Jaguar was founded by William Lyons in 1922 as Swallow Sidecars (SS) in Blackpool. ‘Jaguar’ was used as one of the firm’s model designations in 1935. Following the war – when the SS initials had very unfortunate connotations – the whole business simply became the far more appealing Jaguar instead.
The newly christened company made a name for itself with such desirable cars as the XK and the Mk2 saloons. It will forever be lauded for the legendary and beautiful E-type (1961 to 1975), while the XJ6 saloon was the mainstay of the British Leyland years from 1968 to 1984. After a period in the private sector, Jaguar was sold to Ford in 1989 for £1.6bn and has recently ended up in the hands of the Indian tea/steel/cars conglomerate TATA.