Jaguar Century: 100 Years of Automotive Excellence | Book Review

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Perhaps the first line of this book’s postscript best sums up the famed British automaker: “Jaguar is a work in progress, even after one hundred years.”

Jaguar Century: 100 Years of Automotive Excellence” covers that first hundred years, starting with an early fascination for company founders William Lyons and William Walmsley: motorcycles and sidecars. 

The book, in rather deep detail, follows the growth of their Swallow Sidecar company from its 1922 birth into an auto coachwork builder and then a car manufacturer. During World War II, the workload expanded to cover aircraft–like wingtips for the Spitfire fighter and fuel tanks for the Mosquito bomber. 

Jaguar replaced the SS nameplate after the war, but–as that postscript states–the company continued to be a work in progress. The book follows its nationalization by the British government in 1975, Ford’s purchase of it in 1990 and, just before the 2008 economic meltdown, Tata’s takeover. The latest big news: No new Jaguars will run on gas or diesel after 2025 as the marque transitions to a new era. “And for that,” the postscript concludes, “Jaguar fanatics should feel only happiness.”

“Jaguar Century: 100 Years of AutomotiveExcellence” by Giles Chapman
Published by Quarto
224 pages

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