Jaguars Expansion & Mergers
The 1960 Jaguar purchase of Daimler was intended primarily to extend its manufacturing facilities. Daimlers factory was located only a couple of miles away from Jaguars own, and was equal in size yet under utilised. In addition to the saloon cars, Daimlers thriving bus and armoured car business was also acquired, thus considerably diversifying the Companys interests.
In the process Jaguar had also found itself with two excellent V8 engines. The larger of these, a 4 litre unit that powered the Daimler Majestic saloons could have been used in the Mark X, but with such performance it could have overshadowed the other saloons. The smaller 2 litre Daimler V8 however was such an improvement over the performance of the 2.4 litre as fitted to the Mark 2 saloon that it was put into production, since that was one car that could do with some extra power. Both smoother and lighter than the XK unit, the car handled better and the steering previously criticised for its heaviness was lighter.
In addition, the Daimler engine produced 20 bhp more power and significantly more torque, giving the car a performance roughly midway between the 2.4 litre and 3.4 litre Mark 2 Jaguars. This new car (the Daimler 2 litre V8 saloon) was introduced as an upmarket version of the 2.4 litre Mark 2 in November 1962. Fitted with a new radiator grille, fluted in the traditional Daimler style, it was fitted with different badges, with an automatic transmission as standard. At the same time the Jaguar 240 and 340 were introduced, the Daimler received similar modifications, and became the Daimler V8 250.
Guy Motors In 1961, not only was there the launch of the E Type and Mark X, but in addition Guy Motors of Wolverhampton were also purchased towards the end of the year, thus adding a range of quality commercial vehicles and buses to supplement those acquired with Daimler. Whereas the Daimler purchase was made primarily to provide room for the expansion of car manufacturing facilities, the object of purchasing Guy Motors was that of diversification into a new field that of Commercial Vehicles.
Coventry Climax The desire to diversify still further lead to the purchase, in 1963, of the Coventry based firm of Coventry Climax Engines Ltd an organisation well known for its wide range of fork lift trucks, fire pumps, and generator sets as well as a range of diesel and petrol engines. Best know of the petrol engines were the 1 litre V8 Formula 1 racing engines, which had proved to be outstanding successful.
Henry Meadows In December 1964 Jaguar acquired Henry Meadows Ltd, a company that specialised in producing both engines and transmissions, and whose factory was conveniently located next to that of Guy Motors of which full advantage was taken by Jaguar as one of Meadows activities was the build up of engine/gearbox assemblies for the Big J trucks produced by Guy Motors. It was the marine aspect of Henry Meadows Ltd that was largely concentrated on by Jaguar, although the company continued to undertake machining and assembly work for other firms both within the Jaguar group and on outside contract.
BMC and Leyland Mergers
In 1966 the Jaguar group merged with B.M.C. to form British Motor Holdings. BMC had been formed in 1952 by the merger of the Austin Motor Company and the Nuffield Organisation, parent of the Morris car company, MG, Riley and Wolseley, with whom Jaguar had had an early association in the form of the Wolseley Hornet Swallow.
From Jaguars perspective, this merger appeared to be beneficial. By now Lyons was nearing retirement, and did not have a viable succession plan within the company. His only son John had been killed in a car accident in 1955, and his other board members were of a similar age to himself. In addition, the bodyshells for Jaguar production were fabricated by Pressed Steel, a supplier critical to Jaguar Cars and now controlled by BMC.
From the BMC perspective, Jaguar Cars was attractive because it was a success in the US market, and was thereby hugely profitable at a time when BMC lacked the funds to invest sufficiently in modern production facilities or new models.
In turn, BMH merged with the Leyland group in 1968 to create the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC), which also included Rover, Land Rover and the Mini brand.