St. Louis, Missouri – On September 4, 2013, some of the world’s fanciest felines will display at the Kemp Auto Museum for “70 years of Jaguar.” This one-month exhibit, which coincides with the annual Jaguar Concours event on October 5th, 2013, will focus on the progression of Jaguar from sidecar to sensation.
“When discussing the marque emphasis is usually placed on Jaguar’s e-type rather than Jaguar’s evolution,” said Mike Dyer, assistant Curator at Kemp Auto Museum. “This exhibit will give visitors the opportunity to meet Jaguar pre-claw: when the marquee was still finding its trademark and its true form.”
One of those forms, says Dyer, was as a diminutive sidecar known as the 1930 Austin Swallow. The rare car is one of two in the United States and was brought to the museum from a private collection.
“While lacking in similarity to any future Jaguar production the car speaks volumes about the veracity of Sir William Lyons: the company’s founder,” said Dyer. “Despite his limited funding and working the first part of his career in a backyard shed, he was an ace for styling and had the vision and the drive to imagine bigger even when those he called partner would not.”
The Swallow sidecar was just Lyons winding up—a precursor to the S.S. Jaguar that is also on display at the museum. The car, while derided for being all bonnet and no performance, marked a strong progression in Jaguar’s design history. Sprinkled here and there with chrome and flashing with features such as suicide doors, a low roofline and burled wood, these models were outpacing brands nearly twice their age, giving British buyers, for the first time, both looks and value.
Great performing models were not far behind the S.S. Jaguar. One innovation after the next made Jaguar into an icon from the XK to the F-type, disc brakes to independent rear suspension, Daytona to Le Mans. Through a display of all these marvels as well the lesser known Jaguars, visitors will get to fully understand what got them started and, more importantly, what set them apart.
When the exhibit concludes, the museum will celebrate with a finale event: the Jaguar Concours d’Elegance on October 5, 2013. Some 60 legends of the Leaper will come together for the show, many from St. Louis and others from states nearby. These cars have amassed great awards in national Concours shows and at vintage competitive racing events.
The Jaguar Association (St. Louis) is co-organizing the event along with support from Plaza Jaguar of St. Louis and the museum.
“These cars represent many hours of diligent work and expenditure by our members,” said Terry Carmack, assistant to the Jaguar Club of St. Louis. “Every era of Jaguar is showcased at the event, from the earliest to the latest, all in the same condition as whenthey rolled off the assembly line in Browns Lane. These exquisite cars and many other Jaguars traveling from other regions will vie for awards at this highly competitive event. Jaguar cars are renowned for their beauty and these cars are the best of the best in performance and appearance.”
In addition to vintage Jaguars, the show will sport many emerging and current models, most notably the recently released Jaguar F-type. Considered the belle of the breed, the F-type is just one of several current models visitors can expect to see at the one-day showcase Saturday. The Jaguar Concours is free and open to the public and runs from 10:00am to 3:30pm. Access to the museum at a discounted rate of $6 per person will also be available along with food and refreshments during the Concours show.
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About the Kemp Auto Museum and the Kemp Foundation:
The intent of the Kemp Auto Museum is to demonstrate the evolution of rare and classic automobiles and its impact on the world’s political, cultural and historical development. Fulfilling the mission of the Fred M. Kemp Foundation, the museum is dedicated to the preservation and public display of the rare and classic European automobiles previously donated by Fred M. Kemp. Museum hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is free for members and children under three.