1938 SS Jaguar

1938 SS Jaguar Drop Head Coupe

‘SS’ originally stood for the Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding Company, which had been founded in Blackpool, England by William Walmsley. The company branched out into motor manufacturing in 1926, its first major success being an attractive sports saloon on the Austin Seven chassis, the design being the work of Walmsley’s partner, William Lyons.

By the time the SS90 sports car arrived in 1935, William Heynes had joined as Chief Engineer. Based on a shortened SS1 chassis, re-engineered by Heynes, the SS90 again demonstrated Lyons’ skill as a stylist. Its long bonnet, smoothly flowing wings, cut-away doors and truncated tail made it every inch the epitome of the 1930s sports car.

In 1936 the new ohv engine was released and was considered to justify the adoption of a new name for the series, SS Cars boss William Lyons later recalling: “I immediately pounced on Jaguar as it had an exciting sound to me”. (Jaguar was adopted as the marque name in 1943)

Spurred on by growing demand, in October 1937 the firm turned its back on Swallow Sidecars’ coachbuilding tradition, announcing a range of steel-bodied 1½, 2½ and 3½-litre models on new chassis frames. A luxurious drophead coupé was an addition to the line-up, featuring an ingenious three-position convertible top affording the occupants a choice of open, closed or ‘de ville’ style motoring. The horsehair-lined hood was substantial, giving the cabin an air of saloon-like cosiness when erected. A very small number dropheads had been made when the coming of war halted production, and today survivors are both rare and highly sought after.

This car was distributed new by Lagerwijs in The Hague, Holland. Date of manufacture is recorded as the 27th June 1938. Chassis number 56031, body number 1682. The car has been the recipient of a nut and bolt restoration with all work completed being finished to a very high standard.  Sadly with changing circumstances this vehicle is being sold without the restoration being completed. It is clear that significant time and money have been lavished on this vehicle to date with much of the major work having been completed. Rarely does an opportunity like this come along to complete the finishing touches to such a major restoration of such a special vehicle. A production record certificate issued from the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust accompanies the vehicle.


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  • Model Year: 1938
  • Trans: Manual
  • Fuel Type: Petrol