1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064
Lot 219N
1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster
Sold for £337,500 (US$ 453,442) inc. premium

Lot Details
1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064 1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster  Chassis no. 39064
1938 Jaguar SS100 3½-Litre Roadster
Registration no. not UK registered
Chassis no. 39064
*One of only 116 3½-Litre cars
*Delivered new to the Netherlands
*Present ownership since 1959
*Registered in the Netherlands

Footnotes

  • Launched for 1936, the S.S. 100 was the first real high-performance model produced by S.S. Cars Limited and used a new Weslake-developed overhead-valve engine in a shortened S.S.I chassis. The introduction of the OHV unit was considered to justify the adoption of a new name for the series, S.S. Cars boss William Lyons later recalling 'I immediately pounced on Jaguar as it had an exciting sound to me.' ('Jaguar' would be adopted as the marque name in 1943, 'S.S.' having by then acquired a somewhat tarnished reputation).

    'S.S.' originally stood for the Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding Company, which had been founded in Blackpool, England by William Walmsley. 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 being the work of Walmsley's partner, one William Lyons. 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 S.S.I, the chassis of which was supplied exclusively to Swallow by Standard, who also provided the six-cylinder sidevalve engine and four-speed gearbox. Although unspectacular in performance, the S.S.I 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.

    By the time the S.S. 90 sports car arrived in 1935, William Heynes had joined as Chief Engineer. Based on a shortened S.S.I chassis, re-engineered by Heynes, the S.S. 90 again demonstrated Lyons' consummate skill as a stylist, its long bonnet, smoothly flowing wings, cut-away doors and truncated tail making it every inch the epitome of the 1930s sports car. Although good for 90mph, the S.S. 90 was handicapped by the limitations of its sidevalve engine, a deficiency that would soon be rectified by another of Lyons' new recruits, gas-flow consultant Harry Weslake. Launched in 1936 alongside the 2½-Litre saloon, the S.S. 100 Jaguar sports car marked the company's first use of the 'Jaguar' name. Beautifully styled in the manner of its S.S. 90 predecessor, the newcomer employed a shorter, 102"-wheelbase chassis and a revised version of the 2,663cc Standard six which, equipped with Weslake's overhead-valve cylinder head and breathing through twin SU carburettors, now produced 104bhp.

    Although a fine touring car, the S.S. 100 was marketed as primarily for competition work. Its first major success came early, if somewhat unexpectedly, when Tommy Wisdom, crewed by his wife, won the arduous International Alpine Trial in 1936, beating Bugatti and bringing the fledgling marque to the attention of the Continental public. This would be the first of many successful rallying forays, including class wins in the RAC events of 1937 and 1938, and the Alpine (outright) again in 1948. Around 198 2½-Litre and 116 of the later 3½-Litre cars had been made by the time S.S. 100 production was prematurely ended by the outbreak of war.

    Offered for restoration, this S.S. 100 is one of three originally imported into the Netherlands. Ever since his father accepted a 1934 S.S.I fixed-head coupé in part-exchange for an unpaid bill in 1948, the late owner has collected S.S. cars and early post-war Jaguars. He owned a variety of both and was involved in restoring them in the 1960s and '70s. The S.S. 100 we offer was purchased in the late 1950s and is the only S.S. car to have stayed with the late owner for the rest of his life. He passed away last spring, aged 83.

    Since its acquisition, this S.S. 100 has been used in the way intended by William Lyons: not as a show car but as one to be driven fast, in sporting events or elsewhere. Up to last year it regularly participated in various rallies: Tulip Rally, Scheveningen-Luxemburg-Scheveningen Rally and others for historic cars, as well as track days and charity events.

    When this car was purchased in the late 1950s it had no great value other than being a rare old sports car. Hence it was never intended as an investment but rather as a car to be driven and enjoyed. Over the years various parts have been replaced due to normal wear and tear, but generally this S.S. 100 is in un-restored condition apart from a re-spray in British Racing Green carried out circa 1967. Maintenance has almost exclusively been carried out by the owner; documentation is therefore sparse.

    The engine block was exchanged circa 1960 for one taken from a 3½-litre Jaguar Mark V. However, the cylinder head is still the original high-performance S.S. unit, cast in bronze. The gearbox is likewise original. Intended for sporting use, this S.S. 100 is equipped with two spare wheels. Out of the six wheel rims, four are original pre-war S.S. and two are post-war Jaguar.

    The bodywork is in need of restoration. There are dents in the mudguards, while the paintwork is chipped at the front and cracked in various other places. In order to reinforce the timber body frame, a steel arch has been welded underneath the dashboard. The original fuel tank has been exchanged for a stainless steel item that lacks the distinctive ribs of an original.
    The brightwork too is in need of attention. Various parts were re-chromed in the 1960s and are now in need of replacement or another re-chroming. In the case of the headlights, the profiled Jaguar crests on top of them are worn, while the lens of the left-hand side fog light is cracked. Unusually, the often missing chromed plug for the starting handle hole is still with the car.

    The interior was re-upholstered in the 1970s and is in generally good condition apart from a rip in the driver's seat. A new hood was fitted at that time. The side windows are missing; however, the original pocket behind the seats for storing them when the top is down is still there. Dashboard instruments and dials are original and functioning. As the car was intended for the Dutch market, the speedometer and odometer are calibrated in kilometres. The hands of the dashboard clock are missing, as is the clock mechanism.

    The S.S. 100 was one of the fastest and best-handling sports cars of its day, as its competition record both before and after the war bears witness to. Representing a rare opportunity to acquire an example of the model that can be said to have started the Jaguar legend, '39064' is eligible for a wide variety of the most prestigious historic motor sports events. All it requires is sympathetic restoration.
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