Jaguar has become one of the most revered names in international
motor manufacturing, not only because of the company's spectacularly
successful sports cars but also because of the unparalleled performance,
styling and incredible value for money presented by their saloon cars.
Construction commenced on the new cars in late 1931 and it was
introduced to the public at the London Olympia Motor Show that year as
the SS1 Close-Coupled Coupe and could justifiably be called William
Lyons first complete car of his own design. The car caused a sensation
for its looks and the price was nothing short of incredible. For 300
pounds sterling the car came with the Standard Avon 2054cc engine or for
another 10 pounds with the optional larger 2.5 liter 20 hp unit. The
introduction of the cars coincided with a change of fashion, for within
a year the helmet type front wings and rather cramped claustrophobic
interiors were getting out of date. After an interim design in 1933,
Lyons came up with genuinely beautiful 1934 models with a much improved
radiator and a saloon that offered passengers a full view of the passing
The SS1 Coupes and Tourers were joined by the smaller sized and less
powerful SS II in late 1932 and as a measure of both the models success
in the market place, sold almost identical numbers at 502 and 547 units
The 1933 revisions brought a 4 seater coupe and tourer to the SS1 which
sold steadily at 1249 units and the SSII received a 4 speed gearbox.
More radical changes were seen in 1934 and introduced swept wings, more
creature comfort and significant sporting aspects with powerful enlarged
engines to the SS1 models. Now included in the lineup were Coupes,
Saloons, Airline Saloons and open Tourer body styles. The SS II remained
in production without the addition of the Airline Saloon.
It was a sensational looking car but was only 23 were built before Lyons
once again revised his company structure and introduced the new SS
Jaguar to the world in 1936. The SS90 was the design study for the
incredible SS Jaguar 100, one of the many new cars that carried Jaguar
to the highest pinnacle of motor car manufacture in the years to follow.
This car is a work of authentic SS1 and Standard parts that were
assembled in the late 1960s by a professional specialist in the UK. The
car has the body form and swept wings in the SS90 style with an early
SS1 radiator, Lucas P 100 lamps, a custom hood design without the
central hinge, period SS instruments and is executed on what is believed
to be an Airline Coupe long chassis of 102 inches. The engine is that of
a Standard 20 with twin Solex carburetors and the gearbox the correct 4
-speed manual version.
The car has been in America for nearly 30 years and in 1988 was sent to
Basset Jaguar, well-known Jaguar specialists, for a full and
comprehensive body-off restoration which took 3 years to complete at a
cost of $92,000. Since then the car has been featured and shown at many
events and has garnered its fair share of honors along the way.
SS90 and SS Jaguar 100 sports cars are very sought after by the
collector market and command prices that relate to their rarity and
prestige. There are many re-bodied cars on various chassis and engines
that survived the rigors of World War II and the lovely lines of the
SS90 attracted their fair share of custom specials to varying degrees of
This lovely custom special appears to have been constructed
professionally using propriety period parts and will therefore make an
interesting and very useable fun addition for any discerning collector.