(first posted 10/18/2014) In the history of our favourite industry, many great names, perhaps most, can be traced back to the drive, ambition and ingenuity of one person, who would often keep his (and it was always his) name over the door. Ford, Chrysler, Duesenberg, Austin, Morris, Citroen, Benz, Honda, Ferrari. But the name of Sir William Lyons is perhaps overlooked and now less familiar than many others, unfairly, since he gave us one of the greatest brands Britain has ever produced and which has survived – Jaguar.
Lyons was born in 1901, in Blackpool, then as now a traditional sea side resort on the northwest coast of England, well away from the heart of motor industry. His father owned a musical instrument shop, and Lyons was apprenticed to Crossley Motors in Manchester, where he also studied at the technical school. He left Crossley in 1919 to work as a salesman at the Sunbeam dealers Brown and Mallalieu in Blackpool.
In 1921, he met William Walmsley, who was converting army-surplus motorcycles for civilian use and making sidecars to go with them; Lyons admired the sidecars and bought one. Subsequently, Lyons and Walmsley obtained from their fathers a substantial £500 bank guarantee to go into business together. Their plans were delayed as Lyons was under the minimum age to hold a company directorship, but on his 21st birthday he formed a formal business partnership with Walmsley, called Swallow Sidecars with a staff of “three men and a boy”. It is clear, however, that Lyons was always the dominant and driving partner in the business – indeed by 1930 the personal relationship had broken down.
The first product was therefore not a car but a motorcycle sidecar, shown above with Walmsley and Lyons himself. Through the 1920s, Swallow built sidecar bodies and, from 1926, premium bodies on the chassis of cars such as the Austin 7, which the Blackpool factory produced at the rate of 12 per week. The Austin 7, Britain’s first high volume small car, was offered by Austin with a standard body but many were supplied as a chassis which was then sold with a premium body by an independent coachbuilder, of which Swallow was probably the highest profile.
Swallow gradually made a subtle transition from building a body on an Austin to building a Swallow car, using the chassis from another manufacturer. A subtle difference, but the perception was important. By 1928, following several moves to larger premises in Blackpool, in 1928 Lyons moved the company, including the plant and the people (and his own family) to Coventry, the heart of Britain’s motor industry; in 1929 models based on chassis from Standard and Fiat chassis were offered, one of which was the Standard Swallow.
In 1931, Lyons was able to build a sports car based, on the Standard chassis, and sold as the SS1. The range increased as the 1930s progressed, moving progressively upmarket. One often unreported fact of the 1930s is that although there was a grim depression in Europe for several years, the strongest elements of the motor industry managed largely to survive, and in cases prosper, and emerge stronger at the end, as overall the market for and the affordability of cars grew. By 1933, the company was formally renamed SS Cars, the side car and small car business hived off and the company went public in 1934, as a builder of sports cars and sports saloons based on the Standard chassis. William Walmsley sold out at this time, leaving William Lyons as the undisputed master of a publicly quoted company at the age of 32.
There is an unresolved debate about the name SS – was it an abbreviation of Swallow Sidecars, Swallow Swift or Standard Swallow? Sir John Black, Chairman of Standard who had an exclusive agreement with SS to use Standard chassis and engines, claimed the latter, to gather a sprinkling of the SS magic, by association. Lyons was almost building his core team at this time; the best known of these are probably Walter (Wally) Hassan, leading engine design with Bill Heynes, who also led the vehicle engineering.
In 1935, the first performance saloon car, the SS Jaguar 2 ½ litre saloon, was launched. It was powered by a 2.5 L engine, developed from a side valve engine produced by Standard but fitted with an OHV cylinder head conversion designed by Hassan and Heynes, lifting the power from 70bhp to 100bhp. Lyons launched the car at a formal black tie event at the Mayfair Hotel in London, asking the invited guests to write their expectation of the selling price before revealing the £395 figure. The guests’ average was reportedly closer to £750, and the link between Jaguar, performance and value for money was first made.
SS followed this up with the SS100 – truly the first high performance Jaguar sports car. It was named for its claimed maximum speed of 100mph and was the first pure sports car to carry the Jaguar name and the leaper mascot. The styling was by Lyons himself. It was offered in very limited numbers with fewer than 400 cars being produced by 1939, as a roadster or as a one-off elegant coupe; a pristine example is now a million dollar car.
By 1938, power was up to 125bhp from a 3 ½ litre engine, which reliably achieved the required 100 mph. The car was based around a shortened version of the SS Jaguar saloon, although production was actually very limited, with fewer than 400 cars being produced by 1939.
The name Jaguar (always pronounced Jag-you-ar, in the UK, rather than the Americanised Jag-wah) was chosen personally by Lyons. He wanted an animal name and picked Jaguar from a range suggested by his marketing and publicity team, reportedly liking the link to the Armstrong-Siddeley Jaguar aero-engine of the Great War.
After the Second World War the company, for obvious reasons, changed its name, selecting just “Jaguar Cars” and in 1948, at that famous London Motor Show, showed the world perhaps the most exciting car of the immediate post war period – the Jaguar XK120. What is perhaps a little less well known is that the car was actually intended as just a test bed and showcase for Jaguar’s other great motor show launch – the XK engine, designed by Bill Heynes and Walter Hassan, with some of the initial design work having been done under wraps during the war.
In a parallel to the Morris Minor’s initial concept being defined during war time fire watching, Heynes and Hassan did a lot of initial work on the XK engine, including persuading Lyons of the need for it, during fire watching at Jaguar’s factory in Holbrook, Coventry.
The XK engine was a straight six, twin overhead cam (when many makers were proudly showing OHV engines), originally with 3.4 liters, and ultimately in a range of capacities from 2.4 litre to 4.2 litre, It powered every Jaguar sports car from 1948 to 1971 and every saloon from 1951 to 1971, when the Jaguar V12 was added to the XJ and E Type ranges, and continued to power every 6 cylinder Jaguar until 1986, and was only finally retired in 1992, after service in the Daimler DS420 limousine. Derivatives were also used in some military vehicle applications. A quite remarkable engine, and achieved using some equipment that had been designed and built for the manufacture of military ordinance in the Great War.
The XK120, of course, had looks to die for. It was styled by a team led by Lyons himself and the earliest car bodies were built in aluminium around ash wood framing. From 1950, as demand rose and Jaguar realised what the full demand for the car was, a pressed steel body replaced much of the aluminium body, though the aluminium doors, bonnet and boot lid remained.
In 1951, the XK120 won the Le Mans 24 Hours. A fixed head coupe came in 1953, using the same 3.4 litre, 160bhp XK engine. During the 1950s the car grew wider to become the XK140 (3.4 litre, 190bhp, 1954) and finally the XK150 (ultimately 3.8 litre, 250hbp and 135 mph from 1957), as Jaguar learnt from using the XK engine to win Le Mans 5 times in the 1950s.
However, the 1955 race at Le Mans is linked with more tragic events in Jaguar’s history. Not only was the company’s victory overshadowed by the horrific accident of the Mercedes-Benz of Pierre Levegh, it also marked the accident that killed John Lyons, Sir William’s only son, whilst driving to Le Mans for the event. How the history of Jaguar changed that day is difficult to quantify, but it certainly did.
The second Le Mans winner was the C-Type (C for competition) based on the XK120. The other three were with the Jaguar D-Type, the first monocoque construction Jaguar sports car, styled by aircraft aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, with a focus on a minimised cross sectional area and a distinctive fin behind the driver’s head for further reductions in drag and increased stability. The XK engine was fitted with dry sump lubrication to achieve the low bonnet line.
Fewer than 90 D-Types were built, including the road going XKSS version, fitted with a second seat, passenger-side door, side windows, full-width framed windscreen and windscreen wipers, trimmed interior, folding hood, and bumpers—making them eligible for production sports car races in America. Sadly, a fire in the Brown’s Lane factory in February 1957 destroyed uncompleted cars and also, crucially, many of the necessary jigs and tooling for car as well as uncompleted cars, effectively ending production. Hence, the example here is a replica!
The D-Type’s styling clearly heralded the style of the immortal (there can be no other word) Jaguar E-Type, known as the XK-E in some markets, and perhaps the most recognisable sports car in the world, with a timeless style and appeal, and like the D-Type, linked to a similar application of aerodynamic principles. The first cars had a 3.8 litre XK engine, and could do 150mph, or at least the Press Office cars could, just.
During the 1960s, the E-Type gradually evolved – a 4.2 litre XK engine in 1964, the 2+2 coupe was added in 1966 with an automatic transmission option and there was a more thorough revision in 1968, with series 2 cars. This is the car that defined, and still defines, the glamorous 1960s’ sports car, to everyone, in a direct parallel to the Mini’s definition of 1960s’ small car.
It had an independent rear suspension that was designed in a month, and which served Jaguar for over 25 years; it spoke to the optimism of the decade ahead, of the social and cultural changes that were expected; it said mechanical things could be beautiful and capable; its recognition and appeal has endured to a level beyond any other Jaguar, perhaps any other British car; it was, and still is, cool, perhaps the coolest car ever. It was the car Enzo Ferrari called “the most beautiful car in the world”. And compared to Enzo’s cars, it had the performance to match and the price to make him weep.
The original roadster was supplemented by a Coupe version, with the distinctive side hinged tailgate in 1964 and the 3.8 litre XK grew to the full 4.2 litre in 1965, with a significant increase in torque rather than horsepower. There was also a less elegant 2+2 Coupe with a 9 inch longer wheelbase and raised roof line, which also had an option of automatic transmission.
I know you want one, simply because everyone does. Mine will be a series II Coupe.
Meanwhile, Jaguar was developing a much wider saloon car range. From 1948, the main Jaguar saloon has evolved from the Mk V, which had the pre-war Standard based engine but a new independent wishbone and torsion bar front suspension and a pressed steel body. This was much an interim model, replaced by the Mk VII (there was no Mk VI, to avoid a clash with Bentley nomenclature) in 1951, with the XK3.4 litre 160bhp engine.
In the MKVII, which was essentially a rebodied Mk V with a much more contemporary full width style, the XK engine made its first appearance in a saloon in 160 bhp, 3.4 litre form, offering over 100mph. The car had a wheelbase of 120inches and a length of 196 inches, so this was a large car in Europe, if not quite full size in North America.
Of course, all these saloons had Jaguar’s traditional British wood and leather interior, complete with burr walnut and picnic tables. One of Jaguar’s great strengths has long been an ability to almost match a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, in terms of material and craftsmanship, at a price that doesn’t. What is sometimes less noticed is that the sports cars, including the E-Type, did not have so much wood and leather in the interiors but had much more typical sports car matt black and chrome finishes, a style that endures into today’s F-Type.
The Mk VII evolved into the visually very similar Mk VIII, of 1956, and IX of 1959. These cars had typical 1950s changes, such as larger and single piece windscreens, larger lamps, new grilles and some more power – 190bhp for the MK VIII and 220 bhp for the Mk IX, which also had powered recirculating ball steering and four wheel disc brakes. But Jaguar now also had a range of two saloon models.
From 1955, Jaguar had also offered the much smaller 2.4 and 3.4 litre saloons, known now as the Mk 1 saloons (seen above with Lyons, Walter Hassan and an Austin Swallow), in recognition of their successor, the famous Jaguar Mk 2 saloon of 1959 that did so much to bring Jaguar to a place in the market where the car could be realistically aspired to.
You can consider the MK 2 as filling the role of the BMW 5 series in 1960s Britain, alongside the 3 series equivalent offered in the Rover 2000. Still using the XK engine and with Jaguar’s first monocoque, with a rear suspension based on that in the D-Type, using inverted semi-elliptic springs cantilevered into the main body frame with the rear quarter section carrying the axle and acting as trailing arms. This was the car that brought Jaguar into competition with brands such as Rover, emphasising the image Jaguar had for being less conservative than Rover, a Wolseley, a Humber or an Austin Westminster, may be a bit bling, a bit flash, even (horror of horrors) being of new money.
The Mk 2 was distinguished by larger windows, a new interior and the revised rear suspension. It is now also remembered as being the car of choice for a 1960s bank job, and also quite likely to be the police car chasing itself afterwards. The televised Inspector Morse had one, even if the character originally had a Lancia in the novels.
This car was also the basis for the Daimler 2.5 V8 (later known as the V8-250) which used the compact Daimler designed V8 engine from the Daimler SP250 (née Dart) sports car. Jaguar had purchased the British Daimler company in 1961, for the production capacity, and indeed the famous Brown’s Lane plant had been leased from Daimler since 1950.
Jaguar also purchased the bankrupt Guy truck and bus builder in 1960, and so by 1961, Jaguar was a truck builder, under the Guy brand, and the country’s second biggest builder of buses, under the Daimler brand.
Indeed, the next range of Guy trucks was known as Big J series.
In 1961, Jaguar launched the Mk X which, by European standards, can only be described as huge, and was aimed primarily at the US market. This used either a 3.8 or 4.2 litre version of the XK engine and was Jaguar’s first full size monocoque. Size wise, this car was 202” long with a 120” wheelbase and a width of 76”, so for Europe it was sufficiently large to be effectively limited in many places. It did, however, bring independent rear suspension to Jaguar saloons for the first time, using a design very similar to that in the E type.
Style wise, this car was also the basis for the first Jaguar S Type, from 1963. This was an amalgam of Mark 2 and Mark X engineering – the rear suspension design of the Mk X was added to the Mk 2 with revised, longer rear body work and either 3.4 or 3.8 litre XK engines. In 1966, came the 420 – essentially an S Type with a revised nose to visually match the Mk X and a 4.2 litre XK engine. The Mk X was renamed the 420G at the same time.
So, by 1966, the Jaguar saloon range was complex, with essentially 3 cars (Mk 2, 420 and 420G), 2 of which (the MK 2 and 420) came in Daimler versions as well, and in which the most modern (the 420G) was not the biggest seller, and parts of the others dated back to the 1950s. But Sir William Lyons had a plan, based on one car, and what a car it was – the 1968 Jaguar XJ6, and the follow up of the 1972 XJ12, with the Jaguar 5.3 litre V12 engine. I have previously covered the XJ12 in CC, and while not everyone seemed convinced by my conclusion that it was the best car in the world in the 1970s, I’m sticking to my view.
The engine itself was 5.3 litre, with a single chain driven overhead camshaft on each bank, and an emphasis on low to mid range torque and power, as befitted a luxury car, rather than a high power, high rev set up. It first appeared in the 1971 E-Type Series 3, with Lucas fuel injection, producing around 250bhp.
The XJ6 was effectively a distillation of all the good things Jaguar had achieved in the previous 20 years – it used the XK engine, the rear suspension was based on the Mk X and E-Type configurations, the front suspension from the Mk 1 of 1955, all round Girling disc brakes, great styling finessed by William Lyons himself, the full traditional English wood and leather interior, and stunning value for money.
It was 25% cheaper than the BMW 2800 or Mercedes-Benz 280SE, the 2.8 litre version was cheaper than the Rover 3.5 litre, a 1950s car with the Rover (ex-Buick) engine; it had the best ride of any car other than a Citroen DS, and without that car’s roll and pitch issues; it was more refined than David Niven; it looked as good as any saloon has, ever, especially after the 1979 series III facelift.
The XJ6 and XJ12 were the last Jaguars to be completed solely under Lyons’ watch. In 1966, Jaguar had merged with BMC – perhaps a surprising match, that maybe offered more to Jaguar than it did to BMC, apart from the trucks and buses, and Lyons retired from Jaguar in 1972, to tend to his private farming interests. The 1970s were not a happy time for Jaguar, or indeed the British motor industry. By 1974, British Leyland had failed financially and come under Government ownership.
Jaguar’s new products in the 1970s were limited to the 2 door XJ-C coupe version of the XJ saloon and the Jaguar XJ-S sports coupe, based on a shortened version of the XJ12 platform.
Perhaps the best Jaguar of the 1970s was the last one – the series III XJ saloon, in which Lyons’ styling was tweaked by Pininfarina, so you can imagine the standard of the results.
But, as Lyons retired in 1972 and handed over the reins to British Leyland and some of his chosen colleagues, you sense he could look back and reflect on a progression from a bank loan guaranteed by his father, through sidecars, going public, building some of the most beautiful cars Britain has built, producing the remarkable and advanced XK engine winning Le Mans 5 times and ultimately the first mass produced V12 engine in the best car in world with a certain satisfaction.
His name may not be over the door in Coventry, but Sir William Lyons is certainly still there.
Wonderful, wonderful article, Roger, on one of my heroes. His eyes for design was unerring; I’ve read he had a team of wood craftsmen to build mockups of the cars to his instructions ‘on-the-go’. Interesting to read of his son’s unfortunate death. A much appreciated piece and, as ever from you, absolutely top notch.
Thanks for a great read, I was familiar with many of Sir Lyon’s accomplishments, but you really filled in the details. Top quality article.
Sir William was certainly a character. Some of the anecdotes about him are highly entertaining and he surely left his mark on Jaguar (not least in its aesthetics).
One minor correction: When the V-12 first appeared in the Series III E-type, it had a quartet of Stromberg carburetors, not injection. I don’t think the V-12 E-type ever had injection (it was supposed to, but the AE-Brico system planned either didn’t work out or ended up not being available), although later iterations had electronic injection, initially a Lucas-licensed version of D-Jetronic.
You’re correct there. Thanks
Thanks for another fine read Roger.I checked out the original factory(now a workingman’s club) on Bloomfield Road near the football stadium when in Blackpool for the punk rock festival.The building has a blue plaque as does the other factory site.Gorgeous cars I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite,while the new cars are faster,more economical,better built and more reliable they lack the character of the originals
Thank you so much for this history of Jaguar. This article oozes of enthusiasm for the brand and admiration for the man who created it.
I think you deserve being knighted “Sir Roger of CC”.
I like the consistent pedigree in his work. Though he wasn’t solely responsible for the designs, his hands are all over his work. There’s a clear line from beginning to end. Put this SS Coupe side by side with the XJ-S, and you’ll see the remarkable similarities. Not in actual detail, but in overall concept and thinking. It is clearly two different executions of the same concept, the same hand trying to reach the same conclusion, only with forty years of progess in between.
Very nice article. You might have commented that aluminium is pronounced al-loo-min-e-um.
Lyons, man with pair of good eyes.
Another fine article Roger, many thanks.
Nomenclature is a strange old thing. In the US, the E-Type was sold as the XK-E; in the copy of the US ad above, its successor, the XJ-S, is also described as “the S-Type” – I’ve never heard that before.
Jag design director Ian Callum has “reimagined” and rebuilt a Mk II for his personal use. It’s a curious amalgam of 1960s and 21st century, but now people are crying out for more of them. Of course, an original Mk II has to be sacrificed but, well, see what you think:
It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. There are so many of the British classics out there, and there’s a whole cottage industry providing parts and indeed whole cars. British Motor Heritage acquired the jigs to make complete bodyshells for the MG Midget, the MGB, and the TR6. You could buy a complete new car in parts and put it all together by yourself. That’s why the MG RV8 was a viable proposition in the mid 90’s, as they could actually make a brand new car from the parts then and there.
It’s the same with Jag restoration. The hard part is to find a bodyshell, as they are quite rust prone. But with a body shell, all the other parts are more or less off the shelf nowadays. You could keep your E-Type or MkII running indefinitely, thanks to those people. I’d say it is easier maintaining one of those for perpetuity than a classic sold in lesser numbers. All the parts are NOS or remakes.
And people have been building “New” old cars for 30 years at least. Vicarage is the most known, but I’d guess there are at least a half a dozen others. For the same money as a new Jaguar you could have an old classic up to date and in pristine condition.
I agree, there are enough Mk IIs around for people to do interesting things with a few of them.
Not a Jag at all (thankfully), but I drive past one of these most days (it doesn’t seem to move) and always have to do a double-take:
I love Jaguars and spent lots of time in some older models MK7s and MK2s they were very popular amongst the teachers at the boarding school I attended, My doctor owns a Jaguar remanufacturing facility here in Hawkes Bay and his updated MK2s are exported to UK Japan and no doubt other markets, Great write up Roger.
It is worth having a look at http://www.beacham.co.nz
When Bryce says updated he is not kidding. They fit the running gear from and XJ8 into the car including the irs, abs brakes and fully modernise the interior including the airbags! Of course it is not cheap…
I’ve seen the video of the Callum Mk2, he has made some interesting changes other than just changing/deleting the bumpers, and I wonder how those will be seen once the novelty wears off. The same goes for the updated Beacham (& others) cars, they aren’t really ‘proper’ Mk2s any more. It would be interesting to see how one done 20+ years ago has held up.
Great piece! No doubt, Jaguar has always known how to put sex into a car before hiring a model to drape herself on it. Really no need to do so with most of them.
Nice write up… just a few tidbits to add to the history.
“The XK engine, designed by Bill Heynes and Walter Hassan, with some of the initial design work having been done under wraps during the war” originally started as a four cylinder in an enclosed room with no windows so work could be done at night without the lights showing during the war.
“In the MKVII, which was essentially a re bodied Mk V” was partially the result of one American car that Lyons had high regard for of which he purchased two of for his engineers to examine… it was either two ’49 or two ’50 Studebaker Sedans.
I can imagine the window less room story – you can be sure that somewhere like a car factory will have lots and maybe even some designed that way for exactly that purpose. I’ve worked din some exactly like that, although in aircraft maintenance facility
I hadn’t heard the Studebaker story before but I can believe Lyons watching American ideas and trends closely, especially after the war.
When I was a kid the XK-E was my favorite car after Corvettes and Cobras, and it was the subject of my 6th grade notebook doodlings. I just thought it was the most beautiful car ever. And the XJ6 was the embodiment of Jaguarness, lean and athletic-looking. Not that I can afford a Jaguar, but I’m pleased that under Tata ownership their new models are designed in a modern idiom, and Jaguar has gotten away from the Ford-era view of Jaguar as curators of a museum of historic Jaguar designs. In person, the new XJ is truly awesome-looking.
Excellent article! Very interesting to learn the history of Jaguar Cars, since I am a new owner of an ’03 S Type!
Excellent recap of the history Roger, a few things in there I didn’t know before. Jaguar was able to offer remarkable value for money through the 1950-60s, but I wonder if it was the more complex regulatory environment that came afterwards or being tied up in a larger conglomerate that was to lead to their downfall.
Certainly Sir William stepping down from the company must have lead to major changes and on its own was probably the most telling factor. Many times when the figurehead of an organisation leaves things are not the same afterwards.
Thanks for the wonderful write up. You really filled some of the gaps in Jaguar history for me.
Wonderful article, thank you. And the “CC Effect” strikes again. This weekend I spotted a Mk V saloon cruising regally out Monument Avenue in Richmond.
Thanks, and the Mk V sounds a great spot!
Fantastic write up as always, Roger. The XK-E and XJ6 are beautiful, timeless classics. You should have gotten many more replies for this informative and entertaining article. A friend had a 63 XK-E in which we were going to a Humble Pie concert. This was around 1975. We got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and of course, it began to overheat. He parked it in a closed off lane that was having construction work done, lifted the combination hood and front end and set off to get water. While he was gone the work was completed, and as the cones were removed a CHP pulled behind the car and kindly told me to get that pos off the highway. I had a cast on my left leg due to a broken ankle. He ordered me to get out lower the bonnet and hop (on one leg) over into the drivers seat, and since I could not work the clutch he was going to push the car to the offramp while I steered. As he pulled up behind the car to push it my friend ran up the side to the freeway with filled water jugs in hand and yelled ‘Stop!’. The officer allowed him to fill the radiator and drive off, making snide comments the whole time. That pushbar would have crunched the delicate rear of his car without a doubt.
amazing such quality comes from Blackpool and Coventry – 2 of the biggest dumps in this sceptred isle! How ironic is that?
Excellent article, Roger. Thanks!
Quite late to the comments here, but this really is an excellent piece on the evolution of Jaguar. Very well done and I definitely learned a thing or three!
I had to chuckle over the “Jag-you-are” vs. “Jag-wah” quibble. They’re both bastardizations of the Spanish name for a South American jungle cat. The British bastardization is in fact more severe, since “wah” (long “a”) is closer to the Spanish pronunciation of the “ua” couplet, as in the Spanish word for water, agua. No one in their right mind would ever dream of pronouncing that word “ag-you-ah.” But the British bastardization is ok, since it immediately lets one know that the subject is the car and not the cat. And if we were really concerned about correct pronunciation, the “J” would be pronounced as an “H,” as in Jose.
One interesting sidelight on the E-Type design, it was strongly influenced by the Lister racing cars for which Jaguar provided engines after the 1957 fire in their own racing shop. The E-Type body was a slimmed-down, more elegant derivative of the Lister body. But they had one thing in common, a front end lift problem. The D-Types had the most advanced racing bodies of their day, with rigorous adherence to drag and lift reduction under wind tunnel testing, but the Listers were more of a seat-of-the-pants design and the E-Types were their artistic derivative.
Interesting suggestion about E-Type design inspiration – I always thought it was influenced by the Disco Volante Alfas.
Whatever about front end lift, the D-Type had a rear end lift problem, hence the fin that was soon added. It didn’t cure the lift, but it made the car more stable in a straight line when the wheels weren’t pressing very hard on the track.
Will that white Jaguar MKII get the same fate as the one showed in various British tv series produced by ITC studios? (The Baron, The Saint, The Champions, Randall & Hopkirk, the Adventurer, the Persuaders, Department S, etc…) 😉 http://www.randallandhopkirk.org.uk/features_white_jag.htm
Gee, that link was a worm hole! Spent ages in there.
The guy next to Sir William in the photo is not Walter Hassan, might be William Heynes.