DEFINING ITS MYSTICAL...ESSENCE
Jaguar Magazine|Issue 208
What is it about Jaguar that makes it so loved and how did that come to be?
LES. HUGHES

IS THE REASON SO MANY OWNERS AND JAGUAR devotees are sweating proverbial drops of blood over their concern for the future of the historic marque because they fear those in control don't comprehend what it represents?

The decision for Jaguar to become the first traditional manufacturer to not offer an internal combustion engine option, and its bizarre treatment of the Swedish couple building their own C-Type replica, smacks of everything Jaguar is not, never was - and we are hearing nothing from its bosses when we need to, with urgency.

So what is it that brings out such incredible loyalty and support each time things look grim? It has always been there, but has never been properly documented.

Without any doubt, the car's character originates with Sir William Lyons, the untrained motorcycle lover who started building sidecars with his neighbor who already had a business in his home garage. The year was 1922, and the unlikely place was the beach resort town of Blackpool.

Lyons was a quiet twenty-one-year-old, soon to be married to local girl Greta Brown, but he was ambitious too and brought many local men and women along with him on his incredible journey which eventually resulted in the creation of Jaguar Cars.

He not only ran his evolving businesses which started with Swallow Sidecars, but he also possessed the astounding ability to design his vehicles right up until the creation of the C-Type in 1951. That's something no other manufacturer has ever had to the extent of Jaguar. Most of his staff moved with him to Coventry in 1928, and the pride they had in their boss, their company, and its cars and sidecars brewed a unique mystique.

Not its workers, nor Lyons, were particularly well paid, but they relished the success which resulted in some of the brightest and most promising automotive industry talents joining his business. Their achievements were astounding by any standard.

The only staff member William Lyons ever addressed by his Christian name was the fearsome Fred Gardner, and it is believed that is because Gardner mortgaged his family home to keep the business afloat. Then in 1964, Jack Bryson in Melbourne purchased between 300 and 400 unbuilt Jaguars following a phone call from Sir William Lyons who told him the business was desperate for cash. The money for all cars was transferred overnight and Jaguar was saved again. Sir William told us in 1979: He was a man of outstanding integrity. His friendliness and desire to help others was a characteristic that singled him out amongst other men. His contribution to the growth of Jaguar was very considerable indeed, and in his passing Britain lost one of its most devoted and loyal supporters. Please read what he was saying between the lines.

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