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75 glorious years of Jaguar

Last updated on: August 17, 2010 16:30 IST

75 glorious years of Jaguar

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This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Jaguar brand. Over the years Jaguar has built some of the world's most iconic cars.

The British luxury carmaker is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Indian auto company Tata Motors and is operated as part of the Jaguar-Land Rover business today.

Known simply as 'Jaguar' in Britain, the carmaker has a long and illustrious history.

Headquartered in Coventry, England, it has given the world some of the finest car models.

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Image: All new Jaguar XJ model.

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75 glorious years of Jaguar

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Established by Sir William Lyons in 1922, Jaguar was initially known as the Swallow Sidecar Company.

The company initially manufactured motorcycle sidecars and gradually evolved into passenger cars.

It was rechristened 'Jaguar' after World War-II because the SS initials brought to mind Germany's SS (Schutzstaffel - a major Nazi organisation under Adolf Hitler) military organisation.

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Image: Sir William Lyons in front of the Jaguar factory.

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75 glorious years of Jaguar

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Old models

Among a pile of striking models, Jaguar's pre-war 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 litre models deserve special mention.

The 1.5l 4-cylinder units were provided by Standard Motor Company but the two larger six-cylinder ones were made in house.

The cars with these engine were called Mark IVs of which the 1939 Jaguar Mk IV 3 L is a fine example.

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Image: Jaguar pre-war 1.5.
Photographs: Courtesy, Ian Cook
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75 glorious years of Jaguar

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Post-war came the 1948 Mark V available in 2.5 or 3.5 l engines that had the additional feature of independent front suspension and hydraulic brakes.

But it was the 1948 XK120 sports car that stole the thunder.

It was designed by William Heynes and Claude Baily and it had a XK twin overhead camshaft (DOHC) 3.5 l hemi-head six-cylinder engine.

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Image: 1948 Mark V.

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75 glorious years of Jaguar

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The cars in this series gained so much popularity that Jaguar produced them all the way till 1954.

Some of the popular models include - XK140, XK150 and E-Type.

‎The next feather in Jaguar's cap was the Mark VII saloon in 1951 which went on to win the Monte Carlo Rally in 1956.

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Image: 1951 Mark VII.

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75 glorious years of Jaguar

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Jaguar's first uni-body car came in 1955 in the form of Mark 1, which was a 2.4 l XK engine.

The updates of Mark VII were Mark VIII of 1956 and Mark IX of 1958.

The Mark X in 1963 and the S-Type followed these.

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Image: 1963 Mark X.

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75 glorious years of Jaguar

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Some of the other interesting Jaguar cars include the XJ 1968, Series I XJ, 1968, Series II 1973, Series III 1979 and then the completely redesigned 1986/1987 XJ40.

Jaguar X300, X308 and X350 were the cars of the recent times that made a mark.

Among the jewels in the crown was the Jaguar XJ220 produced in 1992-1994 was among the fastest car with a speed of 350 km/h.

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Image: Jaguar XJ.

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75 glorious years of Jaguar

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Newer models

The recent car models by Jaguar that need a mention include 2008 Jaguar XF, the mid-size executive car. XF comes in a 3.0 l V6 diesel or petrol and a 5.0 litre V8 supercharged XFR.

The various updates of the luxury saloon XJ have been doing extremely well.

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Image: Jaguar XF concept..

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Then there is the 2006 Jaguar XK grand tourer that was replaced by Jaguar XK8.

Jaguar's R models like 1995, 322bhp, 6 cylinder XJR was upgraded to a 8 cylinder engine with supercharger in 1997.

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Image: Jaguar XKR.

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The latest 2004-2009 XJR produces 400 hp (298 kW) and does the 0-100kmph sprint in just over five seconds.

The XKR and XFR are some of the very recent examples of mind blowing Jaguar cars.

The brand under its Indian ownership has stablised after its bad economic phase and continues to give the world wonderful cars to drive in.

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Image: Jaguar XFR.

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