04.09.

1901: Jaguar Cars were Originally Called SS

1901: Jaguar Cars were Originally Called SS
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ "S.S. Jaguar 2-1-2 Litre sports saloon 1937 (4442728982)" by Alden Jewell - 1937 S.S. Jaguar 2-1/2 Litre Saloon. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 4 September 1901
  • The forerunners of the modern Jaguar were once known as the SS, and it is a remarkable coincidence that they were renamed in 1933, the same year when Hitler came to power in Germany. SS stood for Swallow Sidecars, and the company was founded by William Lyons, also known as Mr. Jaguar.

William Lyons, founder of the famed Jaguar brand of automobiles, was born on this day.

He was the son of an Irish immigrant, and was born in Blackpool, a city on the English coast opposite to Ireland. The young William Lyons became a businessman at a remarkably early age. When he was still under the legal age, Lyons founded a vehicle manufacturing company together with William Walmsley. Both allegedly obtained substantial bank guarantees with the help of their fathers.

Lyons and Walmsley named their company Swallow Sidecars (SS). At first they produced motorbikes with sidecars, later branching into automobiles. They moved their factory to Coventry (Jaguar remains based in the city to this day) and renamed the company SS Cars Ltd.

Therefore, the forerunners of the modern Jaguar were once known as the SS, and it is a remarkable coincidence that they were renamed in 1933, the same year when Hitler came to power in Germany. Even worse, Lyons’s SS models had a logo featuring a black eagle with the letters SS, written in a remarkably similar style to the infamous “sig rune” of Himmler’s SS.

The SS1 model was a sports car with a 6-cylinder engine. In 1936 the SS100 “Jaguar” model arrived on the market. Therefore, “Jaguar” was originally the name of one of the company’s cars. The name SS100 was a reference to the fact that the car could achieve speeds of over 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), which was almost unsurpassed at the time.

Only after the end of World War II was the company renamed “Jaguar”, allegedly because of the widespread anti-German sentiment (which is rather illogical, since it begs the question why it hadn’t been done during the war). William Lyons lived to 1985, and earned the nickname “Mr. Jaguar”. He died aged 84, in his castle at Wappenbury Hall.

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