#195, Acclaimed auto writer chronicles Jaguar at 100

James Raia

Giles Chapman is a prolific automotive journalist whose book topics have ranged from the importance of car badges to the history of Land Rover. His latest title is “Jaguar Century: 100 Years of Automotive Excellence.”

Jaguar Century chronicles the company and its remarkable vehicles. It covers the manufacturer’s start in 1922 by William Lyons and William Walmsley, and it reports on the current F-Type sports cars to the F-Pace SUV.

a 1961 Jaguar XKE presented a recent Jaguar event in Sacramento, California.
a 1961 Jaguar XKE presented a recent Jaguar event in Sacramento, California. Image © Bruce Aldrich.

Chapman, who began his career in 1984 in automotive consultancy, is our guest on episode #195 of The Weekly Driver Podcast.

New Jaguar book: Aches, pains at 100

Co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia reached Chapman in England where he enthusiastically discussed all things Jaguar.

As the book’s advanced materials detail the book covers the transformation of the Swallow Sidecar into one of the auto industry’s most revered car brands, synonymous with performance and luxury. It’s filled with images, history, and in-depth analyses of the incredible cars Jaguar has created year after year.”

Jaguar Century is the lates tbook by Giles Chapman.
Jaguar Century is the latest book by Giles Chapman.

“The task was to really cover the entire century, from the very beginning of the company to now, says Chapman. It takes you from a period from before they even made a car. The first thing they did in 1922 was to produce a sidebar on the side of a motorbike.”

The book details the brand in the trying economic times leading up to World War II. It also covers the resetting of Jaguar during England’s bleak postwar years, first with its XK120, then the XK140 and XK150.

As the press information states, the new volumes also chronicle sporting saloons (i.e., sedans) like the Mark 2 and Mark X standards for four-door luxury in the 1950s and 1960s. And it reports on the unveiling of the E-Type in 1961, the vehicle often cited as the most beautiful car ever made.

“I accepted the commission to do it because I thought there was a fantastic story to tell there, not just of the cars but of the people,” says Giles.

As the author of more than 50 books, Chapman is an award-winning writer and commentator on the industry, history and culture of cars. In 1991 became the editor of Classic and Sports Car, the top-selling classic car magazine.

Giles Chapman is a prolific automotive journalist
Giles Chapman is a prolific automotive journalist.

Giles has been a freelance writer since 1994. In addition to his books, Chapman contributes to national magazines and newspapers and is a commentary on automotive history.

“What I really have enjoys is stitching this whole thing together in a way I hope somebody who drives a Jaguar now and doesn’t know a tremendous about the history would get to know it,” Giles says.

While Giles has a great appreciation for Jaguar, he doesn’t own a new or used model. But he’s driven many.

“The original XJ6 is just an amazing pinnacle of Jaguar did,” Giles says of his favorite of the manufacturer’s varied offering. “It was such an extraordinary comprise between the handling of the car and the ride comfort. It’s amazing how they did it. I just love driving old XJ6s.

“At the time, they were like nothing else and now they continue to feel like that. It’s hard to express if you haven’t driven one. They’re very soothing and they make you feel very proud.”

“Jaguar Century: 100 Years of Automotive Excellence” is scheduled for publishing Sept. 28, 2021, by Motorbooks. The hardcover is 224 pages and is priced at $75. With Chapman’s other books, it’s available via Amazon.com.

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Article Last Updated: September 6, 2021.

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