Sir William Lyons
The peaceful passing of Sir William Lyons at his home on February 8th, at the age of 83, has taken from as one of the giants of the motor industry. His ability as a stylist first became apparent with the Swallow Sidecar Austin Seven conversions which first appeared in 1927. In 1935, he became a manufacturer in his own right with the SS Jaguars which were remarkable for their sleek styling and relatively low price.
Post-war saw Jaguar introduce the dohc XK engine, still being made, and with it a long list of cars which offered quality, style and high performance at a fraction of the cost which makers of comparable cars could offer. In addition, there were five Le Mans victories, a win in the Monte Carlo Rally, and successes in many, many lesser events.
A list of the cars which Sir William personally supervised, which includes the XR.120, the C, D and E-Types, and the 3.8 saloon, says much more about the man’s genius than any article could.
In recent years, Jaguar fell from the position it once held but, happily, Sir William lived to see its recent renaissance and learned shortly before he died that the company he founded had just broken all its own sales records with 33,424 cars sold in 1984 with demand growing all the time. He at least had the satisfaction of knowing that the company he founded looks set for a long and healthy future through continuing the tradition of quality which he laid down.
We extend our sympathy to Sir William’s widow and family. The British motor industry and British motor sport owe hint a great deal. He was one of the true greats.