Jaguar: the best car company of all time?
Clever people in big corner offices devote. their lives to convincing us mere mortals that their client is the best car company in the world.
I admire their drive and spirit. But the fact is it's all an utter waste of time. Unless their client is Jaguar. I wish I was being paid to say that but I'm not.
I'm not passing judgement on Jaguar's current range, about which I know sod all. The nearest I get to modern day is my 2001 Alfa 166, which has that most marvelous of modern inventions, central locking. Although, being an Alfa, it doesn't actually work. Hey ho.
No, I'm talking about Jaguar the company, the history, the heritage. My assertion is based on simple fact: no other single car company has made as many brilliant cars in the last 40 years as Jaguar. Don't believe me? Here are some pretenders:
vW: Beetle? Big seller but not actually a great car. Golf? Ok, agreed. And...? No, the list starts and stops there.
BMW: 3 series? Iconic but hardly revolutionary. CSL? Yep, but pretty niche.
Porsche: 911? Yes. Followed by endless recycling
Ferrari: lots to list but they're all high end sports cars
Ford: the Cortina, Escort, Capri et al may be iconic and era-defining but are they actually great cars? Capri maybe, Cortina I doubt it.
I could go on. But the fact is no other manufacturer has given us brilliant cars across as many sectors and as many decades as Jaguar. XK, E Type, Mk2, XJ, XJS, all iconic, near-perfect cars that rank amongst the best in their class, if not the best.
I've come to this conclusion despite not really being a Jaguar Man. When I set up Great Eacape Cars I didn't want any Jags because too many other hire companies offered them. With good reason. Jaguars proliferate amongst classic hire fleets because customers want to drive them. The Mk2, E Type, XJS and XJ in particular are consistently our most popular cars. The cars may have aged but their popularity hasn't.
So now I somehow have more Jaguar hire cars than any other marque. Other companies have made a much wider range of cars but none can match Jaguar for breadth of appeal.
It's not difficult to work out why. Whether you consider the Jaguar name or its individual cars, the company seems to hold most of the cards.
The Jaguar brand is evocative and stirring in a way that few Northern European or American companies are. It suggests power and style and status but in a very British way.
If they weren't called Jaguars the cars would probably still be popular. I don't need to add to the acres and acres of superlatives heaped on the E Type. Likewise, the Mk2: for many the most beautiful saloon car ever made. Name another 60s saloon that commands such a following. The XJ defined how Jaguars looked for decades, thanks to its effortless grace and brilliant ride.
Only lack of funds and Leyland mismanagement prevented Jaguar trumping this lot during the 70s and 80s. While the company's 90s output may not reach the same rarified heights they were good cars. The new breed are arguably excellent.
Any claim to greatness is subjective and many will disagree with me. But just come to our unit on a busy Saturday and count: we may have more Jaguars than any other marque but you won't find them resting inside. They'll be out with customers.
Our hire fleet includes XJS V12s, XJ6 saloon, XK8 and XKR, XJR, Mk2 3.4 and 3.8 and ETypes of all body styles and series. Prices start at just £260 for the weekend. To find out more call 01527 893733 or visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk.