut. The only rule was to reach the Portofino Restaurant in Redondo Beach, Californian in the shortest time possible. Speeding citations received along the way were the driver's responsibility and did not disqualify the vehicle (although having to stop to receive a ticket increased the vehicle's overall time). David Heinz of Tampa, Florida and David Yarborough of Charleston, South Carolina completed the 3,000 miles driving a black XJS Jaguar in just 32 hours and 51 minutes.

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Tuesday 1st April 1980

37 years ago

John Egan was appointed Chairman of Jaguar Cars Ltd.

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Thursday 12th November 1981

35 years ago

British Leyland announced a new deal with the Japanese car and motorcycle giant, Honda. They planned a joint venture of a middle-range executive car for the 1990s, codenamed ‘Project XX’. The new models (Rover 200, 400 and 600 series) would slot in between the group’s Triumph and Jaguar ranges.

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Tuesday 15th June 1982

35 years ago

Jaguar/Group 44 unveiled the Jaguar XJR-5 race car.

A Jaguar XJR-5 at Sears Point in 1983

A Jaguar XJR-5 at Sears Point in 1983

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Wednesday 21st July 1982

35 years ago

At Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia, USA, Jaguar executives viewed the Group 44 XJR-5 GTP racer for the first time.

Jaguar XJR-5 GTP at Silverstone

Jaguar XJR-5 GTP at Silverstone

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Sunday 22nd August 1982

34 years ago

John Fitzpatrick and David Hobbs won the IMSA Pabst 500 IMSA race at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin in a Porsche. The Group 44 Jaguar XJR-5 GTP racer driven by Bill Adam and Bob Tullius finished third in its race debut.

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Wednesday 13th October 1982

34 years ago

The British Post Office issued four commemorative stamps featuring a vintage and current Austin, Ford, Jaguar and Rolls Royce.

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Sunday 10th April 1983

34 years ago

Bob Tullius and Bill Adam drove the Group 44 Jaguar XJR-5 to victory in the IMSA race at Road Atlanta in Brazelton, Georgia, USA. It was the first win for Jaguar in a top level series in 25 years and the first win for a factory prototype in IMSA competition.

Jaguar XJR-5

Jaguar XJR-5

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Sunday 26th February 1984

33 years ago

Alba made their IMSA GT debut at Miami, Florida, USA. The car, entered as a Ford-Momo, finished 16th with Gianpiero Moretti and Oscar Larrauri behind the wheel. The race was won by Brian Redman and Doc Bundy in a Jaguar XJR-5.

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Tuesday 3rd July 1984

33 years ago

Jaguar Car Holdings Ltd changed its name to Jaguar Plc.

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Sunday 26th August 1984

32 years ago

42 Moss Bay Mojorettes in Jacksonville crammed into a Jaguar XJ6 to establish a new world record.

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Monday 31st December 1984

32 years ago

Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen, crashed his Corvette Stingray, on the A57 outside Sheffield, Allen lost his left arm in the accident. Allen was on his way to a New Year's Eve party at his family's home when a Jaguar passed him. The driver had been egging Allen on and would not allow him to pass. In his rage to pass this driver, he did not see a turn up ahead and lost control of his car. He was thrown from the car, with his left arm severed due to the seatbelt not being properly fastened.

Rick Allen

Rick Allen

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Friday 8th February 1985

32 years ago

Englishman Sir William Lyons died in Wappenbury Hall, England at the age of 83. As a young entrepreneur, Lyons got his start making motorcycle sidecars in Blackpool, England. In 1926, he co-founded the Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company with William Walmsley. Recognizing the demand for automobiles, Lyons eventually built wooden frames for the Austin Seven car, calling his creation the Austin Swallow. Spurred on by the warm reception of his Austin Swallows, Lyons began building his own cars, which he called Standard Swallows. In 1934, his company, now SS Cars Ltd., released a line of cars called Jaguars. After World War II, Lyons dropped the "SS" initials that reminded people of the SS title of Nazi officers. Jaguar Cars Ltd. went on to produce a number of exquisite sports cars and roadsters, among them the XK 120, the D Type, and the XK-E or E Type. Lyons' most monumental achievement was perhaps the E Type, which was the fastest sports car in the world when it was released in 1961. With a top speed of 150mph and a zero-to-60 of 6.5 seconds, the Jaguar made a remarkable 17 miles to the gallon and suffered nothing in its looks. In spite of Jaguar's distinguished record on the race track, the company is most associated with the beautiful lines of its car bodies, an impressive feat considering Lyons' first offering to the automobile industry was a wooden frame bolted to another man's car.

Sir William Lyons

Sir William Lyons

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Saturday 10th August 1985

31 years ago

The TWR Jaguar XJR-6 made its race debut in the 1000 km World Endurance Championship race at Mosport, Ontario, Canada. Manfred Winklehock suffered fatal injuries in the crash of his 962 during the race which was won by Derek Bell and Hans Stuck driving a Rothmans Porsche 962.

Jaguar XJR6

Jaguar XJR6

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Sunday 11th August 1985

31 years ago

The TWR Jaguar XJR-6 made its race debut in the 1000 km World Endurance Championship race at Mosport, Ontario, Canada. Manfred Winklehock was fatally injured in the crash of his 962 during the race which was won by Derek Bell and Hans Stuck driving a Rothmans Porsche 962.

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Saturday 17th August 1985

31 years ago

Austrian driver Niki Lauda announced his retirement. The three times F1 World Champion, winning in 1975, 1977 and 1984, is currently the only driver to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, the sport's two most successful constructors. More recently an aviation entrepreneur, he has founded and run two airlines (Lauda Air and Niki). He is also Bombardier Business Aircraft brand ambassador. He was also a consultant for Scuderia Ferrari and team manager of the Jaguar Formula One racing team for two years. He is currently working as a pundit for German TV during Grand Prix weekends and acts as non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team. Lauda was seriously injured in a crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, during which his Ferrari burst into flames and he came close to death after inhaling hot toxic fumes and suffering severe burns. However he recovered and returned to race again just six weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix.

Niki Lauda

Niki Lauda

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Tuesday 14th January 1986

31 years ago

Jaguar announced the creation of the Silk Cut Jaguar Team, a three year commitment to campaign the Jaguar XJR in international motor racing.

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Wednesday 8th October 1986

30 years ago

The Jaguar XJ (XJ40) was officially unveiled. It was an all-new redesign of the XJ to replace the Series III, although the two model ranges were sold concurrently until the Series III was discontinued in 1992. The XJ40 used the Jaguar independent rear suspension arrangement, and featured a number of technological enhancements (such as electronic instrumentation). In a government survey the XJ6 earned the title of "Safest Car in Britain” in 1993. The XJ40 was discontinued in 1994 and was superseded by the X300 platform XJ.

Jaguar XJ40

Jaguar XJ40

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Sunday 26th April 1987

30 years ago

John Morton and Hurley Haywood drove the Group 44 Jaguar XJR-7 to victory in the IMSA Camel GT Los Angeles Times Grand Prix at Riverside, California.

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Sunday 31st January 1988

29 years ago

A Jaguar XJR-9 driven by Raul Boesel, Martin Brundle and John Nielsen won the legendary Daytona 24 Hour race.

Jaguar XJR-9

Jaguar XJR-9

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Sunday 5th February 1989

28 years ago

Derek Bell, Bob Wolleck, and John Andretti drove a Jim Busby entered Porsche 962 to victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona, beating the second place Jaguar of Price Cobb, John Nielson, Jan Lammers, and Andy Wallace by only 90 seconds. It was the 50th Porsche 962 win in the United States.

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Saturday 10th June 1989

28 years ago

Alain Ferté of France, in a Jaguar XJR-9LM recorded the fastest lap in the Le Mans 24-hour race, 3 minutes 21.27 seconds, an average speed of 242.1 km/h (150.4 mph).

Jaguar XJR-9LM

Jaguar XJR-9LM

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Saturday 11th November 1989

27 years ago

Jaguar entered a new era when the company became a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company. In 1935, British car designer William Lyons introduced the SS Jaguar 100 as a new marque for his Swallow Sidecar Company. Swallow Sidecar had been manufacturing complete luxury cars for four years, but the SS Jaguar 100 was Lyons' first true sports car. During World War II, Lyons dropped the Swallow Sidecar name, and the politically incorrect SS initials, and Jaguar Cars Ltd. was formally established. The first significant postwar Jaguar, the XK 120, was introduced in 1948 at the London Motor Show to great acclaim. Capable of speeds in excess of 120 mph, the XK 120 was the fastest production car in the world, and is considered by many to be one of the finest sports cars ever made. Over the next three decades, Jaguar became the epitome of speed coupled with elegance, and the company flourished as its racing division racked up countless trophies. The integrity of the Jaguar marque was recognised and maintained, and throughout the 1990s the company continued to produce distinguished automobiles such as the Jaguar XK8 and the luxurious Vanden Plas.

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Friday 1st December 1989

27 years ago

Ford acquired Jaguar Cars for $2.5 billion.

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Sunday 4th February 1990

27 years ago

Davy Jones, Jan Lammers, and Andy Wallace in a Jaguar XJR-12 won the Daytona 24 Hour.

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Wednesday 28th February 1990

27 years ago

Ford acquired Jaguar Cars for $2.5 billion.

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Sunday 23rd February 1992

25 years ago

The Jaguar XJR-14 made its race debut in the IMSA Camel GT race at Miami, Florida, USA. Davy Jones started it on pole but finished sixth behind the winning Nissan NPTI-91 of Geoff Brabham.

Jaguar XJR-14

Jaguar XJR-14

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Sunday 21st June 1992

25 years ago

A Jaguar XJ220 driven by British Formula One driver Martin Brundle at the Nardò test track in Italy achieved a speed of 217.1 mph and established a new speed record for a standard production car.

Jaguar XJ220

Jaguar XJ220

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Sunday 28th November 1993

23 years ago

Joseph Kelly died in Nelson, Ireland. A larger-than-life motor dealer from Dublin, Kelly became the first Irish Formula 1 driver when lining up for the 1950 British GP in Silverstone, the first ever race under F1 regulations. Kelly – using his own Alta GP car, the last built – participated in the 1950 and 1951 British rounds of the Formula One World Championship. He also owned and raced a Jaguar C-Type sports car which he raced as well as a Maserati and a Ferrari. His own full-time driving

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Friday 13th May 1994

23 years ago

Duncan Hamilton (74), British amateur racing driver who famously won Le Mans 24 Hours, died. Hamilton was a garage owner as his primary job description and raced a Talbot-Lago and an HWM in a handful of Championship Grands Prix as an amateur driver. He won Le Mans in 1953 sharing a works Jaguar C-type with his close friend Tony Rolt. Story has it the two of them had resorted to drinking in a French pub prior to their glorious win because their car had initially had its entry refused. By the time the team managed to rectify the steward’s mix-up, Hamilton and Rolt had a few and had to be put into a severe dark coffee and cold shower regime to get them back into shape.

Duncan Hamilton

Duncan Hamilton

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Friday 17th February 1995

22 years ago

The famous MG sports car brand, not seen on a volume sports car since 1980, was revived when the Rover Group unveiled the new MGF sports car which went on sale in the autumn of 1995. It was powered by a 1.8 L K-Series 16-valve engine, the basic having 118 hp (87 kW) while the more powerful VVC (variable valve control) had 143 hp (107 kW). Rover Special Projects oversaw the development of the F's design and before finalising the styling bought-in outside contractors to determine the most appropriate mechanical configuration for the new car. Steve Harper of MGA Developments produced the initial design concept in January 1991 (inspired by the Jaguar XJR-15 and the Ferrari 250LM), before Rover's in house design team refined the concept under the leadership of Gerry McGovern. An interesting feature of the F was its Hydragas suspension, a system employing interconnected fluid and gas displacers which provided a surprisingly compliant ride but which could be tuned to provide excellent handling characteristics. The MG F quickly shot to the top of the affordable sports car charts in Britain and remained there until the introduction of the MG TF in 2002.

MGF

MGF

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Tuesday 5th March 1996

21 years ago

Jaguar announced the launch of an all new sports car, the XK8 (project X100). The XK8 was available in coupé or convertible body styles and with the new 4.0-litre Jaguar AJ-V8 engine, electronically limited to a maximum of 155.4 mph (250.1 km/h).

Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8

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Thursday 7th March 1996

21 years ago

At the 1996 Geneva Motor Show the Lamborghini Diablo SV (Sport Veloce) was presented, a simplified and more sporty version of the Diablo, inspired by the legendary Miura SV. With an engine power of 525 bhp, reduced weight and a shorter final drive ratio the car reaches 100 km/h in less than 4 seconds. VW presented the new Beetle, Citroen launched the Saxo with all seven Saxo models, - VTS, SX, VSX, VTL and VTR on show and the Car of the Show accolade went to Jaguar Cars fastest production car ever - the ultra high performance, supercharged version of the XK8 - the first generation of a new XK series. The XK8 was available in coupé or convertible body styles and with the new 4.0-litre Jaguar AJ-V8 engine. In 1998 the XKR was introduced with a supercharged version of the engine. In 2003 the engines were replaced by the 4.2-litre AJ34 engines in both the normally aspirated and supercharged versions. The first-generation XK series shares its Jaguar XJS-derived platform with the Aston Martin DB7, both cars tracing their history back to an abandoned Jaguar development study in the mid-1980s known as XJ41/XJ42, which had been mooted to be known as the F-Type.

Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8

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Wednesday 3rd April 1996

21 years ago

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City placed a Jaguar E-Type in its permanent exhibit. Just the third car to be honoured by the curators, the E-Type is the epitome of Jaguar's exquisite feel for body design.

Jaguar E-type

Jaguar E-type

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Thursday 4th April 1996

21 years ago

The last Jaguar XJS, a blue 6-litre V12 coupe rolled off the line at Browns Lane. The ultimate incarnation of a run that lasted an amazing 115,413. The XJ-S was launched on 10 September 1975.[4] The development of the car had begun in the late 1960s as project XJ27, with an initial shape set by Malcolm Sayer, but after his death in 1970 it was completed by the in-house Jaguar design team, headed by Doug Thorpe. Power came from the Jaguar V12 petrol engine with a choice of a manual or automatic transmission, but the manual was soon dropped as they were left over from V12 E Type production. V12 automobiles were unusual at the time, with notable others coming from Italian luxury sports car makers Lamborghini and Ferrari. The specifications of the XJ-S compared well with both Italian cars; it was able to accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.6 seconds (automatic) and had a top speed of 143 mph (230 km/h). The first series of XJ-S cars had a Borg-Warner Model 12 transmission with a cast-iron case and a bolt-on bell-housing. In 1977 GM Turbo-Hydramatic 400 transmissions were fitted. The TH400 transmission was an all-aluminium alloy case with an integrated non-detachable bell-housing. When leaving the factory the XJ-S originally fitted Dunlop SP Super E205/70VR tyres on 15 × 6K alloy wheels, though British police forces would upgrade from this factory standard and fit a higher performing 205/70VR15 Michelin XWX to the Jaguars in their fleet. Jaguar's timing was not good; the car was launched in the wake of a fuel crisis, and the market for a 5.3-litre V12 grand tourer was very small. The styling was also the subject of criticism, including the buttresses behind the windows. German authorities feared these would restrict rearward vision, and refused to give the model (along with Lancia's similarly adorned Montecarlo model) type approval: it was for a time necessary instead for German XJS buyers to obtain type approval for each individual car when registering it. Such fears were ill founded, since in reality the rear visibility was very reasonable, with only the frontmost top edges of the buttresses being visible, when looking rearward. Jaguar did seize promotional opportunities with the television series The New Avengers and Return of the Saint. The New Avengers featured Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt) who drove an XJ-S. Return of the Saint saw Simon Templar (played by Ian Ogilvy) driving an early XJ-S with the number plate "ST 1". Miniature versions were made by Corgi and proved popular. A decade and a half before, Jaguar had turned down the producers of the earlier Saint series when approached about the E-type; the producers had instead used a Volvo P1800.

Jaguar XJS

Jaguar XJS

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Thursday 4th April 1996

21 years ago

Jaguar introduced its new SK8 convertible at the New York International Auto Show. The SK was the sports car version of the XK car released a few months before. The two models were Jaguar's first entirely new designs since the company became a Ford subsidiary in 1989. Powered by the advanced Jaguar V8 coupled with a five-speed automatic gearbox, the SK lived up to Jaguar's heritage of powerful sports cars.

Jaguar SK8 convertible

Jaguar SK8 convertible

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Friday 12th July 1996

21 years ago

Walter Hassan (91) OBE, British automobile engineer. who took part in the design and development of three very successful engines: Jaguar XK, Coventry Climax and Jaguar V12 as well as the ERA racing car.

Walter Hassan

Walter Hassan

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Friday 12th June 1998

19 years ago

Jan Lammers (Holland), Johnny Dumfries, and Andy Wallace (both UK) in a Jaguar XJR-9LM covered a record breaking 5331.998 km. (3313.150 miles.) (aver. speed 222.166 km./h. 138.047 m.p.h.), in winning the Le Mans 24-hour race.

Jaguar XJR-9LM

Jaguar XJR-9LM

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Thursday 22nd October 1998

18 years ago

The opening of the British Motor Show at the NEC, Birmingham saw the launch of two critical saloons from British car manufacturers – Rover 75 and Jaguar S-Type.The then BMW boss Bernd Pischetsrieder made an impromptu speech about the future of the Rover Longbridge plant which would then lead to the sell of the brand in 2000 and its collapse in 2005. A dozen or new models from AC, Caterham, Jensen, Lea Francis, Lotus, Marcos and Westfield make their world debut at the show, whilst the Ford Focus made its UK debut.

Chinese Rover 75 advert

Chinese Rover 75 advert

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Monday 26th October 1998

18 years ago

The Maserati 3200GT was officially introduced at the Paris Motor Show. Jaguar also exhibited its XK180 concept car.

Maserati 3200GT

Maserati 3200GT

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Sunday 3rd January 1999

18 years ago

The "Inspirational Yellow" Concept Thunderbird was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show. Ford had discontinued the Thunderbird model in 1997 after more than 40 years. Not only was it’s styling a direct homage to the original Thunderbird, it was a return to the basic two-seater concept. This car was such a sensation that Ford immediately contracted to have two more cars built for the show circuit - one in red and one in black. Both were ready by March 1999 for the show circuit in Europe. Hoods and trunks were kept closed during shows. Ford did not yet have an engine ready to show with these cars. These three show cars were shown at various shows around the US, Canada, and Europe. After a hiatus of several years, Ford introduced a new Thunderbird for 2002. The eleventh generation Thunderbird was built at Ford's Wixom Assembly Plant and was based on the company's DEW98 platform, which was shared with the Lincoln LS and Jaguar S-Type. Though the Thunderbird's exterior styling was unique relative to its platform mates, the interior, particularly the appearance of the dash area, instrument panel, and steering wheel, was very similar to that of the Lincoln LS. The sole engine of the Thunderbird was a Jaguar-designed AJ-30 3.9 L DOHC V8, a short-stroke (85mm) variant of the Jaguar AJ-26 4.0 L V8, making 252 horsepower (188 kW) and 267 lb·ft (362 N·m) of torque. The engine was mated to Ford's 5R55N 5-speed automatic transmission. With sales dropping off significantly after its first model year, Ford decided to make the 2005 model year the Thunderbird's last with no scheduled successor. The last one rolled off the assembly line on July 1, 2005.

1999 Ford Thunderbird Concept

1999 Ford Thunderbird Concept

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Thursday 7th January 1999

18 years ago

The High-Speed Circuit lap record at MIRA in Warwickshire was broken by a McLaren F1 road car, driven by Peter Taylor, averaging 168mph (270.36km/h) round the 2.82-mile (4.53km) banked circuit. With a lap time of 1 minute 00.56 seconds, the F1 comfortably exceeded the previous record of 161.655mph (260.15 km/h) set in April 1967 by the Jaguar XJ13 sports-racing prototype.

McLaren F1

McLaren F1

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Friday 19th March 1999

18 years ago

Ford established the Premier Auto Group consisting of Aston Martin, Jaguar and Lincoln [Volvo will later be included in this group].

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Wednesday 31st March 1999

18 years ago

Ford Motor Company purchased Volvo Cars for $6.45 billion, becoming part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, which also included Aston Martin, Jaguar and Lincoln.

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Thursday 28th October 1999

17 years ago

A Jaguar sports car that won the 1956 Le Mans 24-hour race was sold for £1.71m at auction at Christie's in London. The Ecurie Ecosse D-type was driven by Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson to win the famed endurance race for Scotland in 1956. It had been in Scottish ownership ever since, and was sold at auction by Sir Michael Nairn, who runs a Scottish engineering company.

Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-type

Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-type

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Tuesday 11th January 2000

17 years ago

Jaguar’s new F-Type Concept roadster was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Inspired by the XK180 concept car presented at the Paris Salon in 1998, Jaguar designers set out to create the ideal, compact roadster, evoking the spirit of the legendary E-type.

Jaguar F-Type Concept - 2000

Jaguar F-Type Concept - 2000

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Tuesday 1st February 2000

17 years ago

The Jaguar S-Type was named the People's Choice Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Jaguar S-Type, the company's first compact saloon in more than 30 years, was the top choice in balloting of more than 5,000 new vehicle buyers, who tabbed the S-Type as the best of the "all-new" vehicles for the 2000 model year. The Jaguar S-Type beat out seven other models for this award.

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Tuesday 9th May 2000

17 years ago

BMW sold the bulk of the Rover Group (the Rover and MG marques) to the Phoenix Consortium, while it retained the rights to the Mini marque, and sold Land Rover to Ford. MG Rover went into administration in 2005 and its key assets were purchased by Nanjing Automobile Group, with Nanjing restarting MG sports car and sports saloon production in 2007. During that year Nanjing merged with SAIC Motor (the largest vehicle manufacturer in China). During 2009 the UK Subsidiary was renamed MG Motor UK. The MG TF was manufactured at the former MG Rover Longbridge plant and sold within the UK from 2008 - 2010. In 2011 the first all new MG for 16 years (the MG 6) was launched in the UK (assembled at the Longbridge factory). During 2013 a super-mini was added to the line up (the MG 3), this went on to help MG Motor become the fastest growing car manufacturer within the UK in 2014. The Rover brand, which had been retained by BMW and licensed to MG Rover, was sold to Ford, which had bought Land Rover from BMW in 2000. The rights to the dormant Rover brand were sold by Ford, along with the Jaguar Cars and Land Rover businesses, to Tata Motors in 2008.

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Wednesday 1st November 2000

16 years ago

The Jaguar X-Type, designed at the Whitley Engineering Centre in Coventry, was formally unveiled. It was hoped that the ‘Baby Jag’, available with V6 2.5- or 3-litre engine, that would double the company’s worldwide sales. Made at Halewood in Merseyside, the X-Type went on sale at £22,500 in the middle of 2001.

Jaguar X-Type

Jaguar X-Type

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Tuesday 26th December 2000

16 years ago

Walter Hayes (76), English journalist, and later public relations executive for Ford died. Hayes was key in developing Ford's Formula One program, by signing Jackie Stewart and funding the building of the Cosworth DFV V8 Formula One racing engine; and the creation of the Premier Automotive Group with the purchases of classic English brands Jaguar and Aston Martin.

Walter Hayes

Walter Hayes

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Tuesday 6th February 2001

16 years ago

Niki Lauda was appointed CEO of Ford's premier performance division. Essentially this meant that he would act as a middleman between the Jaguar F1 team and the company's board in Detroit, streamlining and speeding up its decision making process. However, the restructuring didn't prove successful and the team continued to run in the middle of the pack. Lauda and Ford parted ways in 2003.

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Wednesday 28th February 2001

16 years ago

Jaguar unveiled the all-new sport saloon, the X-TYPE, on the evening before the opening of the Geneva International Auto Show. It was Jaguar's first compact executive car since the Jaguar Mark 1 of 1955. The X-Type was one of the last to be styled under the supervision of Geoff Lawson, with Wayne Burgess as principal designer. Initially, the X-Type was only available with all-wheel-drive and either a 2.5 litre or 3.0 litre V6 petrol engine. In 2002, an entry-level 2.1 litre V6 front-wheel-drive model was added. All three engines were available with either five-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmissions.

Jaguar X-Type

Jaguar X-Type

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Sunday 27th May 2001

16 years ago

Michael Schumacher driving for the Ferrari team won the Monaco Grand Prix, contested over 78 laps. Rubens Barrichello finished second in the other Ferrari with Eddie Irvine third for the Jaguar team. Schumacher's win was his fourth of season, and Irvine's third place was the first podium position for the Jaguar team.

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Tuesday 11th September 2001

15 years ago

The Frankfurt Motor Show opened to international media, with a series of concept and production vehicle debuts kicking off in the early morning. First news of terrorist attacks in the US came in the early afternoon. Large display screens were switched over to news coverage, opening celebrations were cancelled, and the usual upbeat presentations were absent for the rest of the show. MG Rover Group unveiled its stunning new luxury high performance sports coupe - the MG X80. Styled by MG Rover's world renowned design director Peter Stevens, the £55,000 MG X80 had a high-technology super-formed aluminum body, mounted to a steel box section chassis. Skoda revealed its new model, the Superb. There was a large number of concept vehicles, including the Citroën C-Crosser, SEAT Tango, Renault Talisman, Jaguar R Coupe, Ford Fusion and Audi Avantissimo. Top production car debuts included the BMW 7 Series, Ford Fiesta, Citroën C3, Honda Jazz, Volkswagen Polo and Lamborghini Murcielago.

MG X80

MG X80

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Monday 17th September 2001

15 years ago

Michael Schumacher was forced to back down on threats not to compete in the US Grand Prix at the end of the month after Bernie Ecclestone warned him he could be stripped of his almost-certain title if he did. Schumacher was one of several drivers raising concerns about their safety in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But he got backing from Jaguar boss and former champion Niki Lauda."Personally I don't think we should go, but it's not my decision," he said. "We have a contractual commitment to Indianapolis and the race could only be cancelled if the organisers there wanted it."

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Wednesday 14th November 2001

15 years ago

The BMW Williams team announced that Nico Rosberg and Nelson Piquet Jr would test for the team at Jerez de Frontera in the first week of December to evaluate whether either had the potential to be test drivers in 2004. Jaguar Racing also announced that it would test Red Bull backed Christian Klien and Townsend Bell at Valencia at the end of the month. Both Rosberg and Klien went on to race for Williams and Jaguar Racing while Piquet Jr secured a Renault drive in 2008.

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Thursday 22nd November 2001

15 years ago

In a ceremony in Oxford, TV Inspector Morse’s classic red Jaguar was presented to James Went after he won it in a competition organised by Carlton Television and Woolworths. He was handed the keys by Colin Dexter, the creator of Morse. The 2.4-litre, four-door-saloon model, when first introduced in October 1959, had retailed at £1,534.

Inspector Morse

Inspector Morse

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Saturday 5th January 2002

15 years ago

Managing Director Mike Beasley announced that for the first time in its 80-year-old history Jaguar had sold over 100,000 cars in a year when he unveiled the new Jaguar S-Type range at the Los Angeles Motor.

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Tuesday 30th April 2002

15 years ago

Inspector Morse's burgundy Jaguar Mk II, arguably the most recognisable Jaguar in the world, was sold for £53,000 at auction.

Inspector Morse

Inspector Morse

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Sunday 21st July 2002

15 years ago

Producer Gus Dudgeon, who worked with artists including Elton John, David Bowie, The Beach Boys, Kiki Dee, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, The Strawbs, XTC, and Joan Armatrading, was killed aged 59 in a car accident near Reading, together with his wife Sheila. They had been driving along the M4 motorway on their way home from a party when Gus fell asleep at the wheel of the Jaguar XK8 convertible, crashing down an embankment at speed and ending up in a ditch.

Gus Dudgeon

Gus Dudgeon

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Tuesday 22nd October 2002

14 years ago

Volkswagen unveiled the striking new £22,000 Golf R32, the fastest production Golf ever built, to a crowd of waiting journalists at the NEC Motor Show. With a 3.2-litre engine developing a whopping 240 bhp, the Golf has an impressive top speed of 153 mph and could accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in a breathtaking 6.6 seconds. Rover Group unveiled the MG X80, whilst the DB7 GT, was the most powerful Aston Martin ever made. The stunning Bentley Continental GT won the Institute of Vehicle Engineers Motor Show Design ‘Car of the Show'. It beat the Jaguar XJ and Volvo XC90 to scoop the top award and also took the 'Best Luxury Car' award beating off close competition - again from the new Jaguar model.

Volkswagen Golf R32

Volkswagen Golf R32

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Friday 1st November 2002

14 years ago

Eddie Irvine was sacked from the Jaguar team over the phone by team boss Niki Lauda, ending an ultimately disappointing career. Not everyone mourned the departure of the outspoken Ulsterman. "I'm not really bothered if Eddie gets a drive," Jenson Button admitted. "He can be good for the sport because he's quite outspoken. But he's getting on a bit now and there are a lot of new drivers who are very quick and who should be given their chance."

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Saturday 9th November 2002

14 years ago

Eddie Irvine ruled out a switch to rallying after testing with Colin McRae's Ford team. Irvine, who had been released by the Jaguar at the end of the season, said: "The experience has shown me that I can't just jump in to a rally car and be quick."

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Tuesday 26th November 2002

14 years ago

Niki Lauda was asked to stand aside as team principal of Jaguar by Richard Parry-Jones, the head of the Formula One programme for Ford, which owned the team. "Honestly, the decision did surprise me," Lauda, who was the fourth boss in a little over two years, said. "But what you've got to know is that Britons do have their unique way of solving problems. They saw away at the legs of the chair."

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Thursday 5th December 2002

14 years ago

Gloomy times in the F1 business. Days after Jaguar announced 76 redundancies, Arrows laid off 130 jobs at their Leafield base as a result of them being refused an F1 entry. The news came as another blow to the industry which was struggling to come to terms with falling sponsorship revenues and declining TV audiences across the globe.

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Monday 13th January 2003

14 years ago

The Jaguar R4 Formula One car. with the new Cosworth V10 was unveiled

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Thursday 23rd January 2003

14 years ago

Eddie Irvine announced his retirement after failing to secure a drive for the season. "It's a sad day for Formula One that Eddie can't continue," said former team boss Eddie Jordan. "With Jordan, Ferrari especially, and Jaguar he's shown great style and lots of character. He has done well out of Formula One and Formula One has been richer for his colourful and intelligent presence." Flavio Briatore, the team manager of Renault, said: "Eddie was a throwback to former times - a driver who liked to party and enjoy himself but also took his profession very seriously."

Eddie Irvine

Eddie Irvine

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Tuesday 9th September 2003

13 years ago

The Frankfurt Motor Show, opened it’s doors, with the simultaneous launch of the 5th generation of VW Golf and Opel Astra. Ford unveiled the first production models based on next year’s new Focus platform – the Mazda 3 and new Volvo S40 sedan. The 2003 Show was also a significant event for BMW, with the debut of the new 5-Series saloon and 6-Series coupe, while the X5 was updated for 2004 and joined by the smaller, all-new X3. Mercedes showed the production version of the SLR McLaren; Jaguar the X-Type Estate and Maserati returned to the luxury saloon fold with the premiere of the new Quattroporte. Leading the concept car debuts from Europe were the Citroen C-Airlounge, Renault Be-Bop, Peugeot 407 Elixir, SEAT Altea, and Saab 9-3 Sporthatch, together with surprises from Lancia with the Fulvia Coupe concept and Skoda with the Roomster. Japanese makers were also strongly featured with concepts such as the Toyota CS&S, Nissan Dunehawk, Mazda Kusabi, Mitsubishi ‘i’, and Suzuki S2.

VW Golf (5th generation)

VW Golf (5th generation)

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Friday 14th November 2003

13 years ago

The BMW Williams team announced that Nico Rosberg and Nelson Piquet Jr would test for the team at Jerez de Frontera in the first week of December to evaluate whether either had the potential to be test drivers in 2004. Jaguar Racing also announced that it would test Red Bull backed Christian Klien and Townsend Bell at Valencia at the end of the month. Both Rosberg and Klien went on to race for Williams and Jaguar Racing while Piquet Jr secured a Renault drive in 2008.

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Friday 16th January 2004

13 years ago

The French Grand Prix returned to the schedule after months of financial wrangling, but not everyone was happy with the decision as it extended the season to 18 races, "the absolute threshold," according to Jaguar boss Tony Purnell.

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Thursday 5th February 2004

13 years ago

The most powerful road-going Jaguar convertible ever (0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, top speed 200 mph) - the 550 hp XK-RS concept car - was unveiled to the press on the eve of the 2004 Chicago Auto Show.

Jaguar XK-RS concept (2004)

Jaguar XK-RS concept (2004)

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Sunday 21st March 2004

13 years ago

The Malaysian Grand Prix took place at the Sepang circuit; Michael Schumacher took pole position and went onto win the race. The event also saw Britain's Jenson Button stand on the podium for the first time, finishing in third position. With all drivers starting on dry tyres, the action started sooner than expected as on the parade lap Kimi Räikkönen spun but was able to retake his grid position. Mark Webber, starting from P2, made a woeful start and slid down the field to be 9th by the 1st lap. Fernando Alonso on the other hand, made a brilliant start from 19th (2nd last) and was up behind Webber in 10th after lap 1. Michael Schumacher led from the start while drivers behind jostled for position. By the second lap, rain started to fall and cars were starting to lose traction on the dry tyres. Trulli overtook Button but the Brit promptly took the place back again. Alonso barreled past Webber for eighth and closed in on the McLaren of David Coulthard. From the back to a points position within four laps was an outstanding performance from Alonso but it was the best he got all race. By this time Michael Schumacher had already built up quite an advantage, but this was quickly eroded by the hard-charging Juan Pablo Montoya. It was to prove to be just a brief shower as soon the precipitation passed and Schumacher was back on his way. Webber managed to get past Ralf but the Williams retaliated and got ahead again, puncturing the Jaguar's rear right tyre on his way. Takuma Sato spun into the gravel but recovered the BAR smartly and Webber had to pit for a tyre change. To add insult to injury he got a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane and finally compounded his misery by spinning out of the race a few laps later. A string of cars in the midfield were jostling for position, starting with Nick Heidfeld's Jordan in 11th, then Cristiano da Matta's Toyota, the second Jaguar of Christian Klien, Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella and da Matta's teammate Panis. In the first round of pit stops Heidfeld's fuel rig failed and he had to go out and back in again. He eventually pulled into the pits to retire with a gearbox problem. Trulli got ahead of Coulthard in the first stops and running order at the front, where not much was happening, was Michael, Montoya, Raikkonen. Montoya was falling away from the Ferrari in the second stint of the race but not letting him get too far ahead. Alonso took Coulthard for sixth but then the pair pitted for the second time and the McLaren got out ahead. Alonso swapped to a two-stop strategy but it gave him no advantage and he seemed resigned to staying behind Coulthard, while Trulli, who had been on quite an early charge, also seemed to lose momentum. Ralf's engine unexpectedly gave up midway through the race, the first failure for BMW for 17 races. Felipe Massa, who was having a pretty good race, got held up by a Minardi and did a bit of agitated hand waving as he went by. The gap between Michael and Montoya was holding at around four seconds and Button moved up to third, jumping Raikkonen in the second pit stops. Both of the Finn's stops seemed quite long and eventually he pulled off to the side of the track with a transmission failure. Disappointing for Raikkonen and McLaren as Kimi was showing good pace until then. Panis ducked into the pits only to find no crew ready for him and had to go straight back out. Then next lap he was back in again to serve a drive-through for speeding on his previous effort. Not a good day for Panis, or Toyota in general. Da Matta finished ninth after a fairly anonymous race. In the final laps the BAR crew froze as one of the cars pulled off with an engine failure but it was Sato rather than third placed Button. Bad luck for Sato but the relief that it wasn't his teammate was palpable. Barrichello was gaining ground on Button but with only a few laps to go, he was not in a position to challenge. Michael took the win with Montoya five seconds behind. BAR and Button were by far the happiest of the lot and the Englishman got the biggest cheer from the crowd as he lifted his first trophy on the third step of the podium.

Start of 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix

Start of 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Friday 17th September 2004

12 years ago

As Jaguar prepared to unveil massive job cuts at its Birmingham plant, it pre-empted the announcement by revealing it was scrapping its Formula One team which had been struggling ever since it emerged from the Stewart outfit in 1999. It also withdrawal its support for its Cosworth engine division which had provided subsidised engines for Jordan and Minardi. Ford, Jaguar's owners, said it "could not justify the spending".

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Thursday 16th December 2004

12 years ago

The Ford Thunderbird FAB1 car arrived at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire. The pink stretch limousine was commissioned for Lady Penelope for the Thunderbirds movie. Ford Motor Company supplied the full-sized prop, which was a heavily modified, 11th-generation Ford Thunderbird. The vehicle was fully functional and roadworthy, and appeared in a segment of the motoring TV series Top Gear, during which it was road-tested by James May. May noted that it was not the most practical of cars, its excessive length making it difficult to drive through small English villages. The registration mark FAB 1, originally issued in July 1946 and later assigned to a white Jaguar XJ6 before the number was then purchased by Chris Evans in 2012 for the sum of £75,000. FAB 1 was temporarily assigned to a Rolls Royce Phantom during 2013. Rolls Royce donated the bespoke pink vehicle for a year to be used for breast cancer awareness. The registration is currently not assigned to a vehicle.

Ford Thunderbird FAB1

Ford Thunderbird FAB1

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Friday 7th January 2005

12 years ago

Red Bull, who had bought Jaguar F1 two months earlier, appointed Christian Horner as its sporting director and at the same time dispensed with the services of Jaguar team principal Tony Purnell and managing director David Pitchforth. Horner was owner of the Arden team for whom Tonio Liuzzi had won the Formula 3000 title the previous year. "The news was met with a stunned silence when a team meeting was called at the Milton Keynes factory to announce the changes, a measure of the affection for Purnell and Pitchforth," noted the Times. "They were also highly regarded in the pitlane for their quiet but efficient attempt to turn around a struggling team. Max Mosley, president of the FIA, the sport's governing body, once described Purnell as one of only two intelligent team principals in Formula One."

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Friday 11th February 2005

12 years ago

New exhibitors at the Chicago Auto Show included Chicago's own International Truck, featuring its CXT concept. Also new was a 20,000 sq.ft. exhibit by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). More than a dozen excitiy concept vehicles at the '05 show included the Ford SYNus, Jeep Hurricane, Lexus LF-A, Mercury Meta One, Chrysler Firepower, Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe and Suzuki Concept-X.

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Tuesday 1st March 2005

12 years ago

The Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe was unveiled at the 75th Salon de L’Automobile in Geneva. It heralded new generations of Jaguar sports cars and sports saloons, as Jaguar Chairman and CEO, Joe Greenwell, explains: "The Advanced Lightweight Coupe represents the very essence of Jaguar, its heart and soul. If you want to know what lies ahead for us, what direction we will take - this is Jaguar’s answer." Created by Jaguar’s advanced design team under Design Director Ian Callum, this high-performance show car was indicative of more than just the company’s evolving design direction; the Advanced Lightweight Coupe was a rallying call for a company whose reputation was founded on beautiful, dynamic sports cars. Combining stunning design with advanced lightweight construction technologies, the Advanced Lightweight Coupe represented true sporting luxury in an exciting, high performance package. The Cadillac BLS show car, built at the loss-making Saab factory in Sweden previewed the brand’s dynamic new entry model for 2006, while the fastest car ever offered by Corvette and General Motors, the Corvette Z06, made its European debut. The fun and funky Citroen C1 city car and the Citroen C6 also made their world debut.

Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe

Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe

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Tuesday 8th November 2005

11 years ago

Red Bull announced designer and aerodynamics expert Adrian Newey would be joining the team as chief technical officer, luring him away from the McLaren team Ron Dennis had persuaded him to join in 1996. Ironically, the very thing that had been Dennis' weapon in 1996 - money - was his undoing with Newey reportedly demanding a salary hike from $6 million to $10 million to stay. "It's a massive recruitment for us," Christian Horner, Red Bull's sporting director, said. "Given the choice of Adrian or Michael Schumacher, I'd go for Adrian every time. It's of that kind of magnitude. I think that it sends out exactly the right message in that we are totally serious about what we want to do and what we want to achieve." In 2001 Newey agreed to join the Jaguar team as technical director only to reverse his decision days later after a series of highly-charged meetings with Dennis.

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Wednesday 21st December 2005

11 years ago

Jaguar workers at the firm's Castle Bromwich Manufacturing Centre celebrated as the first of the new generation XKs rolled off the production line. The first production car, a silver 4.2 V8 XK Coupe, was handed over by John Naughton, Plant Director, to John Maries, Executive Director, Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust. The car is kept in the Trust's collection alongside the first and last E-Type’s and other models from Jaguar's past.

Jaguar 4.2 V8 XK Coupe

Jaguar 4.2 V8 XK Coupe

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Thursday 19th January 2006

11 years ago

Jaguar XJ won the first award of 2006 topping the Luxury Car category at the Fleet Excellence Awards, voted for by readers of Fleet Week and Fleet Management magazines. "The Jaguar XJ oozes feel-good factor, and the new 2.7 V6 especially makes good business sense," said Guy Bird, editor of Fleet Management magazine, commenting on the award.

Jaguar XJ - 2005

Jaguar XJ - 2005

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Monday 18th September 2006

10 years ago

Ford bought rights to the Rover name from BMW for approximately £6 million. Ironically no Rover branded cars were produced whilst Ford owned the brand. As part of Ford's agreement to sell their Jaguar & Land Rover operations early this year to Tata Motors, the Rover brand name was included in the deal.

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Monday 26th November 2007

9 years ago

The first production Jaguar XF was driven out of the Castle Bromwich factory, near Birmingham.

Jaguar XF

Jaguar XF

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Wednesday 19th December 2007

9 years ago

India's Tata Motors offered £1.03bn for Ford's Jaguar and Land Rover brands, according to a Press Trust of India report carried in local newspapers.

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Thursday 3rd January 2008

9 years ago

Ford Motor Co. named Tata Motors Ltd. the top bidder for its Jaguar and Land Rover brands and entered into "focused negotiations at a more detailed level."

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Wednesday 6th February 2008

9 years ago

Tony Rolt, the last surviving driver from the very first F1 race in 1950, died in Warwickshire aged 89. He competed in two other British Grand Prix in 1953 and 1955 but failed to finish any of the F1 races he entered. He made his racing debut in 1936 and by 1937 he had won the Coronation Trophy races twice at Donington Park. He drove his ERA "Remus", which is still used in historic competition today, to victory at Donington in the prestigious 200-mile British Empire Trophy in 1939. His greatest achievement in motorsport was at Le Mans where he competed in the 24-hour race for seven consecutive years between 1949 and 1955, famously winning the 1953 event in a Jaguar C-Type shared with Duncan Hamilton. During World War II he spent several years as a prisoner of war, latterly at Colditz where he was involved in a legendary attempt to escape using a homemade glider.

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Tuesday 26th February 2008

9 years ago

The classic car auction held at The Centaur Complex at Cheltenham Racecourse, grossed in excess of £1,500,000. Two red Jaguar E-types sold well with a beautifully restored 1962 3.8 litre Series 1 ‘Flat Floor’ Fixed Head Coupe making £38,500 and the 18,000 miles from new 1973 5.3 litre Series 3 Roadster fetching £37,400. A rare right-hand drive 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC exceeded its top estimate at £110,000. Among the road-going rarities, the right-hand drive 1960 Facel Vega HK500 took £34,925, the 1961 / 1962 Lazenby ‘Lotus 17’ Special £26,000 and the 1939 Raymond Mays Special Tourer £23,100.

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Wednesday 26th March 2008

9 years ago

The Ford Motor Company announced the sale of its Jaguar and Land Rover divisions to the Tata Group, one of India's oldest and largest business conglomerates, for some $2.3 billion--less than half of what Ford originally paid for the brands. The sale came at a time when Ford, along with much of the rest of the auto industry, was experiencing a sales slump as a result of the global economic crisis. For Tata, which earlier that year had unveiled the Nano, the world's cheapest car, the purchase of the venerable British-based luxury brands was referred to by some observers as a "mass to class" acquisition.

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Monday 2nd June 2008

9 years ago

The sale of Jaguar to Tata was completed at a cost of £1.7 billion.

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Monday 23rd March 2009

8 years ago

India’s Tata Motors launched its ultra-cheap ($2,000) two-cylinder 624 cc Nano car in Mumbai. The vehicle was hoped to herald a revolution by making it possible for the world's poor to purchase their first car. Creative cost-saving was evident throughout the Nano. Flat side glass, a single wiper and no tailgate, three wheelnuts instead of four and a single door lock all help to keep the price low. But although the entry-level model was spartan, the CX and LX models had air-con. Incredibly for such a cheap car, a huge range of accessories and customisation options are offered, from decal sets to bodykits and dashboard trims. The 625cc, twin-cylinder engine develops 35bhp, but with only 600 kg to carry, a 50-55 mph cruise was achievable. The low weight meant that all-round drum brakes could be utilised. Despite the cheaper technology, the Nano had independent suspension front and rear, but was designed without anti-roll bars. With such a small engine, fuel consumption was variable with load and speed, but 55mpg was an easy average. The steering, not power-assisted, was light at parking speeds, and reasonably sharp. It rode well over India's terrible roads, thanks in part to tall 65 and 70 section tires. The second-generation Nano was expected to be sold in the United States by 2015. The original Nano is not street legal in the US, and cannot legally be sold as a grey market import until 2034, when the original 2009 models receive a 25-year exemption from the US Customs and Border Protection. Despite a readily-available dealership network in the US through the Jaguar Land Rover division of Tata, Tata Motors will not use Jaguar Land Rover to sell the Nano.

Tata Nano

Tata Nano

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Monday 19th September 2011

5 years ago

Luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover, part of Indian group Tata Motors, announced a £355M investment on a new engine plant in central England. The British government provided £10M for the plant which was expected to create 750 jobs and thousands of jobs across the wider economy.

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Thursday 5th April 2012

5 years ago

Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India's Tata Motors, announced that it planned to build its new Jaguar F-Type sports car in Britain.

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Saturday 2nd November 2013

3 years ago

Kjell Qvale (94), a Norwegian-American business executive, died. Qvale was one of the key figures in the creation of the Jensen-Healey and the first distributor for Jaguar on the Pacific West Coast of the US. He was one of the founders of the San Francisco Auto Show and the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and is credited with the concept of the Corkscrew signature corner of Laguna Seca.

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Monday 13th April 2015

2 years ago

Production of the Jaguar XE formally commenced at Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull plant. The XE was the first compact executive car Jaguar had produced since the 2009 model year X-Type and was the first of several Jaguar models to be built using Jaguar's new modular aluminium architecture, moving the company away from the Ford derived platforms that were used in the past for the X-Type and XF. The use of Jaguar's own platform allowed the XE to feature either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations, and was the first car in its segment with an aluminium monocoque structure.

Jaguar XE - 2015

Jaguar XE - 2015

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Monday 25th January 2016

1 years ago

The last ever Land Rover Defender produced was rolled out of Jaguar Land Rover's Solihull plant in the UK.

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