Penny Pincher Lyons

Geoff is correct, get the other thread back on topic. I never know when a new topic should be started, but this time I will start one from:

Where JoeyGT indicated Lyons was a penny pincher and I indicated otherwise.

So Joey, if you are still interested, your last post on the topic in the other thread was a bunch of photos. Not sure I follow any relevancy to these photos. But to the people you mentioned, what I could find is they were drivers, relatives, collector? Not sure why their opinion of William Lyons being a penny pincher is relevant. It seems to me Lyons was the honored businessman who grew a company based on at least somewhat sound financial decisions. I am sure many employees would have loved to have their “no expense barred” dream car, but that does not always happen. I admire a Lyons who can make it happen. And whether the other peoples’ opinions are right or wrong, they are opinions.
But to your fact about the brakes… I did forget that one. Good point. How many other cars went to the added expense of dual circuit dual master cylinder brakes in 1961. Mercedes 190sl did not, and very few others did either. At least David’s example made some sense.
My list just got longer. Any other items to support his cheapness showing up on the cars. :grinning:

Its been a while since I’ve read my Jaguar books but no doubt Lyons was a brilliant businessman, who could say no to that. But as far as being a penny pincher IIRC most if not all of those books will mention his frugality at some level, some issues with reverence and some not so much.

The perfect example is the S1 4.2 fan relay, or lack thereof. The contemporary Otter switches could just take the full load of the fan, so the relay was omitted. Saved a few pennies, helped to build Jaguar’s reputation for hot running cars.

A heater that barely heats.
A defroster that barely defrosts.
A cooling system that works when well sorted but has virtually no reserve capacity.
An air conditioner that doesn’t.
Poorly designed and executed insulation between the passenger compartment and the drivetrain.
An engine with a reputation as an oil burner and leaker.

Yea, but… other than that, it’s a brilliant car.

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!

1 Like

How many manufacturers even then sold what were essentially the prototypes and first assembly efforts to the buying public?

And just to clear the air in modern day revisionist history.
His grandson and I are friends and I look up to Sir William and his entire family as a great success story .
But as history has shown short cutting or as some have said penny pinching hurt the brand which as Norman Dewis said repeatedly if they only spent a couple money PENNIES on some supplies the Jaguar brand would be looked at more as. Ferrari, Maserati or Mercedes.
I hold the brand in higher regard but the terrible service history compared to the others was a running joke for close to 40 years!
If it wasn’t for John Egan and then Ford
They would be the way of Triumph, MG and a bug eyed sprite.
This is very old news …
But at least we got through it
Tom those people in those pictures were
Norman Dewis Jaguars only test driver from 1952 to 1985
His protege in the last picture was David Hobbs
Young test driver under Dewis and formula 1 race car driver
Then Brian Redman who started his 159 career wins in all firms of racing cut his teeth with an xk120 and then light weight Etypes before group 44
Then Michael Quinn is Sir Williams grandson
I just don’t think you know the full history
With love

The King Midget…:scream:

Paul, maybe the impression is coming across wrong, I am trying to say that yes, I am sure Lyons saved on manufacturing everywhere he could, but that is what it takes to build a product to a target market. But I see the cars as having so many "premium " items that I listed previously that I do not see these cars as Panmunjom pinched cars.

It’s coming across wrong…
But with love

Michael and John, now you guys have some good points!
But if the switch was rated to take the load, why would you add a relay. Now maybe the switch did not have the long term reliability, but that is another issue.
John, you are correct, but look at the contemporaries in late 1950 and early 1960s. Roll up windows wer the new thing for sports cars. MGs had to open the hood for the heater.
Yes, the cooling was marginal, but only if it needs fixed. And remember, many cars, even much more reliable American cars would be seen along the mountain roads with the hoods up.
Many cars burned more oil than a Jag back then.
These cars seemed to meet the basic expectations of the English market of MG, Austin, Rover, Triumph, etc. of the time. American, German others were already more reliable, different expectations.
But yes, I can somewhat agree.

Exactly right, he built a brilliant car for the price. And he had a budget to meet.

1 Like

How much more did Ferrari and Maserati cost than an XKE? And how much more reliable were those Italian cars? He built a car that cost less than half as much as them, and other than prestige, was probably about as good. He built them at a price that was affordable to many more people than those brands. Even with today’s prices, many more of us can afford them over 1960 Ferraris. He was not cheap, he was wise. And you may be somewhat correct on reliability, but first I contend the reliability was under stated, next I would say the reliability was in line with most other contemporary English cars.
And most important, IMO, non of these issues, even if significant begin to overshadow all the great stuff, costly stuff that I mentioned that Lyons put into these cars before most anyone else.

Your taking bits and pieces from each persons posts and taking things out of context
I’ll make it easy for all of us.
I love Jaguar
I love my Etypes plural
I have owned or own more than 45 Jaguars!
I’ve written Jaguar books
Hosted Jaguar tv shows
But most of all
I Love Youđź’‹
Spreading the love

Im not arguing against that: however, the brilliance of the car has been tainted by some seriously crappy items.

I don’t let the cars’ brilliance blind me to its faults.

Unfortunately, I think that does happen. I try not to. What am I taking out of context? I thought I was trying to put things in context, but maybe not so well?
My context is this was an extremely advance car with many features that were by no means cheap. It certainly was not perfect.
And I do not understand what your liking these cars, etc, has anything to do with the topic???

I love you
Spreading the love

Our expectations of cars of the 60s and 70s are not as they are today.
Yes heater and defroster were marginal. Engines if maintained well did
not burn much oil, but had a tendency to leak. Most of the cars of that era
ran hot, remember those canvas water bags hanging on grill?
I remember on trips to local mountains cars in turnouts filling radiators
from water fountains in route. Made the same trip a few weeks ago and a sign
read turn off A/C to prevent overheating.


John said…
“An air conditioner that doesn’t.”

Nope… i have a late sII with factory A/C, and it works really well. I don’t turn it up full blast or it will freeze me out.

Society has discovered discrimination as the great social weapon by which one may kill men without any bloodshed.
Hannah Arendt

1 Like

One place Jaguar / Lyons didn’t seem to skimp - the ashtray. I turned my attention to refitting the console and decided to remove the ashtray, opening it really for the first time.

I was surprised at how elaborate it was. It has a chrome plated “grill” where I presume the cigar/cigarette tip rests, that hinges upwards. I assume that’s for cleaning purposes. I don’t recall a hinged ash grille in other cars even of the same era. I suppose Jaguar (or perhaps the British) really took smoking seriously back then. Modern Jags don’t have this.

I suppose if there was some penny pinching here, perhaps it was in the coating of the ashtray pan itself. This is actually by far the most corroded part of the E-type I’ve found yet, including the battery tray and what I can see peering into the recesses of the bulkhead with the dashtop and bonnet locks removed. (and door panels removed.)

Even the receptacle for the ashtray has corrosion - I guess those smokes must really attack metal? Maybe Lyons could have plunked for some ceramic or high-temp plastic resin here. Oh well, looks like I’ll need to break out the sandblaster to clean off that rust.

Then I have to figure out what to recoat it with. I could use anything cosmetically since I don’t smoke, but if I could, I’d like something heat resistant. Was this coated or just bare metal from the factory?