Sir William Lyons founded the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922, manufacturing sidecars for motorbikes but later moved into car making in the 1930's, with the hugely successful SS Jaguar 2.5 litre Saloon. After the Second World War, the unfortunate connotations of the 'SS' initials led to the adoption of Jaguar as the company name. Jaguar merged with the British Motor Corporation in 1968, becoming one of the brand names in British Leyland before resuming its separate identity in 1984. Today, Jaguar Land Rover is a subsidiary of the Indian company Tata Motors Ltd.
From the original Jaguar 2.5 litre, came the SS 90 and SS 100 sports models, setting a trend for cross-over between the private car and sports markets that has continued. The slogan, 'Grace, Space, Pace', captures the design aesthetic that has singled out Jaguar cars through the years.
While the racing cars won Le Mans five times in the 1950's, the XK120 sports car was a big commercial success. The Mark 2 is one of the most recognisable British cars of all time. Its design is still being echoed today. The next huge success came with the iconic E-Type in 1961. The luxurious and stylish XJ series of large executive saloons were introduced in 1968 and have continued in production regardless of several changes in ownership. Second hand Jaguar XJ's are often found in the listings.
Following the floatation in 1984, Jaguar began racing again and they won Le Mans in 1988 and 1990, During Ford's ownership Jaguar was, for four seasons, a Formula 1 team.
Jaguar's greatest achievement to this day is likely that of being recognised as a superior car brand among car connoisseurs. This is exemplified by the Mark 2. Though it was discontinued in 1968, it had a revival with the S-type in 1999 and later the X-type, both of which now take excellent prices in the used Jaguar sales market. The sports line returned in the form of the XKR range in 1997.