Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,352 pages of information and 245,904 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


From Graces Guide
October 1931. S. S. Swallow Standard
October 1936.
October 1941.
March 1944.
March 1947.
October 1949.
October 1949.
Seen in Sydney, Australia. 2014.
Seen in Sydney, Australia. 2014.
Seen in Sydney, Australia. 2014.
Seen in Sydney, Australia. 2014.
1950. Mark VII
October 1952.
March 1953.
October 1955.
October 1957.
Oct 1960.
18th March 1961.
Oct 1962.
Reg No: LWK 996.
Reg No: LWK 996.
Reg No: L200 JAG.
Reg: 777 BHY.
Reg: 777 BHY.
1968. Reg No: YMO 295F.
October 1971.
May 1976. Reg No: KWK 882P.
October 1982.
1989. Jaguar 3.2 Sport. Reg No: NEZ 1012.
1994. Reg No: L782 TWK.
1992. Sovreign 4-litre. Reg No: K544 EJH.
1970. 4.2L. Reg No: XKH 218H.
Reg No: PYU 557.
Reg No: RWO 407R.
Reg No: 682 MKL.
Reg No: L856 ONU.
Reg No: D521 OWO.
XJS. Reg No: L333 XJS.
XJS 3.6 Litre. Reg No: C324 LTT.
Reg No: 667 UPE.
July 1977.
3.5 litre. Reg No: NKM 645.
3.5 litre. Reg No: NKM 645.
Reg No: UTL 244.

Jaguar Cars of Browns Lane, Coventry is a manufacturer of cars.

1933 William Lyons founded S. S. Cars Limited, which acquired the business carried on by Swallow Coachbuilding Co[1] manufacturing S. S. cars as well as motorcycle sidecars[2].

1935 The Jaguar engine was introduced[3]. The Jaguar name first appeared on a 2.5 litre saloon.

The Jaguar company started production with the pre-war 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 litre models which used engines designed by the Standard Motor Co. The 1.5 litre four-cylinder engine was still supplied by Standard but the two larger six-cylinder ones were made in house. These cars have become known unofficially as Mark IVs.

1937 The Jaguar engine had proved to be very reliable. Manufacture of the engine was again put in the hands of the Standard Motor Co who would continue to produce it for the foreseeable future[4]

1945 Changed the company name to Jaguar because of the unfavourable connotations of the initials "SS" in the war.

1945 Sold the Swallow Coachbuilding Co concern to the Helliwell Group

1948 The first post war model was the Mark V available with either 2.5 or 3.5 litre engines and had a more streamlined appearance than pre-war models, but more important was the change to independent front suspension and hydraulic brakes.

1948 The big breakthrough was the launch in 1948 of the XK120 sports car with the new XK twin overhead camshaft (DOHC) 3.5 litre hemi-head six-cylinder engine designed by William M. Heynes as Chief Engineer and with Walter Hassan, Harry Mundy and Claude Baily. This car had originally been intended as a short production model of about 200 vehicles as a test bed for the new engine until its intended home, the new Mark VII saloon, was ready. The XK120's reception was such production continued until 1954 and it was followed by the XK140, XK150, and E-Type, keeping Jaguar in the sports car market.

1951 Introducing the large Mark VII saloon a car especially conceived for the American market, Jaguar soon found itself overwhelmed with orders. The Mark VII and its successors gathered rave reviews from magazines such as Road and Track and The Motor. In 1956 a Mark VII won the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally.

1951 Exhibitor at the 1951 Motor Show in the Car Section.

1955 Mark 1 small saloon was the first monocoque (uni-body) car from Jaguar and used a 2.4 litre short stroke version of the XK engine.

1956 Image on this page for 2.4 litre. [5]

1956 The Mark VIII of 1956 and Mark IX of 1958 were essentially updates of the Mark VII but the Mark X of 1961 was a completely new design of large saloon with all round independent suspension and uni-body construction.

1959 The car was improved with a larger engine and wider windows and became the Mark 2, one of the most recognizable Jaguar models ever produced. It would be popular with British police forces for its small size, light weight, and powerful engine.

1960 The company bought the Daimler car company (not to be confused with Daimler-Benz) from Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA). From the late 1960s, Daimler was used as a brand name for Jaguar's most luxurious saloons.

1961 Employ 4,800 persons. [6]

1961 Acquired Guy Motors, maker of buses and trucks

1963 Motor Show exhibitor. Showed Mark X, Mark 2, 3.4 and 3.8 S models and E Type. [7]

1963 Acquired Coventry Climax

1966 Jaguar merged with the British Motor Corporation (BMC), the Austin-Morris combine, to form British Motor Holdings (BMH) in 1966.

1968 After merging with Leyland and Rover, the resultant company then became British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC) in 1968. Financial difficulties and the publication of the Ryder Report led to effective nationalisation in 1975 and the company became British Leyland Ltd and then BL.

1974 Jaguar ripped out the assembly track for the E-type in their Coventry factory to make way for the F-type.[8]

Jaguar cars gained something of a reputation for unreliability during the 1970s and 1980s, however this has improved considerably in the last 20 years.

1981 Sales of Jaguar cars in America almost doubled in April compared to the previous year.[9]

1983 Austin Rover Group and Leyland Vehicles, the bus and truck division, were both loss making; the other divisions of BL Cars, Jaguar and Unipart, were profitable[10]

1984 Jaguar was floated off as a separate company on the stock market - one of the Thatcher government's many privatisations. It took the Vanden Plas name with it. It was then taken over by Ford in 1989-1990.

1990 Since the company has been under the Ford Motor Company umbrella, reliability and build has improved dramatically, even surpassing that of Audi and Mercedes-Benz, with the company coming 7th (out of 30) in the J. D. Power Customer Satisfaction Survey (the '242-million mile road test'), and the S-TYPE model coming 9th out of 105 cars in the same survey. However, nowhere has the turnaround in the quality of the cars been more obvious than in the 2003 Top Gear Survey, where the XJ8 (X308) model came first.

1999 Jaguar became part of Ford's new Premier Automotive Group along with Aston Martin, Volvo Cars and, from 2001, Land Rover. Since Land Rover's 2002 purchase by Ford, it has been closely associated with Jaguar. In many countries they share a common sales and distribution network (including shared dealerships), and some models now share components and production facilities. In September 2006 Ford also bought the rights to the Rover name and it is now part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group.

Today, Jaguars are assembled at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham and Halewood in Liverpool. The historic Browns Lane plant closed as a vehicle assembly plant in 2005 leaving the XJ, XK and S-Type production at Castle Bromwich and the X-Type at Halewood. The company also has an engineering division in Whitley, Coventry.

Since Ford purchased Jaguar in 1989 it has yet to earn a profit for the Dearborn-based automaker.

List of Models

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jan 10, 1935
  2. The Times, Oct 28, 1933
  3. The Times, Nov 10, 1937
  4. The Times, Nov 10, 1937
  5. [1] History World
  6. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  7. 1963 Motor Show
  8. The Engineer 1974/09/05
  9. The Engineer 1981/05/21
  10. The Times , Apr 28, 1983