1934 S.S. Cars Ltd. SS 1
Lot 28 | Monterey Jet Center Auction | Estimate $200,000 - $250,000
Chassis No. 247877
Engine No. 248520
"The S.S., embodying all those qualities which create the car of distinction holds irresistible appeal to the motorist of 1934, to whom the possession of a car means much more than merely the ownership of a vehicle as a means of conveyance."
- S.S. Cars Limited 1934 Full Range Catalog
Produced over a five-year period (1932-1936) the SS 1 was the second S.S. Cars Ltd. project to emerge from William Lyons' fertile mind. Lyons, often referred to as Mr. Jaguar, had been creating an array of motorcycle sidecar designs since his 21st birthday as the co-founder of the Blackpool based Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922 with William Walmsley. During his time with Swallow, Lyons cut his teeth designing sleek additions to motorcycles and, later in 1927, as the Swallow Coachbuilding Company, created bespoke bodies for their Austin Seven Swallow.
Increased demand for these fashionable designs led to the need for additional space and, following a move to Coventry in 1928, Lyons ramped up production. The year 1929 proved important for the Swallow Coachbuilding Company. Three new Austin Swallow designs would emerge in that year giving Lyons and his team the confidence to take a stand at the London Motor Show. Finally, that same year, Lyons realized a long-held ambition to produce a car from the ground up utilizing engines and chassis from the Standard Motor Company, thus the SS (Standard Swallow) was born.
The first SS from 1929 was a sales success, so much so, that only two years later the follow up, Lyons' new SS 1 reasonably priced at £310, debuted with substantial impact at the 1931 Olympia Motor Show in London. The SS 1, featuring a 2.5-liter six-cylinder side valve engine, was bodied as a four-seater fixed head coupe with significant street presence. The SS 1 had such a positive impact on the Swallow Coachbuilding Company that, in 1933, S.S. Cars Limited was established. At the same time, a new SS 1 variant emerged; the Open Four-Seater Sports Tourer. The Tourer design provided the wind-in-the-hair experience that Lyons and Walmsley cherished from their earliest days creating bespoke motorcycle and sidecar designs.
According to Jaguar Heritage Trust, SS 1 Tourer No. 247877 was produced 4th of May 1934 and first sold from Henley's London, UK. It quickly made its way halfway around the world to Australia in 1935. While spending almost the entirety of its life in Australia it underwent a multi-year restoration and concours prep at a cost of over $355,000AUD (Approx. $250,000USD). During this time it benefited from engine improvements including a new high compression head topped off by new teflon slide coated SU sand-cast carburetors with Teflon-coated slides and larger jets to match the increased flow. As such, this Tourer has lived up to its name, participating in numerous Australian tours, rallyes, and concour events. We understand from the owner that it has also been particularly successful on the lawn with numerous concours wins and awards while in Australia. Since arriving in the USA in 2018, the current owner has used the car in a similar manner at concours events racking up plaudits from Amelia Island, Hilton Head, Jaguar Clubs of North America, Classic Car Club of America, St. Michaels Concours d'Elegance, and Gasparilla Concours d'Elegance.
An outstanding SS 1 with space for a family of four, SS 1 No. 247877, judged to be among the finest SS 1 extant, is qualified for an impressive group of events. Complete with toolkit, side curtains, tonneau cover and Jaguar Heritage Trust Certificate this proto-Jaguar undoubtedly embodies the spirit of space, grace, and pace that William Lyons' Jaguar cars are famous for.