The British love their cats, almost to a fault. They respect a Rolls Royce from a distance, rather like a Maharajah's elephant. Some fantasise about safari on board their wildebeest-cum-Range Rover. Yet nothing in the jungle excites their passions quite like the pace and grace of the Jaguar.
First, it was pace that took the eye, as round Le Mans it raced. Then, its grace won the hearts, as round our very own roads it purred. Never had a legend in motion been made so tangible, accessible. There might even have been an owner in your own street.
The Jaguar's original masters foresaw the risks of excess demand and ubiquity, for what had been a rare animal, and met them with an English wit. Over the picture of a child in its cradle, the would-be owner was advised: "Put his name down for Eton and an XJ6". What they could not ward off were corporate predators scenting easy meat.
Ownership passed to the zookeepers of the British motor industry and, as its home became just another factory, the Jaguar grew weak and started breaking down. It needed tender loving care, but this was more like battery farming.
The jungle had grown bigger and other beasts noised their presence. A sturdy Germanic taxi smartened itself up and overtook the weakened Jaguar. A pushy rival from the Bavarian forests flashed its lights and took applause for technical merit.
Yet all was not lost for this once loved British beast. The Jaguar was handed over to a new and enlightened team of carers. Handlers from long ago took pride once more in their charge. The patient responded. Yet it took admirers from afar, from America, to remind us all of the Jaguar's special gifts. Against the serried ranks of skyscrapers, its feline shape made the jungle pretenders look like beasts of burden.
Eventually, it took an American owner to restore this pride of Britain to full fitness. In celebration of its glorious survival, the new owner showed off the most beautiful sporting animal seen since the Jaguar's heyday. With a statement that could only be whispered in those darker days gone by: "The cat is back."
The brandstory founder who helped on the rescue of Jaguar is almost as proud to have first proposed this famous headline, some years before Ford and the XK8 made it come true. Over a decade later, he now wonders... who is there to revive the cat once again?