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  The history of Jaguar 2

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The success of side-cars, must today, be put into perspective. Real cars, particularly as far as motorisation in post-war England (somewhat lagging) was concerned, could only be afforded and bought by prosperous people. Motorcycles were cheaper and above all, as far as the power-to-weight ratio was concerned, clearly superior to cars in the lower price-range. After starting a family, the temporary, (or permanent) mounting of a side-car to the motorcycle was the favoured solution. Added to all this, was that the economic recovery in post-war England was a slow, uphill battle.

In both cases, after the two world wars there were car manufacturers, who bowed to the unfavourable economic situation by offering especially reasonable models. In Europe some examples named were, Peugeot in France, Opel in Germany and also Austin in England. Austin was particularly successful, which one can recognise by the fact that the newly conceived 1922 Austin Seven e.g., belonged to the foundation estate of BMW. It was a very simplistic construction with a small engine and only two crankshaft bearings. Looking at it today, it seems very odd indeed.

What does all this have to do with Lyons and Walmsleys company? Well, the manufacturing of a side-car is basically, not all that different from that of a complete body, which was developed, at first as an experiment, in the new premises. This increased the impression made by the Austin Seven enormously. Also, there where a larger market for very reasonable cars is, can the somewhat better models also be sold. With a rounded radiator-grill and also otherwise less angular shape, would the first four-wheel product be successful, despite it's distinctly higher price-tag.

At this point, another of William Lyons talents appeared, not only was he able to foresee the acceptance of a new shape, but could also estimate the cost so that the market success was almost automatic. This is also why cost reduction in the production was also his first and foremost concern, if, i.e. he was not occupied at the time with new best-sellers. In any event, still today, the Austin Swallow is mostly mentioned when speaking of the legendary Seven. Indeed, the production areas had expanded quite a lot. At any rate, only the chassis and drive-train were delivered, the body, not only of the saloon but also an (even more attractive) open-car was fitted in the factory, from then onwards the radiator-grill would be decorated with a stylistic swallow. 07/13

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