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Jaguar books

Jaguar books

Reviewed by Michael Frank

Reviews are ©Michael Frank (

You can also find a listing of Jaguar related Books available via Amazon at Jaguar Auction Watch
Title: Jaguar the Enduring Legend
Autor: Edited by John Phillips
Publisher: Smithmark Publishers, New York, 1991
ISBN: 0 831751274
Format: Extra Oversize, color, 160 pages, 150 photos

One of my favorite coffee table books. This is a history of the Jaguar marque, from the Austin Swallow to the XJ40. The history, by the author's own admission, is lightweight, meant more for entertainment that documentary value. The real charm of this book are the amazing photographs....detailed, large format, full color pictures of most Jaguar and SS models. The photos are largely schoolboy-dream exterior shots, with a few detailed engine bay shots. If you only own one Jag book, this is probably not it, but it is a book sure to entertain and please the serious collector.

Title: Jaguar
Author: Paul Skilleter
Publisher: Grange Books, London, 1993
ISBN: 1 85627 24 6
Format: Oversize, color, 70 pages, about 80 photos

Another coffee table book. A brief history of the company, from inception thru the 1990's. No surprises in the text. Many fine exterior photos, a few engine bays....a familiar format. Not recommeded.

Title: Refining the Sports Car: Jaguar's E-Type
Author: Museum of Modern Art, New York
Publisher: Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1996
ISBN: None
Format: Pamphlet, color, 16 pages, 13 photos

This is the handout from the Museum's induction of the E-Type into the permanent collection. It is a loving little biography of everyone's favorite car. The few photos are really well chosen, including half-tone styling studies, prototype cars, and pages from Malcom Sayer's journal. Also a few shots of the Museum's perfect show car. This will be a rarity, so if you can get to the Museum, get a copy. If you can't, write them and see if they will mail you a copy. Well worth having.

Title: Anouncing the Official Precision Replica of the Ultimate Jaguar Classic.
Author: Franklin Mint, Philadelphia
Publisher: Franklin Mint, Philadelphia, 1996
ISBN: None
Format: Flyer, color, 6 pages, 9 photos

This is the advertising flyer for the Franklin Mint's E-Type Coupe model. It contains a brief history of the car and technical specifications. The photos are close ups of the Franklin mint model, which look almost like the real thing. If you are near one of the Franklin Mint mall stores, you can get this one for free, and it is a nice to have.

Title: Original Jaguar E-Type
Author: Phillip Porter
ISBN:1 870979 12 5
Publisher: Bay View Boooks LTD Bideford, Devon, England, 1994
Format: Oversize, color, 95 pages, about 110 photos

This attempts to provide detailed photographic documentation for the restorer. While it has many beautiful and detailed photos, it falls short of being a comprehensive restoration reference. This is especially disappointing since the author is perhaps the foremost authority in the world on this subject. The text concentrates on documenting the 'correct' appearance of original E's of all three and a half vintages. But it leaves much ambiguity and confusion. For example, in the section on Series 1 front suspension, the text reads "The dampers were finished in Girling blue." The photo of the "original" suspension directly opposite has Koni red dampers. The photos are beautiful, but IMHO, these cars are all over-restored, and not reference examples. Information on production changes, manufactured quantities, and technical specs. A good book to have, but not the first to put on the shelf.

Title: Jaguar: The Complete Works
Author: Nigel Thoreley
Publisher: Bay View Books, LTD, Bideford, Devon, England, 1996
ISBN: 1 870979 69 9
Format: Slightly oversize, color, 160 pages, About 210 photos

This book is a serious history of Jaguar and SS. It has a chapter devoted to each of the major models, with details of history, manufacturing, and specification. Many excellent photos, including some shots of the assembly line, and a photo of the aftermath of the 1957 fire. Shouldn't be your only book, but it works on the coffee table.

Title: Jaguar 6 Cylinder Engine Overhaul
Autor: Jaguar World
Publisher: Kelsey Publishing LTD, Beckenham, Kent, England, 1995
ISBN: 1 873098 32 4
Format: Oversize, soft cover, color, 86 pages, about 250 photos

This is a how-to-do-it book. It is a compendium of Jaguar World serialized articles on the subject. Step by step we are led thru the removal, strip down and rebuilding of the XK engine. Operations are photgraphically documented in excruciating detail. Also covered are the independent rear suspension unit, and SU carburetors. A must have book, if you plan to do it yourself.

Title: E-Type Jaguar Restoration
Author: Pracical Classics
Publisher: Kelsey Publishing LTD, Beckenham, Kent, England, 1991
ISBN: 1873098 03 0
Format: Oversize, softcover, color, 106 pages, about 300 photos.

Another do-it-yourself book from Kelsey. This time, an awful E-Type is restored to near perfection. The book attempts to follow the ground up every step of the way, but the task is so huge, that many details are missed. For example, carpets and trim are glossed over, yet an excruciatingly detailed description is given of how a cracked engine block was repaired. I would bet that many of us have replaced all or part of an interior, but not one of us has attempted to weld a block. Still, a must have book, if you are seriously into restoring it on your own.

Title: Jaguar 4.2 Litre 'E' Type Series 2 Operating, Maintenance and Service Handbook
Author: Jaguar Cars
Publisher: Jaguar Cars LTD Coventry, England (reproduced 1995)
ISBN: none
Format: pamphlet, black and white, 80 pages, about 120 drawings and photos

The handbook that came with the car. All the obvious stuff. The Repro edition comes with two handy wall charts: a complete electrical schematic, and a lubrication guide. If you have the car, of course you should have a copy. Repros are sold thru all the major Jag dealers.

Title: SU Carburetters Tuning Tips & Techniques
Author: G R Wade
Publisher: Brooklands Books, LTD, Cobham, Surrey, England 1994
ISBN: 1 85520 2557
Format: Regular size, softcover, black and white, 190 pages, about 150 line drawings

Detailed information on SU Carburettors. This includes, history, design, tuning, rebuilding and trouble shooting. Tables of needle applications and piston spring specs. The definitive reference book on the subject. How to select a needle, rebuild your carbs, etc. Bonus: similar information on SU fuel pumps. If you have an SU, you need this book. Stromberg owners may also find the general discussion of constant-depression carbs useful.

Title: Jaguar Driver's Book
Author: James Ruppert
Publisher: Haynes Publications, Inc New York 1990
ISBN: 0 85429 626 3
Format: Standard size, hardcover, black and white, 60 pages, about 200 photos

This is an odd book, written by a British journalist. It is a little bit of history, a little bit of anecdote, some statistics, and other stuff.... The other stuff includes Jaguar crossword puzzles, riddles, and jokes. A fair number of pages are devoted to 'specials': one off Jags by the factory, stretch limos, styling exercises by some of the best coachbuilders. Chapters of Jag stories, how-to-buy, factory photos, and celebrity Jags round out this unusual book. Summary: summarize the best of Jag-lovers, add some excellent, one of a kind, black and white photos, and you have this book. Very diverting.


"In 1964.....recieved an interesting present form his Mexican suppliers. They were grateful for his orders over the years, and had noticed that he always showed interest in their Mark 2......"

" ....Flight 888 had its usual cargo of fresh fruit, and its unusual cargo of a very well used Mark 2 Jaguar. But the Dakota aircraft was starting to have trouble......Of course, the Jaguar was one of the first things out the cargo door....."

"....1974, a party of scientists....came across a curious the middle of a tropical rain forest. An almost perfectly restored Mark 2 Jaguar. It had been placed on a raised platform and was surrounded by fruit and orchids...."

" interpreter discovered that the Jaguar was a focal point of worship. The real jaguar had always been respected by the Indians, and they recognized the mascot on the bonnet. And anyway when it had arrived in the forest, so had a bumper crop of fresh fruit which meant it brought good luck......"

".....denseness of the trees broke the Jaguar's fall....Indians were excellent craftsmen...repairing and panel beating the damaged areas wasn't a problem..."

".....The American team left the Jaguar where it was. However, this ad appeared in a British newspaper recently....."

"Jaguar Mk2 Stored in S.America for 20 years. Ex cond, w/w, fsh worshipped, offers.."

Title: Jaguar XK-E 1961-1975
Author: Walter Zeichner
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1990
ISBN: 0-88740-247 x
Note: Also available in German, ISBN 3-922617-42-5, HandelsGmbH, Munchen
Format: Standard size, edge bound, 92 pages, 100 photos. Some color photos.

This is not a book as much as a collection. The text is only a couple of pages long. The balance of the book consists of reproductions of original advertising literature, magazine articles, and press photos. Included are most of the advertising brochures for the E-Type. The original 1961 brochure is reproduced in full color. A handy book for the E-lover.

Title:Jaguar: The Definitive History of a Great British Car
Author: Andrew Whyte
Publisher: Patrick Stephens Ltd (Haynes), Sparkford, Nr Yeovil, Somerset, England 1994
ISBN: 1 85260 474 3
Format: Standard size, black and white, 290 pages, about 200 photos

This book should be familiar to every Jag lover. Whyte had a long association with Jaguar, and was on the scene for many of the important turning points in the company history. This well written book is the story Jaguar and the people behind the company, told as only an insider can tell it. Especially detailed are the sections describing the origins and early years of SS production....a wonderful book, worth a place on your bookshelf. The book includes two forwards by William Lyons, and one by Paul Skilleter. Many unique black and white photos, especially of prewar Jags, and factory shots.

Title: The Jaguar E-Type, A Collectors Guide
Author: Paul Skilleter
Publisher: Paul Skilleter and Motor Racing Publicactions, Ltd, Croydon, England 1986
ISBN: 0 947981 15 2
Format: Standard size, edge bound, 128 pages, about 150 B&W photos

A little history of the E-Type, including origins, development, and racing history. Tips on buying and maintenance. Specifications. Photos are excellent, including construction details, engine bays, and racing scenes. Not the best or most complete book on the subject, but certainly adequate and accurate.

Title: Illustrated Jaguar Buyers Guide.
Author: Michael L Cook
Publisher: Motorbooks Int'l, Osceola, Wi, USA, 1996
ISBN: 0 7603 0179 7
Format: Slightly oversize, paper back, 160 pages, about 140 B&W photos

This book is really just another history of Jaguar cars, from the beginnings to XK8. The emphasis is on collector value, and most of the text is oriented towards model identification. Production statistics are included for all cars. The chapters are devoted to various vehicle families: E-Types, XJS's, XJ6's, etc. The chapters are preceded with a 'investment' rating, on a scale from 1 to 5. This is a very subjective rating, and I take exception to many of the ratings. For example, E-Type 2+2's are rated 1 or 2, depending on equipment options. This suggests that they have less collector value than, say, '61 DeSotos. A rating of 1, in fact, means no collector value. I will spare XJ6 owners the trauma of revealing the rating on these cars... Look, you know what the car you are driving means to you, and that's all that counts. If you are looking for a guide to what to drive, just join Jag-lovers, and solicit a few appropriately biased comments. No thank you, Mr. Cook. Really!

Title: Jaguar in America
Author: John Dugdale
Publisher: Britbooks Otego, NY 1993
ISBN: 0 9635618 0 4
Format: Slightly oversize, hardcover, 270 pages, about 300 photos, some in color

There are many books which discuss Jaguar history. There are many that talk about mechanics. There are even some that talk about Jaguar personalities. This is the only book I know of which discusses Jaguar from a marketing perspective, especially focusing on North America.

The author began his career as a journalist with The Autocar. In 1950 he came to America as part of the marketing team for Rootes, eventually joining Jaguar (1954) and rising to a prominent position in the Jaguar Cars American operation. He talks about what it was like to market British cars in the late 40's and 50's, and gives many rare insights into the ways that American demand influenced Jaguars designs. He discusses how Jaguar's racing efforts were intertwined with sales strategies. How products were planned, advertised, and sold. This is also the only authoritative reference I have found on Jaguar in Mexico.

The photos include many standard shots of cars and factories. But there are many, many unusual pics, including advertising literature, pictures of American Jaguar executives, pictures of automobile show booths, and celebrity owners. Graphs and charts illustrating the birth, glory years, and twilight of Britcar sales in the US.

A gem.

Title: Jaguar E-Type Six Cylinder Restoration and Originality Guide
Author: Dr. Thomas F. Haddock
Publisher: Motorbooks International, Osceola, WI, USA 1991
Format: Slightly oversize, paperback, 224 pages, about 400 b&w photos

This is an exhaustive examination of E-Type minutiae, for the serious restorer. All Six cylinder cars are addressed. System by system, in meticulous detail, the 'correct' characteristics of each component are described, and photographically recorded, if possible. This is the best source of detailing information I have seen for a_n_y car. The cars photographed are clearly untouched originals, and a bit of grunginess is tolerated in the interest of accuracy. This book is what Porter's 'Original Jaguar E-Type' wants to be, but isn't.

A must have book for any E-type restorer.

Title: Jaguar
Author: Lord Montagu of Beaulieu
Publisher: Quiller Press, London 1990
ISBN: 1 870948 46 7
Format: Oversize, hardcover, 267 pages, about 300 b&w photos, about 20 color photos

General history of Jaguar form SS to XJ220. This is a very comprehensive text. It is especially detailed with regard to Jaguar racing history. For example, how many remember that an XJS piloted by Dave Heinz and Dave Yarborough won the 1979 Cannonball Run? (A totally illegal cross country race here in the US- the objective being to drive coast-to-coast in minimal time, on ordinary roads, with no police cooperation). It's all in here.

The author is a world-class automotive enthusiast, being the sponsor of the Montagu Motor Museum. His Oxford education is evident: the book is exceptionally well written, and a genuine pleasure to read. He is the hobbyist we all long to be, and I think we should offer him an honorary membership in jag-lovers (after all-it costs nothing).

The photos include the usual documentary shots, but especially interesting is the rich collection of racing photos. I am convinced that many of these were shot by the author himself, as I don't recall seeing them published elsewhere.

Expensive, but a classic on the subject.

Title: Jauar E-Type The Definitive History
Author: Philip Porter (forword by Briggs Cunningham)
Publisher: Automobile Quarterly (USA), Haynes (England) 1989
ISBN: 0 91503875 7
Format: Oversize, hardcover, 708 pages, about 1000 b&w photos, 100 color

This is the book. It is big, well written, fanatically researched, and well illustrated. The book is what the title says: definitive.

The story of the E's development, from the C-type and D-type to early prototypes to the Geneva introduction is presented first. This section includes many interesting quotes and anecdotes from Jaguar luminaries. The text includes interesting results from early proving ground testing.

>From this beginning, Porter continues with a good history of early E-Type racing efforts, including the design and development of the lightweights. The story continues with the evolution of the Type II and Type III cars, and more racing anecdotes. Some interesting observations about the 2+2's development are included. Rare quotes add insight to the story.

The book concludes with a huge appendix, which includes specifications, production figures, exports by country, and racing results.

The photos are truly comprehensive. Not only the familiar exterior shots, but racing photos, factory styling studies, photos of Sayer's wind tunnel tests, factory shots, and cutawway views are included.

If you have an E-Type, long for an E-Type, or even if you are just a general car buff, this book is a must have. There is no other source so complete, authoritative, or well illustrated as this! Pricey, but well worth it (still 9 shopping days left!).

Title: The Jaguar Scrapbook
Author: Philip Porter
Publisher: Haynes Publications, Inc (Foulis), Newbury Park CA 91320, 1989
ISBN: 0-85429-744-8
Format: Slightly oversize, hardcover, 168 Pages, About 250 Photos, some in color

Philip Porter is one of the greatest living experts on Jaguar history. He has published at least five or six outstanding books on the subject. In the process of writing all of those books, he has evidently amassed quite a bit of Jaguar material and trivia which has, up until this book, found no home.

This book is a collection of the odd bits and pieces of Philip Porter's research. Transcripts of interviews with works drivers, machinists, upholsterers, and accountants. Copies of Bill Lyon's interoffice memos. Malcolm Sayer's abortive plans for a GP racer. Sales literature for the C, D, and XKSS cars. You find all of these odds and ends in here.

One illustration which I found particularly amusing was a 1958 ad from a Jag dealer in Manchester. He advertised a "D Type 3.4 Litre. Brand New Nearly L1,000 under list. List price L3,879. OUR PRICE L2,995. This colossal reduction is possible because the car has been on showroom exhibition. NEVER BEEN RACED OR USED. ....... A chance of a lifetime to acquire a magnificentsports-racing car in British racing green at -remember- nearly L1,000 under list."

Highly Recommended.

Title: Jaguar Sports Racing Cars
Author: Philip Porter
Publisher: Bayview Books, Bideford, Devon, UK, 1995
ISBN: 1 870979 67 2
Format: Oversize, hardcover, 176 pages, about 300 photos, some color.

Philip Porter's comprehensive history of Jaguar's post-WW2 racing history. from XK 120 to XJ13, the story of Jaguar's works cars is related. Interesting quotes, great racing photos, and eyewitness accounts bring home the excitement of the evolving legend.

The exposition for each of the major works cars is broken down into design and development, followed by a complete description of the engineering details, and finishing with racing history.

There are few books on this subject as comprehensive and well written.

Title: Jaguar V-12 E-Type Guide to Authenticity
Author: Richard T. Russ
Publisher: Spirit Press & Publications, Del City, OK, USA 1991
ISBN: 0 9629958 0 0
Format: Oversize, hardcover, 187 pages, about 250 photos, most in color.

Not too long ago, good V12 E-Types were going for megabucks. (I suppose they are still expensive). This book was written for the collector in pursuit of the perfect Jaguar. The cars used to illustrate the text are low mileage originals. Low miles is an understatement. At 2800 miles, 698 miles, and 90 miles, I would say that these are, essentially, new cars.

With such a good base to start from, the author describes in detail the varius components of the car. Each description is accompanied by high resolution close up photos of these incredibly original cars. This comprises the first section of the book.

The next section includes restoration tips, and a list of suppliers. Jag-lovers is probably a better source for this info, at least it will be more current.

The next section includes engineering drawings of most of the key components and subassemblies. The book concludes with a color section illustrating all the correct decals.

You can't get better documentation than this if you are restoring a V-12 E. The only criticism I have is that the book focuses on 'topside' areas of the car. If you are interested in seeing what an original IRS rear looks like, or a transmission, or exhaust system, the book is no help.

Title: Jaguar Catalog Raisonne
Author: Ian Norris
Publisher: Automobilia, Societa per la Storia E l'Immagine dell'Automobile, Milano 1991
ISBN: 88 85880 42 5
Format: Oversize, Two volume, hardcover, presentation slipcover, 445 pages, about 700 photos, some color

This is a history of Jaguar in two volumes. Although the bulk would suggest that reams of new material are included, in fact, this is not the case. The book is printed in English, French and Italian. So it is only about 1/3 the size it appears to be.

The first volume addresses company history and racing history. The is nothing in this section that you won't find in Porter.

The second volume is the catalog raisonne itself. This is, in effect, a catalog of every Jaguar model ever made. Complete descriptions, photos, and technical pecifications are presented in chronological sequence.

If you are an Italian or French speaker, there is probably a dearth of Jaguar literature in your language. This book adresses that need, and is a whole Jaguar library in one two-volume set.

For English speakers, this book is an expensive ($$$) addition to your bookshelf, which should already include similar, more comprehensive, and more affordable books by Porter, Whyte, or Skilleter.

Reviews are ©Michael Frank (
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