The Jaguar and the Learjet
This vintage 1979 Jaguar XJ-S print has got to be in the top 10 quintessentially coolest ads ever!
The Learjet was the ultimate status symbol and the XJ-S was a serious contender to the much loved Mercedes Benz SL sports range. Jaguar must have blushed when Road & Track magazine wrote "it will run the pants off a (Mercedes) 450SLC"
Or maybe it's Carly Simon's character from her song You're So Vain, the identity of whom remained a mystery for decades until she revealed it was Warren Beatty. Prior to her 2015 revelation Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Cat Stevens, Kris Kristofferson and record mogul David Geffen had all been among the list of possible candidates.
The Learjet image fits perfectly into Carly Simon's lyrics:
Well I hear you went to Saratoga
And your horse naturally won,
Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun ♫ ♬
Game changer: The Learjet
“They said I’d never build it, that if I built it, it wouldn’t fly; that if it flew, I couldn’t sell it. Well, I did, and it did, and I could.” - Bill Lear
The Learjet appealed to those who measured luxury in miles per hour and held the previous speed record for the journey from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. at 4 hours 12 minutes, which was later succeeded by the Lockheed SR-71 at a mind boggling 64 minutes!
When Frank Sinatra purchased a Learjet 23 and used it to fly back and forth from Vegas it helped to establish the aircraft and brand as the ultimate accoutrement for the millionaire playboy.
The History of the Learjet
With its first flight on October 7th, 1963, the Learjet has for many become a generic term to cover any and all business jets, largely due to the public relations skill of Bill Lear, and James Greenwood, who successfully headed the company's public relations department for many years.
In 1964 a civilian private jet was still pretty much unheard of. It had only been about five years since major U.S. airlines put the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 into normal service so the concept of a personal or business jet was quite radical, but Lear pulled it off. He staked his claim as being the first to produce a pure business jet on the fact that the other three competitors, the Lockheed JetStar, the North American Sabreliner and Hawker Siddeley 125 that were being marketed to the public at the time were all initially designed for the military.
Learjet's Aircraft Pedigree
Chartering a Learjet
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