• Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • Just after a roundabout in Castle Bromwich, Warwickshire with a sculpture full of RAF Spitfires, you'll catch sight of The Leaper. This single plant is where all Jaguars are made.

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • We have a feeling it didn't look like this when the plant was built in 1938 to produce Spitfires and Lancaster bombers. 12,000 Spitfires and 350 Lancasters were produced before the end of the war, after which the plant stamped panels for Triumphs, Morris', Austins, Nash Metropolitans and even the bodyshells for the original Mini.

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • The first stop in C Block, the body fabrication building, is to see this cutaway of a polished aluminum XJ. C Block is 232,737 square feet and houses 110 robots working on 17,400 cars per year in four variants (standard, LWB, RHD, LHD).

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • A look at the self-piercing rivets (on their blue feeder ribbon, inset). There are 3,117 such rivets on the standard XJ, 3,153 on the LWB. Each rivet sandwiches between two to four layers of 5,000-, 6,000-, or 7,000-series aluminum, and the end of the rivet never pierces the bottom layer. In total, there are 590 fasteners in 40 different flavors on an XJ, as well as 154.3 meters of three different kinds of adhesive.

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • Obviously, English factory workers aren't all that different from our own...

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • Because the XJ is aluminum, one worker can carry the outer bodyshell by himself, easily. The LWB body-in-white weighs 329 kilograms (725 pounds), the SWB shedding five kilos from that.

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • Each XJ body-in-white carries a barcode on the front chassis crossmember. Castle Bromwisch is a just-in-time facility, so everything has to be in its proper place at its proper time or everything goes pear shaped.

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • The last stop is to see old-timey sheetmetal workers who fix any of the errors noted in the inspection bed. The last stop of every building is called Customer Acceptance, where workers inspect every XJ as if the next facility were their customers, to make sure they only pass on the kinds of cars they would want buyers to be proud of. The "customers" for this building will be the paint shop.

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • Next to the door at F Block was this, a vintage, concrete torture track.

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • On the left, adhesive is applied to the underside of the roof, and on the right, it is laid on the body.

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • Martha Stewart provides Jaguar's exhaust-tip cosies.

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • There are three wheels from which to choose, and as an example of just-in-time building, the next four wheels in line are meant to be an exact match for the sedan waiting at the station. Let's roll.

  • Scenes from Jaguar XJ production at Castle Bromwich
  • And then it's time for a cuppa, innit?

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