Automotive historian Giles Chapman showcases how company visionaries developed the brand in the trying economic times leading up to World War II before resetting Jaguar during England’s bleak postwar years, first with its XK120, then the XK140 and XK150. Sporting saloons (i.e., sedans) like the Mark 2 and Mark X established further standards for four-door luxury in the 1950s and ’60s, while the stunning E-Type unveiled in 1961 became a holy grail of automotive design and gave Jaguar a genuine 150-miles-per-hour sports car. The story continues to the present, tracing all of Jaguar’s ups and downs right up to the acclaimed all-electric I-PACE. Chapman also covers Jaguar’s rich motorsport heritage, including open-wheel Formula 1 racers and the sports cars that went head-to-head with Ferrari, Porsche, and others at legendary circuits such as Le Mans over the decades.
From pre-Depression motorcycle sidecars hammered out in a modest shop in Coventry to the cutting edge of 21st century automotive technology, Jaguar Century offers a full review of British design and engineering at its finest. The book is illustrated with hundreds of historic, contemporary, and racing photographs, as well as detailed text. It is a definitive volume no Jaguar enthusiast can be without.
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Average rating from 2 members
Jaguar Century: 100 Years of Automotive Excellence by Giles Chapman is a coffee table book that is every bit as fun to read as it is to skim and look at the photographs. At various times while reading I wished the book was a different type of book, which ultimately led me to believe it actually offered the right mix. I'll explain what I mean. Sometimes I wanted bigger photographs. There are plenty of big pictures with a lot of smaller ones throughout. I usually felt this way when I was in the mood to just gawk and admire the automobiles. Yet there were times when I was so enthralled with the story of the company and of Lyons that I actually wanted more text on a page. So my ideal book would have been unwieldy (though beautiful) and more long-winded. As it is, there are enough wonderful photographs to please the eye while the text tells a fascinating story. I would recommend this to those who simply love automobiles as well as Jaguar aficionados. I also think it would make an interesting read for someone with an interest in cars but who also has an interest in history and/or business development. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
Approachable history of Jaguar. Excellent balance between detail and covering the entire breadth of the company. This book is unusual in that it provides as much depth of later Jaguar models and company history as in the earlier years, so it is a complete history.