100 Years of Automotive Excellence
by Giles Chapman
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 26 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 4 Nov 2021
Quarto Publishing Group – Motorbooks, Motorbooks
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.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 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.
My thanks to Quarto Publishing Group Motorbooks for a temporary digital review copy via NetGalley of ‘Jaguar Century: 100 Years of Automotive Excellence by Giles Chapman in exchange for an honest review. Written by Chapman, a highly respected motor journalist and automotive historian, this is a detailed history of the Jaguar marque from the founding of the Swallow Sidecar Company by William Lyons and William Walmsley in 1922 through to its transformation into one of the auto industries most revered brands - a vehicle that combined high performance and luxury. ‘JaguarCentury’ is packed full of photos and images of the development of the marque including the earliest Jaguars through to today’s. It also looks to the future as the company moves to producing all-electric Jaguars. Along the way Chapman provides in-depth analyses of each model. More mundane concerns linked to the history of the company’s finances and the various changes in ownership and locations are also detailed. While less exciting than its racing cars and the development of its various models, these aspects give an indication of why certain decisions were taken. I gained a lot of knowledge from reading this book, including that a Jaguar E-type had been acquired for MOMA’s permanent collection as ‘sculpture in movement’. Jaguars are by far my favourite motor vehicle; even though well outside of my means. I recall my first trip in one and the smoothness of the ride like nothing I had experienced. I commented to the driver that it was like being driven about on a cloud. In addition, I worked for over 15 years for a local company with strong ties to Jaguar, that included working on the XJ200 Supercar and restoring older models. During those years I spent many hours in the company of Jaguars both vintage and modern. Overall, a fascinating read. As I live in Jaguar (Car) country, I have recommended that out County Libraries acquires copies to add to their collection. This beautiful hardback edition would also make a perfect gift for a motor vehicle enthusiast.