|In 1998, we had witnessed a very unique
issued theme in a LEICA M6 camera that associated directly with a car manufacturer.
In a literature accompanied with this special edition of LEICA M6, it states: -
THE JAGUAR COLLECTION AND LEICA CAMERAS FOCUS ON 50 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE" ...
way back in 1948, the motoring world was stunned by the introduction of a new Jaguar
sport car and its "XK" engine. The car, Jaguar XK120, went on to be a classic
icon of the 1950's and the engine was to be responsible for speeding Jaguar to historic
victories at Le Mans. The "XK" combination was a masterpiece and the Jaguar
name, famed for generations of evocative sports cars and luxury saloons has its origin
To Mark the 50th years since the landmark introduction, Jaguar has specially commissioned
Leica camera AG to produce this special Jaguar "XK50" version of their
classic camera series, the LEICA M6. Yet another classic icon from the 1950's, the
Leica "M" series has been the chosen tool of many celebrated photographers,
and the current version, the M6 is an aristocrat among cameras. The camera is very
distinctive, covered in green Connolly leather and featuring the classic, collapsible
50mm 'ELMAR' lens, for that 1950's look. Produced in chrome, the camera is engraved
with the distinctive Jaguar trademark and the words 'XK 1948~1998'. The 'XK50' M6
is one of a special run of just 50 pieces.-Roger Putnam - Jaguar Collection (current
Jaguar Sales & Marketing Director, former Chairman of Ford of Britain from 2002-2005)...".
Note: John Maries, current Executive Director, Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust has
issued this via Leica User Group (LUG)
back in 24.07.1998 which states"Dear LUGgers, 1998
sees the 50th Anniversary of the Jaguar XK120. This classic sportscar was to firmly
establish the Jaguar name, and went on to become a 50's icon. In celebration, Jaguar
has joined forces with a select group of other "icon" companies and has
specially commissioned a classic momento of that classic era from each. If you are
interested in Jaguar and Leica, please email me for further details. Regards John
Maries; Jaguar, UK". In Stephan's
which relates to the LEICA M6 article; he has mentioned John Maries involvement in
enabling the M6 Jaguar project. Anyway, as Stephan's original has been published
for quite while, just let whatever it appears herein this site acts as an extension
for his original write ups.
LEICA M6 Jaguar XK50 1948~1998 Edition
" ...In September 1948 Jaguar announced
its first new postwar, stop-gap model in Mark V with independent front suspension
and a new engine was virtually ready for production, but it was considered that the
Mark V was a little too conservative to launch it in and so the Saloon and Drophead
Mark Vs were offered with the usual 21/2 and 31/2 litre power units.
|Lyons had specified that the output from the new engine
should be that ultimately achieved with 'Old Number 8', 160 BHP. The designers bravely
chose an overhead camshaft layout and .after trying several configurations, the final
engine was decided upon. It was to be a straight six of 3442 cc and given the name
XK. The achieved output was 160 BHP! Jaguar now had an excellent new chassis,
a tremendously exciting new engine, but no sports car. So the decision was made to
produce a small number of sports cars, which would generate publicity and perhaps
gain a few competition successes. The task fell then to William Lyons to design a
suitable body in just a couple of months for the 1948 Motor Show. It was known as
the XK120 and was destined to become one of the greatest sports cars of all time..".
In 1950 it was decided to take three cars to France for
the world famous Le Mans 24 hour race, merely to assess their capabilities against
international opposition....The Jaguars were an unknown quantity and the crowd were
watching the Ferraris, Talbots and Cunninghams... However, Jaguar drivers recorded
a remarkable victory for the first time out for the C-types..... Jaguar with new
development in disc brake and was to be Jaguar's secret weapon upon their return
to Le Mans in 1953. The result was a complete walkover, the Jaguars finishing first,
second and fourth. Jaguar was now a world force and the XK engine a world beater....
Ref: Jaguar Heritage/History
Frankly speaking, the LEICA M6 XK50 1948~1998 edition
has a very well laid out specification
with cleverly matched components. It was the second M6 special edition body that
uses a familiar Jaguar green colored leatherette that symbolizes with Jaguar corporate
color; it fits in such a selection very well and very eye-appealing (the same goes
for the Leica/Jaguar 1,000 units limited edition of Z2X* compact camera,
except the latter was not using leather but plastic). The package was supplied in
a white corrugated box with an oversized Jaguar emblem with XK work imprinted. Inside,
a light colored veneer presentation box was laid with the same deep-green velvet.
I was glad at least it was not a black body, if not it may loss the elegant look
in a chrome body. You may also notice the Jaguar XK50 M6 here was not the M6 TTL,
probably it was among the last of M6 Classic body being used as a special commemorative
NOTE: the "XK50" used here for this Limited Edition M6 Classic body
probably refers a short form for 50th Anniversary for the birth of the famed
Jaguar XK model.
The lens was quite a smart
adoption, instead of the more popular selection of Summicron-M 50/2 as seen on many
of the Leica M6 special releases; those who had involved in the M6 Jaguar project
had chosen a unique matching lens for this M6 Jaguar edition with a Collapsible ELMAR-M
1:2.8/50mm in chrome finish. One way or another, like the 1994's LEICA M6J
releases, it had instilled a sense of "good old days" look and feel
to the combination.
The top panel of the LEICA M6 Jaguar Edition is very distinguishable via another
feature of an engraving of a corporate leaping Jaguar emblem with XK 1048~1998 at
the empty slot, left section at the top plate of the camera. Like most of the other
special M6 edition bodies, the M6 Jaguar special edition Serial Number which begins
with XK xx/50 was engraved at the other end of the accessory shoe with Leica standard
production S/N. Each of this release, Leica has the colour brochure which acts like
part of the authentication and at the bottom right corner, the serial number for
each unit was printed as well.
There is another engraving at the front lens data ring
where "50 years JAGUAR XK with S/N xx/50" is engraved. A dedicated lens
hood is supplied.
Credit: Image courtesy of J-camera Korea®. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect
the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Prior to this Leica M6, Jaguar actually had started quite early with a line of designer
eyeglass frames and has extended to others such as apparels and even fragrances and
footwear etc. distributing via licensing through specialist boutiques in a few countries.
Jaguar still maintains the XK- series in their lineup, the latest being XK | XK60 | XK-R | XK-RS. Any
comments ? Yes. Not with this Leica M6 (full marks !) but I would think Formula-1
circuit misses a leaping Jaguar...
As mentioned, the entire edition of he LEICA M6 Jaguar
XK 1948~1998 was only limiting to 50 units; obviously this special issue was not
so profit orientated (but the compact Z2X* probably yes). But it was not known whether Jaguar was using
such an edition to create another impact to attract attention of observers at the
British luxury goods market. As we all know, a few auto makers such as the German
British luxury automaker Aston Martin
etc. had created new business extension while Jaguar may see potential in an old
trade name and a icon in Jaguar XK to explore such potential and/or creating a new
wave of business expansion.
Leica partnership was not just confined to this 50 units edition of M6 Jaguar XK50
1948~1998 Edition; for those who had not the budget or no interest in a rangefinder
classic type of camera, the Companies had an alternative of a compact film camera,
Leica/Jaguar Z2X edition
Jpeg view), issued in a limited 1,000 units in the same year of release.
Main Index Page
- Leica M6-series models / Main Index Page - Leica-M Rangefinder
Nomenclature / Main Reference Map for Leica M6 Standard Model(s) applicable to this M6 Limited Edition
Instruction Manuals:- Leica M6 Classic in PDF (3.8mb) applicable to this M6 XK50 Jaguar Edition by Niels
H. S. Nielsen
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