In 1922, a twenty year old motorcycle aficionado by the name of William (Bill) Lyons joined in a partnership with William Walmsley to start the Swallow Sidecar Company. By 1927, the two men had created a two-seater body for chassis and formed the Swallow Sidecar and Coach building Company from the ground up.
While the company began as a manufacturer of motorcycle side cars, it quickly moved on to bigger and better things: automobile production. In 1935, the SS Jaguar name first materialized on the sporty model cars, SS 90 and SS 100. However, the SS Jaguar emblem was surrounded by infamously negative sensitivities. The SS, also standing for Schutzstaffel, stood for a major paramilitary organization headed by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany during World War II. Since “SS” conjured up ill feelings of this criminal organization, Jaguar was compelled to eliminate the “SS” from the brand name completely in hopes of creating a more positive name for itself.
The 1950s marked a period of significant growth for the Jaguar car company, as it started to export its automobiles to the United States under the name “Jaguar Cars North America.” The Mark VII Saloon was showcased on the American market in 1951 and put Jaguar on the map. It was during this time that the founder, Bill Lyons, was knighted Sir William Lyons for his impressive contributions to the automobile business in Britain. The honor bestowed upon Lyons was emblematic of the widespread success of the growing Jaguar name.
The onset of the sixties brought with it a swell in publicity for Jaguar. After falling to some financial adversity, the company redirected its attention away from the racing program. This era harvested a plenitude of what would become the car company’s most illustrious models. With the debut of the luxurious E-Type sports car, Jaguar became a symbol of British taste; the popularity of British celebrities and groups like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, made the Jaguar an icon for the sixties famed British culture.
Today, Jaguar is far-famed for its sports cars like the XK120 (1948-1954), the XK140 (1954-1957), the E-Type (1961-1974), and the XK (2006-present); its selection of large executive cars like the Mark V (1948-1951), the Mark X (1961-1966), the 420G (1966-1970), the XJ6 Series 1, 2, and 3 (1968-1987), the XJ6 and XJ12 (1995-1997), and the XJ (X351), which is still in production today; and of course, its other cars like the S-type, X-type and Jaguar C-X75.
From sleek and sultry racing cars to beautiful and fast luxury cars, Jaguar has made its mark on the world in more ways than one. The ongoing mission of the highly esteemed company was best spoken by its magnetic founder; he said his company vision was to be “the closest thing we can create to something that is alive.” And alive and well the car manufacturer is. The new millennium has ushered in a period of re-imagination in terms of car design. It is truly the Jaguar philosophy that remains a benchmark for fast and furious cars to come.
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