History of Jaguar Vehicles

Learn More About Jaguar's Humble Beginnings in Thousand Oaks

The Timeline and Heritage of Jaguar Models at Jaguar of Thousand Oaks

The Jaguar lineup as we know it today here in the Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village area can trace its roots all the way back to a gentleman by the name of William Lyons, who founded the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922. The company was initially responsible for building sidecars for motorcycles, but it shifted its focus towards building passenger cars.

Lyons built his first car, the SS1, a few years after the founding of his company. His true breakthrough, however, came in 1935 when he introduced the SS Jaguar. Lyons' company introduced vehicles that were as breathtaking to behold as they were ground-breaking. With the C-Type, D-Type, and E-Type models, the Jaguar line cleared the path for the new Jaguar models we know and love today.

Find out more about the Jaguar timeline and heritage here at Jaguar of Thousand Oaks.


The Jaguar name came from the four-door sedan models like the SS Jaguar 2.5L sedan. The SS Jaguar was possessed of a feline grace, so it seemed fitting for the brand. These models included four doors for the first time, which was a revolutionary design choice at the time. It was decided that the company name should be similarly revolutionized, so it took the name Jaguar. The change went company-wide in 1945.


William Lyons designed the Jaguar XK120 to be stylish, sleek, and fast. In 1948, the new model became an instant hit, captivating drivers with its smooth lines and jaw-dropping performance. The Jaguar XK120 could reach speeds of up to 133 miles per hour, making it the fastest production car in the world.


The Jaguar C-Type, originally called the XK120C, was made to be aerodynamic. With a sleek, smooth profile and a weight reduction of 25 percent from the XK120, it had a wildly successful start. It even placed first in its debut at a 24-hour race in Le Mans.


The Jaguar D-Type was unique in that it was among the first vehicles to features a unibody design. To this day, the D-Type is thought of as one of the most beautiful racing cars thanks to its lightweight and sweeping design, but it wasn't only about looks. The D-Type performed exceedingly well at Le Mans, taking first place three years in a row.


William Lyons continued to show his honed skill as a designer with the Mark II. This model was inspired by the D-Type, and it included a straight six engine that is now considered legendary. The interior of the Mark II was also remarkably airy, which was a forward-thinking design choice that pushed the envelope for how car interiors could be crafted.


Enzo Ferrari called the Jaguar E-Type the most beautiful car ever made, and it's an opinion that many enthusiasts still share. It touted a 3.8L straight six engine and an elegant design that epitomized the feline beauty and power of the Jaguar name.


The last Jaguar model designed by William Lyons was the Jaguar XJ6. Its masterful design made it stand out during a time when many vehicles suffered a lack of character, cementing the Jaguar brand as one that clearly understood its identity. The Jaguar XJ6 is what inspired Ian Callum, who would go on to become the future Jaguar Director of Design.


The Jaguar XJ-S, designed by Malcom Sayer, eventually replaced the E-Type. The XJ-S was even more aerodynamic than the icon that preceded it, and it was the first to boast the third original Jaguar engine. Between the luxurious, streamlined design, the sporty performance capability, and the updated safety features, the XJ-S was a solid entry in the Jaguar lineup.


The Jaguar XK8 is what introduced the first Jaguar V8 engine. Inspired by past Jaguar models, the XK8 was sleek and sporty. Not only that, but it met modern needs for luxury, safety, and spaciousness. It was a modern car with plenty of Jaguar flair, and it became the fastest selling sports car in the Jaguar brand's history at the time.

Learn More

If you're curious about how the history of the Jaguar brand affects the current lineup, we encourage you to visit us here at our Jaguar dealership serving Agoura Hills and Simi Valley. Our team of Jaguar experts can guide you through our current selection of new Jaguar models so that you can see how the brand's heritage has continued to inform modern Jaguar vehicles.

We look forward to seeing you at our Jaguar dealership near Moorpark and Malibu. Stop by today to get a closer look at the new lineup of Jaguar models for sale near Woodland Hills today!

  1. Jaguar Thousand Oaks Certified Pre-Owned & Service

    3595 Auto Mall Dr
    Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

    • Sales: 805-409-7763
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