Cold-weather test facilities, speed records, and other little-known facts about Jaguar.
Jaguar is a quintessential British brand that’s as well respected on the track as it is sitting in a shopping mall parking lot. Since its inception in the 1930s, Jag has managed to position its products as a premium luxury vehicle that are equal parts comfortable, powerful and handsome.
As the brand creeps close to the 100-year milestone, the list of interesting facts surrounding it continues to grow. Did you know, for example, that it has a winter testing site in Minnesota outfitted with cold chambers and snow-covered terrain, which ensures Jaguar models can withstand North America’s extreme cold?
Read on for 10 interesting facts that you might not have known about the British automaker.
Jag has taken home seven Le Mans titles over the years
The C-Type snagged Jaguar’s first-ever win at the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1951 with Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead behind the wheel. The automotive house has since gone on to win seven titles at the prestigious endurance race.
The brand’s inaugural Hollywood feature film appearance was in 1958 in Roadracers
Director Arthur Swerdloff gave Jaguar and its 1958 Special a leading role in his action drama Roadracers about a father who disowns his son after he allegedly caused a fatality on the racetrack. It was the first of many on-screen appearances for Jag.
The Swallow Sidecar Company, launched in 1922, was the first iteration of Jaguar
William Lyons and William Walmsley founded the Swallow Sidecar Company, a sidecar business operating in the motorcycle space, in 1922. About a decade later, Lyons built a car, called the SS1, and in 1935 gave the world the SS Jaguar. The brand’s original moniker, the SS, was tarnished by the Nazi regime in the ’30s and evolved into the Jaguar marque known and respected today.
Jaguar XJ220 held the title for ‘World’s Fastest Car’ in 1993
Jag first released the XJ220 concept car at the British International Motor Show in 1988, and by 1993 when it entered production, was the fastest car on earth, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, which clocked the XJ220 just shy of 220 mph.
2016 was the best year for Jag sales in Canada, ever
For whatever reason, 2016 produced record sales in the Canadian market for Jaguar, which sold 3,304 units that year. Today, Jaguar Land Rover remains the fastest-growing premium automotive brand in the country and most recently saw a 134 per cent growth in sales year over year.
There’s an exclusive Jaguar x Bremont watch collaboration that uses leather from the E-type
Jag is particular about who it spends its time with, so when a partner is announced, you know it’s been carefully considered. Some of the most notable over the years: a timepiece made in collaboration with luxury English watchmakers Bremont, which has a strap made from the same leather you’ll find inside an E-type; and a footwear collection done with British shoemaker Oliver Sweeney.
The famed E-type of the ’60s was supposed to have 18 units built, but only 12 made it to production
The Jaguar E‑type premiered at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show and was a long, elegant, all-aluminum beauty. It was the definition of a show-stopper with its sleek design and 3.8 litre straight six engine. Originally there were 18 units planned for the 1963 production run, but only 12 made it to market. In 2014, Jag announced the Missing Six, a project that revived the lost six and brought them to life.
Its founder was knighted and is officially known as ‘Sir’ William Lyons
In 1956 Queen Elizabeth II awarded Lyons with the prestigious British title and he became Sir William Lyons after being knighted for his contribution to the UK’s automotive world.
Jaguar’s first-ever V8, the XK8, set sales records in the ’90s
The introduction of Jaguar’s first V8 model, the XK8, was better received than anyone could’ve expected. At the time, Jaguar was under the Ford umbrella and the sporty design and speed catapulted it to become the fastest selling sports car in the brand’s history at the time.
There’s a special winter testing site in Minnesota to ensure Jaguar models can withstand North America’s extreme cold
As a Canadian, you want to know your vehicle can handle a period of extreme cold. Jaguar puts all of its vehicles to the test at its cold weather testing facility in International Falls, Minnesota. The space has been outfitted with cold testing chambers and snow covered test surfaces, including a frozen lake.