Here’s a special treat. In this rare film called One Leap Ahead, we take a tour of the venerable Jaguar factory in Coventry, England in 1961. This is a look inside a world that scarcely exists anymore—enjoy.
By Internet viewing standards, this film is rather long at 28 minutes. However, we’re sharing it anyway because it contains so many valuable moments and insights. Remarkably well produced for the typical British industrial film, One Leap Ahead provides a spellbinding look inside the Jaguar Coventry plant circa 1961, and we hope you make the time to see it all, even if you need multiple visits.
Presented here is a type of automobile, and a method of constructing them, that really doesn’t exist anymore, except perhaps in racing and restoration shops. You’re going to see a tremendous amount of skilled hand labor in all types of automotive disciplines, from machining to crankshaft balancing to upholstering, and for gearheads like us, the work is riveting to watch. Once you’re a few minutes in, you’ll probably be hooked.
Make no mistake. This was a difficult, costly, complicated, and often troublesome way to produce automobiles. By modern standards, much of the equipment is laughably primitive. Still, these methods produced a driving and owning experience that aren’t often duplicated today. If you’ve ever been the caretaker of a vintage Jaguar or similar machine, you know just what we mean. Enjoy the video.