1935 Jaguar SSI
Year of manufacture1935
1935 Jaguar SS1 Tourer
Chassis no. 248799
"Yet there was no doubt about the thrust of the style; it was a long bonnet and a low roofline, a small well-furnished interior, and a distinctive recognisable "face". It had character, it had style, it set fashion more than it followed it, and captured with astonishing precision the idiom of the sports racer, the rally car, the vogue-ish look for which Lyons had a supreme aptitude." - Eric Dymock, The Jaguar File.
Forerunner of the marque 'Jaguar' from SS Cars Ltd of Coventry, the SS1 predated yet epitomised the later advertising slogan, 'Grace, Space, Pace.' 'SS' originally stood for the Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding Company, which had been founded in Blackpool, England by William Walmsley in 1922. The company branched out into motor manufacture in 1926, its first major success being an attractive sports saloon on the Austin Seven chassis. The design was the work of Walmsley's business partner, William Lyons, whose future Jaguar creations would confirm his reputation as one of the British motor industry's most gifted stylists. Relocation to Coventry followed and the Swallow range expanded to include models on Morris Cowley, Wolseley Hornet and Standard Sixteen chassis.
Marque status arrived in October 1931 with the launch of the SS1, a close-coupled coupé. Based on that of the Standard Ensign 16hp, the SS1's low, under-slung chassis was designed by Lyons and supplied exclusively to Swallow by John Black's Standard Motor Company, which also provided the 2.1/2.6-litre six-cylinder sidevalve engines and four-speed gearbox. Lyons' design for the body was startling: the SS1's excessively long bonnet, tiny passenger compartment and helmet-type front wings suggesting that it represented the ultimate in high performance. In so doing, the SS1 went some way towards establishing the pattern for future Jaguars, combining sporting good looks with a better-than-average specification and all at a bargain price. Indeed, so successful was Lyons' new venture that production of Swallow-bodied cars ceased altogether in 1933 and SS Cars Limited was formed, initially as a subsidiary of the Swallow sidecar-building business.
The SS1 body style was revised for 1933 and the engines up-rated with alloy cylinder heads and improved manifolding, advances that raised the top speed to 75mph (120km/h). For 1934 the SS1 gained a new wide-track chassis and slightly enlarged Standard engines of 2,143cc and 2,663cc, while the body - now available in four different configurations - underwent yet another restyle. In this, its final form, the SS1 remained in production until 1936, by which time 2,503 examples of this ultimate version had been made.
This restored example of the concluding SS1 was in the preceding owner's possession in the USA for some 30 years before being purchased by the current vendor in 2012. At that time the car was described as benefiting from a new hood, carpets, hood bag and tonneau cover, and was described as in generally good condition with excellent paint and brightwork. Since its acquisition by the current vendor in 2012, the SS has required no major work, while bills on file testify to regular maintenance. It should be noted that the car's original engine has been replaced and that the capacity of the unit currently installed is not known. Finished in green with magnolia interior, this most stylish SS1 tourer comes with a Jaguar Heritage Certificate and a French Carte Grise.