Most Jaguar and British classic motor car aficionados and enthusiasts will insist in a doggedly determined fashion and manner that the Jaguar automobile lineage started with the most famous founder of Jaguar itself Sir William Lyons. This is true in classic automotive history mythology yet not 100 % fully accurate. The real honest truth is that the person who provided the inspiration & impetus for Lyon’s drive into automotive & automobile manufacturing was yet another British subject as named “Bill”. Bill number 2 was a close geographic neighbor of the Lyon’s family in Blackpool, the popular seaside resort on England’s northwest coast. His name was in actuality was William Walmsley and a year or two before he met the later Sir. William Lyons, he had been involved with the making of and manufacturing of side cars for motorcycles.
These were very different to the wicker basket contraptions most often seen in early 1920s – the bullet shaped motorized basket side contraptions. What was unique about Walmey’s cyclist carrying devices is that they were made of highly polished aluminum metal in construction and on top of that were most stylish indeed. When the Walmsleys moved from Stockport of King Edward Ave, Blackpool, the young Lyons, living on the same road, could not fail to note and take notice when a fully completed example was parked outside on the road side. Bill Lyons was already a most keen motorcycle enthusiast and solid motorcyclist. At that point in time apparently American brands were considered on par and up to snuff with good British machines. Bill Lyons the future progenitor of Jaguar had in his stable of vehicles with a Harley Davidson “Daytona Special” and an “Indian” US made product among his favorites.
Apparently it seemed that even in the summer of 1921 it seemed that Bill Lyons even then was dreaming of bigger as well as “better “things. By no means was this future powerhouse cornerstone of Jaguar fully satisfied at his present and future prospects of a lowly car salesman, nor did he wish to enter his Irish born father’s piano repair and music business. Striking up a relationship with Wamsley, who after all was 10 years his senior in age – he began to put over his ideas for increasing production of the attractive side-carriages from a measly less than one a week upwards to a production and sales volume that made the firm profitable.
Interestingly although initially unreceptive but won over by the simple success of the ideas of the young newcomer, Mr. Walmsley eventually agreed to an upgraded partnership formation of the two into a brand new venture, which was appropriately named “The Swallow Sidecar Company” which was formally and legally established on September 11, 1922.
It was this simple small venture that was the budding seed from which blossomed the globally influential Jaguar Cars Ltd. This producer and manufacturer of these fine luxury British cars started off from the most humble beginnings with a 1000 pound sterling overdraft loan guaranteed jointly by the parents of the two budding businessman. From such humble beginnings the Jaguar Cars Ltd grew and took hold. Lastly for reasons of political correctness of the times – some time after the mid 1940’s the name was changed to the current and respected branding Jaguar – reminiscent of the sleek, fast cat.