Sir William Lyons enjoyed a seemingly unstoppable rise to fame and fortune in the motor industry, and the Jaguar brand which he introduced became world-famous. Yet it did not happen overnight. In the 1920s he was in Blackpool, styling motorcycle sidecars, in the 1930s he was in Coventry developing the SS motor car, and the stand-alone Jaguar company did not appear until 1945. Until 1972, when he retired from business, Sir William was the mainstream, the chairman, the chief stylist, and the inspiration of all things Jaguar.
Helped along by the amazing new XK engine of 1948, by motor racing success at Le Mans, and by the stunning style of cars like the XK120, the Mk 2 saloons and the extraordinary E-Type, Jaguar soon became world-famous. Along the way the company absorbed Daimler and Coventry-Climax, then merged voluntarily with BMC in 1966, and returned to Le Mans racing with great success in the 1980s.
Although the company was later commercially buffeted by its involvement with British Leyland, with Ford and latterly with Land Rover, and finally the Indian conglomerate Tata which now controls the business, the company's products have always been stunning. Sports coupes which reach well beyond 150mph, sleek executive saloons with unbeatable styling, and the promise of much innovation in the next few years make this a story whose climax is yet to come.
About the Author
Graham Robson possesses a worldwide reputation as a motoring historian, and has been close to the sport of rallying for many years, as a competitor, team manager, organizer, reporter, commentator and observer; in more than forty years he has never lost touch with the sport. Not only has Graham competed in many British and European events, he's also reported on marathons in South America, and acted as a traveling controller in the legendary London-Mexico World Cup Rally. As a recognized authority on many aspects of classic cars and motoring of that period, he is the most prolific of all authors, with more than 130 published books to his credit. Over the years Graham has owned, driven, described and competed in many of the cars featured in the Rally Giants Series, and his insight to their merits is unmatched.