The 23rd September 2010 marks the 75th anniversary of the Jaguar marque. To mark the occasion, a group of 75 individually-numbered, iconic Jaguars from across the years will make a two-day journey from Coventry to Goodwood. This exclusive celebration drive, starting in Coventry at 10.30am on Friday 17th September, will take in London’s May Fair hotel – site of the original Jaguar model launch in 1935 – and finish at the UK’s largest heritage motor festival, the Goodwood Revival on Saturday 18th.
Most cars will be privately-owned examples, driven by their owners, joined by some of the most famous cars from Jaguar’s own heritage collection, including the E-Type, C-Type, pre-war SS Jaguar saloons and a selection of its latest models.
Launched to coincide with the drive, an iPhone and iPad app charting the 75 years of the British marque’s history is available to download now by searching ‘Jaguar 75’ in iTunes.
This ‘Jaguar 75’ app pulls together a host of materials that tell the company’s story of making beautiful fast cars over the past 75 years through the people and machines that have made it a British motoring icon – including the SS 2.5-litre Saloon, XK120, C-Type, D-Type, XKSS, MKII, E-Type, XJ13, XJ6, XJ-S, XJR-9, XJ220, XK8, XK, XF and XJ.
Our favourite top facts include:
- When the first ever Jaguar was revealed, Sir William Lyons (founder of Jaguar Cars) asked guests of the launch event to speculate on how much the SS Jaguar 2.5 Litre Saloon would cost. The average guess was £632. In fact, the handsome, luxurious machine cost a mere £385.
- For the 1938 British Motor Show, Lyons penned a coupé version of the SS100. With beautiful sweeping curves and Art Deco detailing it proved a sensation but sadly, with the outbreak of war the following year, the show car was the only one ever built.
- At Le Mans in 1953 Jaguar C-Types finished 1st, 2nd and 4th. The company sent a telegram to the Queen, dedicating its win to her, in her coronation year, and received a congratulatory reply from Her Majesty.
- Of the 16 XKSS vehicles produced, one was bought by actor and racing driver Steve McQueen, who kept it for 10 years before selling it on. Of all his cars it was possibly the one he enjoyed a little too much for it netted him two driving bans. However, clearly regretting his decision, McQueen later bought the car back and owned it until his death.
- Enzo Ferrari proclaimed the E-Type to be “the most beautiful car ever built” on first sight of it, while America’s Road & Track magazine reported it as, in the unreconstructed language of the era, “the greatest crumpet collector known to man.”
- The XJ220 was developed by an informal group of Jaguar employees known as the ‘Saturday Club’ who, as the name suggests, dedicated their spare time to special projects.
- Lyons’ daughter, Pat, was the co-driver of ‘NUB 120’ the most famous competition XK120. Her husband Ian Appleyard drove it to three Alpine Cup victories and two RAC Rally wins.
- The introduction of disc brakes was thanks to Jaguar. They were first fitted to the C-Type raced by Stirling Moss and Norman Dewis in the 1952 Mille Miglia. Italian race officials were mystified by the new technology and demanded a demonstration to prove it was in fact a brake and not some illegal addition.
- In his teens, Ian Callum, Jaguar’s current Design Director, wrote to Bill Heynes (then Chief Engineer) enclosing some of his own designs for a Jaguar. Heynes kindly replied, suggesting to Callum that to pursue his chosen career, he should learn engineering draughtsmanship and study industrial design.
- The fastest ever Jaguar was a slightly modified production XFR that achieved 225.675mph at the Bonneville Salt flats in November 2009.