roaring jag, or howling underdog

a look back at the car that was supposed to save jag, but almost caused its extinction.

4y ago

The question that is hot on everyone’s lips at the moment is, “does the S-type really deserve the slating that the spanner on Top Gear, James May, gave it?” Never mind the EU referendum, this question gets stripped down to bare metal and we reveal how bad this blue-collared yank, disguised as an English gent, really was. Was it our plucky British underdog? Was it before its time? Did it appeal to a wide enough audience? Nah. To all. For starters the car wasn’t even a Brit, it was American, secondly it wasn’t before its time, it’s not Kanye, and with a grille like that, it wasn’t appealing to any audience blessed with the gift of sight. Don’t believe me? Just look at the dismal sales and the fact that you can pick them up for next to nothing now.
The S-type’s father, the S-type original and its step-dad, the MK 2, share the same double sloping headlights that make the iconic look that proper Jags have. They also appeared on Jeremy Kyle, to see who was the real big daddy of the Grange Company. Unfortunately, that’s all they share. A quick history lesson shows us that 60% of all bank jobs in the 1960’s included a MK 2 or S-type original, and due to their cheapness and firm yet giving handling, it made them the perfect getaway car, and really, the perfect Jag. Or should I say “Jaaaaaag”, as that’s how the crooks that nicked them spoke.
The S-type and the MK 2 were the blue print for all Jags and they kept the company rolling in it in the 60’s and 70’s, unlike the poor sales of the new S-type that saw just a 5% growth rate in 2008. I suppose that answers the main question then. It was an economically catastrophic failure, and it didn’t do much for people’s social lives either!
Despite this, Tom Jones owned one! Unbelievable. It was slow, and had that mank grille. It was clumsy, and that grille. It was heavy, and that grille! That cheese grater grille is as ugly as, well, all the other grilles in Jag’s cheapskate range.
Now, you can see what they have done, but the American designers have clearly gotten lost on the way, somewhere between Big Ben, James Bond and the Union Jack. These American blokes have tried to create a car that us Brits would buy, and whilst lost in the British-themed wilderness, they found the old S-type, watched a couple episodes of The Sweeney and tried to create a retro Jag. Not that this is a bad thing. James May, from old Top Gear, had said that a retro Jag would look “cool”. However, simply force feeding the car tea and scones and shoving a monocle in its headlight does not make it quintessentially British. All they have done is created a “Yank Tank”, like the Lincolns and Thunderbirds assembled on the same line.
The Ford link has seen them put a Mondeo in a Jag costume and hoped that it works. So the Ford Mondeo has turned to drag!
Well, at 25 “bags of sand”, the dodgy Cockneys that made this rhyme and bought the MK 2, don’t want a souped up Zetec engine to whisk them away from their bank jobs. Supporting this is the automotive journalist Steve Holden, who said that the car is “heavy to corner and drives like a tank”, contrasting to the MK 2 that outran the rozzers in a jiffy! He also said that the cumbersome thing was “far too unreliable”, obviously its stripes and stars are starting to show here. While on the topic of mechanics, we look at the bloody great 4.2 V8 petrol plus in it. With petrol prices in the UK, you’d be mad to buy that one over here. And of course, being true petrol-heads, we won’t mention the fuel of the devil. Diesel. A lot of you reading this will be middle-aged and flat broke, and yet even your Vauxhall Corsa will have more leg room that the crevice that the passengers have to slot into in the Jag. It’s tighter than a gnats arse.
The equipment is poor, the engine types are unrealistic and the interior is cramped.
Not to mention the styling “that is so backward looking you may as well drive it in reverse”- Charlie Turner. And that grille. That thing on the front looks more like something you put the deceased’s ashes in, than a grille. Mad!
Just to aid its shoddiness, it comes over all yank again and offers sport seats. In a Jag? Oh no, no, no, leather seats would be more appropriate, don’t you think Jeeves? Overall, the thing has left us tea-drinking Brits with a sour taste in our mouths.
So, where are they today? One of Britain’s most prestigious car firms. An emblem of what we once stood for, with that Jaguar hood ornament, leaping out into the distance, into the future they once had. After the flop of the S-type, you would have expected them to have gone bust. But no, something worse.
They’re now made in India.
Although Tata seem to be doing a better job than the allies ever did, and the S-types replacement, the XF receives constant sales of 16%.
The XF, with the better looking head lamps, the face lift and the fact that the S-types sloping nose has been slapped up around its ears, make for a much better looking car. And then there’s the F-type. Words are not needed to explain the thrill we get when that Jag roars.
Overall then, was the S-type a bodged underdog? Despite the ridicule for the ghastly grille, it was a flat out Fail Army YouTube clip, with no likes.
Has it cost Jag that much? You look at the F- type SVO, and just try telling me it did!

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