The 1938 Earls Court Show Car 1938 SS100 Jaguar 3½-Litre Roadster Registration no. 452 XUS Chassis no. 39087 Engine no. M797E
Body no. 5000
Factory publicity described the sensational new SS100 as primarily intended for competition work and sufficiently tractable to use as a fast tourer without modification. The Heynes-designed overhead valve engine was capable of giving the car a genuine 100mph performance and the styling of the new sports two-seater reflected William Lyons influence at its very best. William Heynes appointment as Chief Engineer at Coventry was a master stroke and Lyons went on to recruit gas-flow consultant Harry Weslake to further develop the sporting engines fitted to the SS range.
The SS100 was launched to much acclaim in 1936 and marked the companys first use of the Jaguar name. The SS100 was shorter than its SS90 predecessor, employing a 102inch wheelbase chassis, and early models were equipped with the six-cylinder, 2,663cc Standard engine. Weslakes technical genius enabled this unit to develop 104bhp, breathing through twin SU carburettors. For the 1938 season the 3,486cc engine was offered as an option for a further £50 excellent value for the extra grunt offered by this powerful unit.
The SS100 quickly made its mark in competition, Tommy Wisdom, crewed by his wife, taking the victors laurels in the International Alpine Trial in 1936, bringing the fledgling SS marque to the attention of the continental public. This was just the start of an illustrious competition career for the SS100, the likes of Jaguar dealers Sammy Newsome and Ian Appleyard continuing its competition successes.
SS100s achieved class wins in the testing RAC Rallies in 1937 and 1938 and won the Alpine again outright in 1948. Production was curtailed in 1939 upon the outbreak of war, by which time 190 or so of the 2½-litre cars had been manufactured and 118 of the later more powerful and of course more desirable in this ultimate specification - 3½-litre cars had left the production line.
A Statement of Build from Jaguar Cars Ltd records that 39087 was completed on 11th August 1938 and that it was despatched on 31st October 1938 to Jaguar dealers Henlys of London. It further records that this was the 1938 Earls Court Show car and would therefore have been proudly exhibited on Stand 126.
The subsequent detailed history of the car is not recorded, however at some stage it found its way to the USA where it was owned for many years by a lady in California. Following her death it was sold by her executors to Mark Smith of the Pennsylvania Motor Sport Company in Skippack, PA, and had just one subsequent owner before acquisition by the previous owner at the Brooks 1997 Monaco sale.
During the previous ownership the car has been used infrequently but regularly MoT tested. It is smartly presented in red livery with silver painted wheels. The impressive drivers cockpit is upholstered in black leather and the car equipped with a black hood. Driving equipment includes Lucas headlamps with fitted stone guards, twin Lucas horns, fold-flat and aero screens, a Raydyot rear-view mirror and twin Owleye rear lamps. The car carries a Swiss nationality plate and a plaque attached to the coachwork indicates supply at some stage by Agence Automobiles, Albert Schmidt SA, Geneve et Bale. The car sits on 18inch Dunlop Racing tyres and the radiator sports the leaping Jaguar mascot.
Since in the current vendors ownership a top end engine rebuild has been carried out, together with general improvements of the braking system. We are advised a later steering box is fitted and the wiring would benefit from minor attention in places.
This iconic pre-war sports car is offered with its tonneau cover and side screens, a copy of California Certificate of Title from 1993 recording the ownership of J R & W McDougal, expired MoT certificates, the most recent to November 2008. In recent years the owner acquired the registration number 100 SS and placed it on the car. This number has been removed from the SS 100 and will be offered as the next lot. The vehicle is now UK registered 452 XUS.