1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018

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Lot 377
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster
Registration no. DUV 71 Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018

Sold for £ 199,500 (US$ 276,697) inc. premium
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster
Registration no. DUV 71
Chassis no. 18054
Engine no. 252018

Footnotes

  • Founded in Blackpool by William Walmsley, the Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding 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 SS 1. Based on that of the 16hp Ensign, the SS 1’s chassis was supplied exclusively to Swallow by Standard, who also provided the six-cylinder sidevalve engine and four-speed gearbox. Although unspectacular in performance, the SS 1 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 company’s first real high-performance model did not arrive until 1935, by which time William Heynes had joined as Chief Engineer. Based on a shortened SS 1 chassis, re-engineered by Heynes, the SS 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 sportscar. Although good for 90mph, the SS 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 SS 100 Jaguar sportscar marked the company’s first use of the ‘Jaguar’ name. Beautifully styled in the manner of its SS90 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, noe produced 104bhp.
    Although a fine touring car, the SS 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 190 2½-Litre and 118 of the later 3½-Litre cars had been made by the time SS 100 production ceased at the outbreak of war.
    A superb and fully restored 2½-Litre example, chassis number ‘18054’ is listed in the SS 100 Registry and known to the Classic Jaguar Association. Its history file is truly extensive and includes period pictures, correspondence between various owners, renovation photographs, original buff logbook, numerous bills, expired MoTs, etc.
    The original owner was Colonel Gray-Cheape in the UK. The car acquired the very special bronze-coated cylinder head early in its life. Factory records indicate that only 11 cars had these special heads and were primarily for competition use. ‘DUV 71’ contested many rallies in 1938/9 driven by Mr John Barlass before being stored during the war years. Purchased by a Mr R Swarbrick in 1946, it was taken on numerous continental holidays during his ownership, including a trip to Le Mans where it was timed at 98mph on the Mulsanne straight. The history file contains some splendid photographs of these various trips including pictures taken on Alpine passes in Switzerland. ‘DUV 71’ was next sold in 1951 to Performance Cars (a dealer) and subsequently appeared in 1955 in Motorsport magazine (a copy of the advertisement is enclosed with the history file). The car then passed to a Mr A Lawrence in Portsmouth. He sold the car in 1960 to a Mr M Beard in Buckinghamshire, who was to be the last UK-based owner for many years.
    In 1961 the car passed to Capt. Hunter Moore Alverston, stationed at the US air base in Denham, who exported it from Dover to Ostend (the original ferry invoice is with the history). The Jaguar was driven to Marseilles and then two years later taken to Turkey, where it was temporarily impounded by the Turkish Government, and then back to the USA via San Francisco in June 1968.
    The car spent the next 17 years in the USA in Captain Alverston’s ownership (there are many bills dating from this period) and in 1988 was bought from US dealer Terry Larson by Bob Heppel, who brought it back to the UK. Its new owner then commissioned a meticulous restoration (Jack Buckley/Fullbridge Restoration Company) changing the colour back to the original metallic grey. Accompanying photographs clearly show every detail both before and after restoration. The quality of the work is quite superb and the car has recently been serviced by Davenports. Representing a rare opportunity to acquire a fine example of the model that can be said to have started the Jaguar legend, ‘DUV 71’ possesses one of the most comprehensive history files imaginable as well as undisputed provenance.
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
1937 SS 100 Jaguar Roadster  Chassis no. 18054 Engine no. 252018
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