Jaguar opted to stepped skip the continuation of naming, avoiding
calling the Mark VII a VI despite that being the next Roman numeral in
line because of the Bentley Mark VI that was available at the time. The
Mark VII was available only in 4-door saloon, designed with the new XK
engine that was a dual overhead valve straight-six with 160 horsepower,
later redesigned in the M addition to have 190 horsepower. The Mark VII
was Jaguar first car that reached speeds over 100 MPH and was also the
first model available with automatic transmission. The Mark VII
experience success as a racing and rally car, helping build Jaguars
reputation as a high-performance sport vehicle.
The Jaguar company first appeared on the car market scene in 1922 as the
Swallow Sidecar Company, found by William Lyons and William Walmsley in
Britain, England. After buying out his partner in 1934 Lyons formed the
S.S. Cars Limited, and the name jaguar first appeared on the scene in
1935 as a car model name, the SS Jaguar 100. On March 23, 1945, the
shareholders and William Lyons decided to change the name of the company
from S.S. Cars Limited to Jaguar Cars Limited, the changing of the name
was done to help distinguish it from the competition. Although
production and orders did not cease it was significantly halted because
of the war effort of England in the 1940's. At the time Jaguar had
customers waiting for vehicles but because of strict regulations by
England's central planning committee, materials such as steel, were hard
to come by and car production was slowed. At this time Jaguar was being
built with independent bodies being built independent third-party
manufacturers, and continued this practice into the 1960's.
During the 50's and 60's Jaguar began producing series of successful sports car. Known for their high performance, conspicuous look, and success on the racetrack winning the Le Mans 24-hour race on several occasions. Jaguars success came with the progress of their twin-cam straight six-cylinder engine, despite low octane rating. During the 50's vehicles were offered with three different piston configurations that altered the octane level of the engine from low, medium, and high. Jaguar facing financial struggles and an uncertainty of the future, Lyons sold the company to British Motor Corporation and formed British Motor Holdings limited. After little attention was given to Jaguar, and very limited capital to aid in development of Jaguar products the company was again sold during the Thatcher administration of to a private company in 1984. During the 1980's Jaguar made significant strides in terms of engineering and production that had previously prevented them from selling more cars. Sir John Egan helped develop overall quality, increase production rates, increase delivery efficiency, and cut overall company costs. Jaguar began to catch the public's eye again with more moderate pricing across the board and an overall increase in performance.
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