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Classic Jaguar

A fact-based, fictional account of Sir William Lyons' automotive journey serialised in the Classic Jaguar bi-monthly magazine.

Classic Jaguar : Welcome

William Walmsley's Bentley

October November 2021 Edition

From building Swallow motorcycle sidecars in 1921, to the Austin 7 Swallow car in 1927 and then the first SS cars in the early 1930's. The story of these years as told by one of the founders of the business, Mr William Walmsley.

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Harry Weslake and the South-American Quadruped

December 2021 January 2022 Edition

William Lyons is provided with assistance from some stalwarts of the British motor industry including Captain John Black, Harry Austin and William Morris. If you add an ace engine tuner and a feline predator that doesn't take prisoners, what have you got? The first SS Jaguar.

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William Heynes' Sunbeam Connection

February March 2022 Edition

The Sunbeam brand was up for sale and William Lyons was seriously interested. The new SS Jaguar Chief Engineer's hero was the man behind the brand. Louis Herve Coatalen was responsible for the design of some remarkable engines and the fastest vehicles of their time.


Fred Gardner's Sawmill

April May 2022 Edition

The woodworker's union is up in arms at William Lyons. Fred Gardner is getting used to life in a Scottish accent. Greta Lyons doesn't find a Citroen driving of a cliff as funny as her husband does, for some reason.

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The Alpine Trial 

June July 2022 Edition

While Tommy and Bill Wisdom go flat-out motoring in the Alps, giving SS Jaguar its first international motorsport victory, the assembly team at Foleshill are all attending evening classes to learn how to weld. There is also the big story on the shop floor of the Midland Daily Telegraph Junior Cup Final...

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Husbands and Wives

August September 2022 Edition

September 1937: The SS Cars board put the MD under pressure over the production difficulties due to all-steel bodies. Meanwhile a team of panel- beaters from London's east-end are drafted in to save the day, along with a certain hairdresser...

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The Interview

October November 2022 Edition

September 1938: Walter Hassan (pictured with Mr & Mrs Barnato and Oliver Bertram at the wheel of the Barnato Hassan car) is one of the top race-car and race-engine designers in the country. William Lyons wants him in the engineering  team  at Foleshill. Walter though, would quite like to make certain 'improvements' to some of his customer's cars, and to the Brooklands Chief Handicap Officer's shed before he goes...


The Early War Years 1939-1940

December January 2023 Edition

While bombs drop over Coventry, Lloyds Bank tells Lyons they want all of his assets if the business is to survive. SS Cars then throw themselves headlong into large bomber repair and  overhaul.

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Jack Beardsley's Apprentice

February March 2023 Edition

Lyons' relationship with Armstrong Siddeley put SS on course to having its own machining facility in Leicester run by Jack Beardsley. There is also a bantam cock involved.

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The Sunday Night Sessions

April May 2023 Edition

An engine of their own was the main topic of discussion at the Sunday night fire-watch sessions towards the end of the war. Claude Baily wants 2 litre DOHC, Hassan wants to go racing, Lyons wants vibration free, quiet and good looking power under his bonnets.

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The New, New Engine

June July 2023 Edition

Hassan builds a mightily powerful XJ engine that is tested on the Belgian motorway network at nearly 180mph. Lyons is off to the US to kick start the export drive, the XK120 is launched to tumultuous acclaim. Will this £998 car really do 120mph?

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Blackpool Connections

August / September 2023 Edition

Demand for the Jaguar XK120 and Mk V is outstripping supply but quality
and industrial relations are the management issue of the day. William Lyons is shocked by poor car finish, Alice Fenton is equally shocked by shopfloor attitudes.

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The Aerodynamicist

October / November 2023 Edition

Jaguar XK120 production moves on from coach-built to pressed steel and worldwide clamour for the car is partially eased. Privateer racing successes mean that a works team is being seriously considered. Meanwhile, Foleshill is beyond capacity and William Lyons has his eye on a 1 million square feet factory.

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The Removals Man

December / January 2024 Edition

As bright-red Foden trucks are seen around Coventry at weekends, William Lyons is working on gaining direct control of the market in North America. Stirling Moss wants more top-end speed from the C-Types at Le Mans and Arthur Whitaker gets delegated to negotiate with Hoffman Autos Inc.


The D-Type Idea

February / March 2024 Edition

Norman Dewis is the man behind the extensive road testing of the 1953 Le Mans Jaguar XK120C’s, and all things Jaguar thereafter. He puts the first automatic Mk Ⅶ through a heavy-duty test procedure at MIRA and loads the car with ‘real people’ for the final run.
The in-car discussion is quite interesting.

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June 1955

April / May 2024 Edition

June 1955 – a tragic month for Jaguar Cars and international motorsport.

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Sir William, the Queen and the Duke

June / July 2024 Edition

While William Lyons, Fred Gardner and the engineering team led by Will Heynes
work on the first unitary-body production Jaguar, the 1956 New Year
Honours List reveals a Knight of the Realm is now running their company.

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Classic Jaguar : Work
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