The Jaguar factory was founded long before the Jaguar brand became
first used in 1945. The foundation of the firm was first set in
1922 by William Lyons and William Walmsley in Blackpool, England.
The name was originally Swallow Coachbuilding, Co and got its
start by constructing motorcycles and sidecars. Eventually they
moved on to building bodies based on the Austin Seven chassis. The
name of the company was changed during the 1930's to SS car Ltd
when their own SS were being produced. Following World War II the
name was dropped and changed to Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar took over
British Daimler in 1960, and from that point on Jaguar utilized
the name of Daimler for its elegant and superior models.
The Jaguar XJ was designed in 1968 and has continued on today,
though it has evolved in many ways. It was three years later in
1971 when a V12 engine was added to the Jaguar E-Type. The only
twelve-cylinder engine in the world at the time, it was later also
added in the Daimler Double Six and the Jaguar XJ 12. Also
available as a convertible, the XJS became available during the
mid-seventies. A luxury GT coupe from Jaguar, the Jaguar XJ-S was
the replacement to the legendary Jaguar E-Type in September of
Based on the XJ saloon, it was developed as the XK-F though
very dissimilar from its predecessor. A competent grand tourer, it
was much more aerodynamic than the e-type. It was produced until
April 4, 1996. The V12 version came with the choice of either
automatic transmission of manual, though the manual was eventually
dropped. Able to reach a top speed of 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, the
XJ-S could accelerate to 150 mph.
Winning the series' 1977 manufacturers' championship cup, the
Group 44 racing teach designed a successful Trans Am race car that
was based on the XJ-S. Unfortunately, the vehicle was not launched
on the market at a good time as the economy was struggling through
the wake of the first fuel crisis. A vehicle never released into
production was the sporty show car based on XJ-S mechanicals by
Pinninfarina in 1979.
Receiving a new High-Efficiency engine, the 1981 XJ-S HE was
now the fastest automatic-transmission car in the world at 155
mph. A year later the V12 XJ-S achieved the first and second at
the Tourist Trophy race at Silverstone. A cabriolet version
debuted as a new 3.6-litre Jaguar AJ6 engine was added to the
line-up. In 1985 a V12 XJ-SC was released.
XJS driver Armin Hahne and John Hoss won the James Harie
Bathurst 1000 motor race in Australia in 1985. To celebrate
Jaguar's win at Le Mans, a special XJR-S version on the V12 5.3
litre car was released in 1988. The vehicle cae with a unique
factory-fitted body kit, alloy wheels and minor performance
modificaions. At one point Jaguar did consider producing a luxury
Daimler version, but unfortunately was never put into production.
The British company Lynx sold a high-quality four-seat full
convertible conversion throughout the entire life of XJ-S.
Producing around 75 hand-built two-door estate/shooting
brake/station wagon versions of the XJS, Lynx marketed these
models under the 'Lynx Eventer'. This model was a success due to
the removal of the ‘flying butresses' which were so unpopular
with the XJ-S models. Though Jaguar was encouraged to market their
own version of this vehicle, they never did. Re-engineered in 1991
with a substantial face-life, the vehicle was renamed the XJS. The
new vehicles incorporated body styling updates, the adoption of
the AJ6 4.0 litre engine rather than the 3.6 litre version and a
totally redesigned interior.
Aiming for a smoother and more contemporary look, nearly 40% of
the vehicles body panels were changed including the rear wings,
sills, doors and boot. The 4.0 litre Convertible in the XJS line
was introduced the following year and featured a driver's side
airbag. This new facility made Jaguar the first UK company that
offered this. The car now had larger rear windows, the main detail
that did not change was the flying buttresses which the designer
Geoff Lawson argued were ‘part of the car's character'.
The V12 was increased to 6 litres in 1993, and the vehicle
received a new 4-litre version of the AJ6. Two years later several
revisions were made to the 4-litre AJ6 engine. The substantial
revisions were meant to highlight the major differences between
the AJ16 abd the original AJ6. Now the vehicle was fitted with new
rear brakes and fitted with outboard rear disc brakes. The
introduction on XK8, production of the XJS came to an end in 1996.