Book Review : Jaguar The Classic Marque

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Review: Jaguar the Classic Marque by Steve Kennedy

Reviewed by Pascal


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posted 3/13/2003


There areas many Jaguar books out there as there are opinions on the
correct finish for all the components under an E-type bonnet... but once
in a while, one book will stand out. One of these is Steve Kennedy's Jaguar
The Classic Marque
just off the press.

JCNA members will recognized the author's name since Steve Kennedy is
a long time member of the Rocky Mountain Jaguar Club. He is the RMJC Newsletter
editor and has been involved in the editing and writing of various JCNA
documents like the Concours Rule Book. After years of work and research,
gathering information on the 75 years of Jaguar production and history,
photographing cars and seeking confirmation from Jaguar experts on both
sides of the pond, this is trully the book Jaguar enthusiasts have been
waiting for...

When the Fedex box arrived on my desk, I immediately noticed its weight...that's
one big book! 350 pages, 10"x12"... filled with information,
pictures and descriptions often including little known details. The amount
of research needed to put this together is just incredible...

While Steve states that his book is just intended as a general recognition
guide, you quickly realize that this is just a disclaimer and nothing
more. After a few pages, it becomes clear that the amount of details presented
in each chapter goes far beyond general recognition and much closer to
being a detailed guide on each model produced by Jaguar over some 75 years.

The first chapter covers Jaguar's history in an easy to follow chronological
format highlighting the most important events and people in the company's
history. There are things in there many Jaguar enthusiasts probably don't

The following chapters cover the 75 years of Jaguar production model
by model with the pre wars covered in one single chapter. That chapter
is fascinating thanks to the number of pictures and illustrations included
such as the 20 or so Swallow side cars the company offered in its early
day ranging from traditional to ... well.. different! Moving into the
coachbuilding era of the late 20s and early 30s, the pictures and details
provided are equally fascinating... I counted over 35 pictures which really
tell the story of SS / Jaguar early days from using Austin or Standard
chassis to developing its own with the early SS.

For the post war Jaguars, from 1945 Mark IV all the way to the 2002 X-Type,
each chapter is organized in a very easy to follow layout. First, general
identification guidelines are presented with pictures showing a model
variations, under the same angle, clearly showing how model evolved. Rear
views, side views are also presented when needed to show how Jaguar designs
evolved over a model lifespan. Interior and engine bays are also shown
side by side revealing sometimes subtle changes.

The second half of each chapter is a gold mine of detailed information
covering the major changes that took place during production with excellent
accuracy. While Jaguar The Classic Marque is not meant to be a
detailed originality guide, it contains many details which will help those
researching a restoration project, including serial numbers and dates
at which changes occurred; something you wouldn't expect in a book covering
the entire Jaguar production...

The appendix section is another great resource with dozens of exterior
and interior color charts again covering the early SS to the latest XJ8,
date charts covering production timeline of each model, and quiz of 300
questions related to Jaguars... fun to try!

In addition to the quality of the research and the details provided,
the quality of the photography is something that really stands out in
Jaguar The Classic Marque with hundred of quality images, many
shot by the author. The layout with many side by side comparison illustrate
changes in a way that words just can't do.

Jaguar The classic Marque can be ordered from Steve Kennedy's
at prices ranging from the basic book with dust jacket to deluxe collector
editions with limited and numbered slip covers, screen savers on CD rom,
and more.


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