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’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