On February 8, 1985, Sir William Lyons, the founder of the British luxury automaker Jaguar, dies at age 84 in Warwickshire, England.
Lyons was created in Blackpool, England, on September 4, 1901. In 1922, the motorcycle enthusiast co-founded the Swallow Sidecar Company along with his neighbor William Walmsley. The company began generating motorcycle sidecars, considered generating its cars then. In the first 1930s, the firm was renamed SS Cars Ltd. its initial Jaguar automobile, the SS Jaguar 100, debuted in 1935. During World War II, the company’s plants have already been employed to create airplane and auto components for the British military. Following the war, the business again changed its name, to Jaguar Cars Ltd., to remain from any association with the Schutzstaffel, the Nazi paramilitary group also described by the initials “SS.”
In 1948, Jaguar released the XK120, that was with the capacity of reaching speeds of 120 mph and helped the business enterprise stake its claim as a sports automobile brand. By the 1950s, Jaguar was exporting its high-overall performance automobiles to America. In 1961, the automaker introduced the E-type (referred to as the XK-E in the U.S.), a sleek two-seater with a bullet-like silhouette that has been the quickest production sports vehicle available on the market during its launch. The iconic roadster won accolades because of its design and in 1996 an E-Type became element of the permanent assortment of New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (it had been only the 3rd vehicle to take action).
In 1956, Lyons was knighted for his contributions to the British auto sector. 10 years later, Jaguar merged with the British Motor Corporation to form British Motor Holdings, which later became element of British Leyland Ltd. Lyons retired from the enterprise in 1972 and spent his remaining years raising livestock on his farm. He died in 1985. In 1990, Jaguar was acquired by the Ford Motor Company. Ford sold Jaguar, along with fellow British luxury brand Land Rover, to India-primarily based Tata Motors in 2008, for around $2.3 billion. For Tata, the maker of the Nano, the world’s cheapest vehicle, the deal was referred to by some as a move from “mass to class.”