Jaguar cars today are designed in Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering centres at the Whitley plant in Coventry and at their Gaydon site in Warwickshire, and are manufactured in Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich assembly plant near Birmingham.
Jaguar was founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company by Sir William Lyons in 1922, originally making motorcycle sidecars before developing passenger cars. The name was changed to Jaguar after World War II to avoid the unfavourable connotations of the SS initials. Sale to The British Motor Corporation followed in 1966, the resulting enlarged company now being renamed as British Motor Holdings (BMH), which in 1968 merged with Leyland Motor Corporation and became British Leyland, itself to be nationalised in 1975.
The company has had major success in sports car racing, particularly in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Victories came in 1951 and 1953 with the C-Type, then in 1955, 1956 and 1957 with the D-Type. The manager of the racing team during this period, Lofty England, later became CEO of Jaguar in the early 1970s. Although the prototype XJ13 was built in the mid-1960s it was never raced, and the famous race was then left for many years, until in the mid-1980s when Tom Walkinshaw’s TWR team started designing and preparing Jaguar V12-engined sports prototypes for European sports car races. The team started winning regularly from 1987, and with increased factory backing the team won Le Mans in 1988 and 1990.
In the 1999, Ford decided that Jaguar would be the corporation’s Formula One entry. Ford bought out the Stewart Grand Prix team and rebranded it as Jaguar Racing for the 2000 season. The Jaguar F1 program was not a success however, achieving only two podium finishes in five seasons of competition between 2000 and 2004. At the end of 2004, with costs mounting and Ford’s profits dwindling, the F1 team was seen as an unneeded expense and was sold to Red Bull energy drinks owner Dietrich Mateschitz, and it became Red Bull Racing. Since 2004 Jaguar has not had an official presence in motorsport.
Whitley, Coventry, United Kingdom