"The name Jaguar is distinctive and cannot be connected or confused with any similar foreign name."—Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons on March 23, 1945, on changing the name of his Swallow Sidecar Company to Jaguar Cars, Limited.
Whether you call it Jag-wawr (don't), Jag-wire (also don’t), Jag-wahr (this is acceptable in America), or Jag-you-are (if you’re British), you might know a bit about the history, of course, but you're likely in the dark about the wild, occasionally weird, always fascinating stuff the company's up to right now. From using emus in the painting process (yes, freaking emus), to building quite possibly the most righteous interactive media room in the world, here are 13 things you (probably) didn't know about Jaguar.
1. Jaguar's climate testing is seriously cool.
To make sure your car will start even if you live in Siberia, engineers toss a car like the XF into a freezer at -40 degrees (F) for 12 hours. Then it's moved to a wind tunnel with a rolling road, where it trots along at 90 mph into gusts that’re zero degrees before the wind chill...while hoses spray water everywhere.
2. The chassis engineers test noise, vibration and harshness to 766 mph.
Could you ever conceivably go that fast on the ground in anything that’s not essentially a rocket with wheels? No. Is it nice to know you won’t be distracted by a really annoying faint rattle somewhere in the center console if you do go supersonic? Yes.
3. Hide specialists are pickier about leather than you can imagine.
For the XE, Jaguar uses Scottish Angus bulls (never cows, which can become pregnant and develop stretch marks), because way up north there are fewer pests like mosquitoes to potentially damage the leather. They're kept in areas without barbed wire, and if it's an especially cold winter, the cows live indoors.
4. And when they do find a hide they like, it’s like going to a butcher’s shop.
The belly and neck skin is what goes on your dash and doors, because it's super soft. The part by the rump and backbone is tougher, so it becomes your seats. At this point we’re just assuming none of Jaguar’s craftsmen eat chicken.
5. Jaguar has the best valets on earth.
When Jaguar loads its cars onto trains, it uses a fleet of drivers so insanely careful that they don’t wear belts, have no buckles, and even remove the metal shoelace eyelets from their sneakers, lest they scratch anything. They also never actually touch the outside of the car, zipping and unzipping an industrial grade car cover.
6. The guy that designed the XE is a rock star.
Wayne J. Burgess has his own metal band called Scattering Ashes, and they’re actually playing at Download Festival along with Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. He owns a Les Paul and somehow manages band practice when he’s not literally shaping the future of Jaguar.
7. Wayne works in a virtual reality Ccave. It's even more boss than it sounds.
Eight cinema-quality 4K projectors, two each pointed at three walls and the ceiling, present 3D models of parts and concepts that designers can walk around and pretend to sit in, to better test proportions.
8. To produce the XJR, over 43,000 separate renderings were made.
That sounds like a lot -- and it is -- but when you think about the resources required to turn every one of those renderings into a 3D-printed model or carve it out of clay, you start to realize how much time, money, and energy they’re saving.
9. The secret to a perfect paint job? Emus.
No, really. Prior to painting, every car is dusted with ionized emu feathers because they can briefly hold an electrostatic charge, essentially meaning the bare metal won't attract dust between the final cleaning and the paint booth.
10. They have their own suite at one of London’s swankiest Hotels.
The Taj Suites and Residences is just a few hundred feet from Buckingham palace, and to say it's kind of nice is to define understatement. The Jaguar suite features 1,800-square feet of Jag awesomeness, including this fantastic dining room dominated by a D-Type.
11. The C-X75 concept would’ve been much cooler than the LaFerrari, Porsche 918, or McLaren P1 had it reached production.
From the beginning, it was designed to accelerate more quickly than a Veyron, be more fuel efficient than a Prius, and have more all-electric range than a Volt. Although you won't see it driving around your neighborhood anytime soon, the C-X75 made an appearance in Spectre, as the car chasing James Bond through the streets of Rome. Missile launchers don't come standard, sadly.
12. Nicko McBrain had Jaguar build an XKR-S just for him.
When you're the drummer for Iron Maiden, you get what you want. And in Nicko McBrain's case, that happened to be a metallic blue, custom-built XKR-S, complete with decals in the famous Maiden font. Apparently all the members of Iron Maiden are huge Jaguar fans; we just hope this doesn't create tension backstage.
13. Jaguar drove an SUV through a loop just to prove they could.
When you think of massive, Evel Knievel-style stunts, you probably weren't picturing an SUV. Jaguar wanted to change that. To celebrate Jaguar's 80th birthday, they built a massive, Guinness world record-breaking loop de loop. And then they drove their F-PACE performance SUV through it to show off the car's light weight and performance abilities. Now we want to know if the F-PACE could jump the Grand Canyon, too.