Jaguar has been one of those names tossed around from one ownership group to another in the automotive world: not always to the benefit of the brand.
When you think of what Jaguar stands for, high-quality luxury cars typically come to mind, but this company has a long history that didn’t start out in the luxury car market. Let’s take a look at some different developments for this brand throughout the years, to give you a better understanding of where this brand began to where it is now.
The Beginning was Swallow Sidecars
That’s right, the beginning of the brand we’ve admired for decades wasn’t building anything with an engine but building sidecars for motorcycles. Swallow Sidecars built custom-designed sidecars before the company moved onto car bodies. The bodies from the early days of this brand were mounted on chassis and engines that came from Standard Motor Company. The first actual car that came from this brand was the 2.5 saloon in 1935 giving us an entry into the now famous brand. The Mark IV models brought SS-tuned Standard 4-cylinder engines that offered 105 horsepower, which was ok, but not terrific for the time.
It Can be Hard for a Small Company to Meet Demands
The Jaguar XK120 through XK150 models created issues with demand outpacing the supply of the vehicles. Initially, the goal was to only produce 200 models of these cars but eventually the company produced more than 12,000 models of the XK140. The earliest versions of the XK models used an aluminum body over an ash frame giving us some of the early wooden frames that we’ve admired for decades. The new XK6 engines offered impressive performance with record speeds of up to 126 mph in 1949.
Lightweight Racing Machines Make an Entry
The next evolution for this brand was to bring in the C-Type and D-Type models that were lightweight performance machines. The XK120C gave us a car that was streamlined with aluminum body that was fast and formidable on the track. The C-Type won two races at LeMans, proving this brand was a name to be reckoned with in the auto industry. This racing success cemented the name of this jungle cat in our world.
This Brand Proved that it had the Chops with a Long Production Model
The Jaguar XJ models proved that this brand could stand the test of time. The XJ was the longest production car for this brand and it went though several different names and builds to give us an amazing luxury car that we’ve loved to drive. The XJ6 sold 318,000 models during its time, which is a large number for what was once a boutique luxury car brand that was growing.
Along Comes More Sports Cars for Us to Admire
Some of the most incredibly stylish and enjoyable sports cars in the market have come from this brand. The E-Type is an icon and one of the most loved cars in the world. The XJ-S reaches close to the same level of respect. The E-Type came to the market in 1961 and offered a top speed of 150 mph. Eventually, the series III model would have a massive 5.3-liter V12 engine that gave it more power and performance for the ride. The XJ-S came around in 1975 to give us a new sports car that was originally mired, but eventually became one of the best cars from this brand.
More Sedans Came Along for this Highly-Respected Brand
Some of the Jaguar models that showed up in the most recent years have used Ford chassis builds as the foundation for these models. Of course, the classic style that makes them Jags is right where it belongs. The name was no longer one that was an upstart in the industry and in 1999 the S-Type came to be one of the most attractive sedans of the time. This car was sold overseas with a 2.7-liter diesel engine and a 4.2-liter gas engine in the United States.
This Brand Turned to Small Sedans for Boosted Sales
The X-Type was a car that many didn’t think belonged in the same breath as other cars from this brand. Until the X-Type arrived in 2001, this brand was all about large comfortable and powerful sedans or stylish and fast sports cars. the X-Type was the first small sedan; aimed directly at the heart of BMW with the 3-Series in its sights. Thankfully, a second version, the XE came about in 2015 and saved the small car segment of this brand.
The E-Type has a True Successor
Since the Jaguar E-Type of the 1960s, the brand had a hard time offering us a sports car that could match the excitement of the icon. Along came the F-Type that caught our attention with its thunderous roar and amazing performance. The new F-Type was a true Jag sports car and offered formidable performance numbers to prove it.
More Recently, the SUVs Are Taking Over
The entire automotive market has transitioned and sedans are no longer looked at as a good fit for many automakers. Although this brand has global sales and is a name we know and love, its still relatively small compared to the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. If the market shifts, so does this brand and that brought us the F-Pace in 2015. This new luxury SUV showed up to be one of the most impressive and luxurious models of the time.
The XJ Refused to be Forgotten
Some aspects of the auto world are only present because of sheer stubbornness. The Jaguar XJ enjoyed a fourth-generation launch in 2009 by putting aside the normal retro styling of the brand for a modern look to the car. This new XJ with the range-topping XJR gave us an amazing sedan to admire for the driving enthusiast that wants to enjoy everything that’s good about driving a Jag. Of course, we expect to see more SUVs and electrified models from this brand going forward.
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