1938 SS 100 Jaguar 3½-Litre Roadster

Debuting in 1936, the SS 100 stood as SS Cars Limited’s inaugural high-performance model, featuring a cutting-edge Weslake overhead-valve engine in a shortened S.S.I chassis. The adoption of the overhead-valve unit prompted a rebranding to the ‘Jaguar’ series in 1943, as the original ‘SS’ name had acquired a less favorable reputation.

Originating from the Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding Company, initially founded by William Walmsley in Blackpool, ‘SS’ transitioned from sidecar production to motor manufacturing in 1926. The marque attained recognition in 1931 with the launch of the SSI, built on a Standard-supplied chassis with a six-cylinder sidevalve engine.

The subsequent SS 90, engineered by Chief Engineer William Heynes in 1935, showcased Lyons’ stylistic expertise, embodying the quintessence of a 1930s sports car. Although limited by its sidevalve engine, the SS 90’s shortcomings were addressed in 1936 with the launch of the SS 100 Jaguar sports car. Featuring a refined 2,663cc Standard six engine with an overhead-valve cylinder head and twin SU carburettors, the SS 100 excelled in both touring and competition.

Notably, it secured early triumphs in the International Alpine Trial of 1936, sparking a series of successful rallying endeavors. Production ceased abruptly with the outbreak of war, yielding around 190 2½-Litre and 112 3½-Litre cars, alongside a handful of chassis-only units.

Source: Bonhams Cars