Jaguar Cars Visit
Thursday 4th December 97 - By Andy Moss
(Jaguar factory reception. Photo: Andy Moss)
Seventeen club members made the trip to Coventry to visit the home of
Jaguar cars. We arrived at the Browns Lane plant and were directed to
the reception area where we were provided with coffee. This area was
usually a museum of Jaguar cars, but many of them had been removed to
allow a long service presentation for Jaguar employees to be held in
the building the next day. Two exhibits that did remain were a 1988 Le
Mans car and an XJ220. There were also many display cases with various
trophies won by Jaguar over the years, as well as displays of some of
the parts used in the cars. There was also an impressive collection of
Jaguar related paintings around the walls.
Having been joined by some other visitors to the factory, many of whom
were lucky enough to be purchasing cars, we were divided into four
groups. Each group would be taken around the factory by a tour guide
who was a retired Jaguar employee. Our group started off on the XJ
series production line. The factory itself was very impressive, the
Ford influence being apparent in the very slick production line. We
were shown the engines, which are now produced in Ford's Bridgend
facility, we were told that it was now more economic to buy in many
(Le Mans 24 Hour Car in the factory Museum. Photo: Andy Moss)
Alongside the XJ line the XK8 sports car was being produced. We were
told that around 80% of the factories output was exported, and the
convertible version of this car must be very popular in sunnier parts.
Among the trickier jobs on this line was fitting the hood, which was
taken through a special heat booth to ensure it was stretched tightly
One of the few components made on site is the wooden dash assemblies.
We were taken to the wood shop and shown the process of producing this
trim. Veneer is imported from America - over half of a given batch is
rejected as not upto the standard required. The veneer is then bonded
to Aluminium formers, before having any inlay applied then sanded and
polished. This was a very labour intensive activity, but the finished
result was very impressive and undoubtedly plays a big part in the look
of the finished car.
Next stop was the body store, here painted bodies are delivered from
the suppliers and stored in two huge racks which run the length of the
building. This facility is fully automated, with bodies being collected
by a lift type mechanism from their stored position and then being
inspected before, starting their journey down the assembly line.
On our way into the factory we had seen a large number of new cars with
three mile road test - this must be the best job in the factory! On
returning from the road test the cars are washed, the paintwork is
inspected and then any necessary rework is carried out.
Before leaving the factory, we met back up with the other groups in the
reception area. Here there was an XK8 and an XJ on show. Many members
took the opportunity to examine the cars closer, and we were encouraged
to have a good look inside and outside the cars.
(Inspecting the finished article - Jaguar XJ Series Saloon. Photo: Andy Moss)
An excellent Pub lunch at a recommended nearby pub followed, before
making our way into Coventry to visit the Museum of British Road
Transport. Thanks must go to Tim Murray for organising the trip and to
everyone at Jaguar for making us so welcome.