Jaguar MKIV 3,5 litre Three Position Drophead Coupe RH

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MKIV 3,5 litre Three Position Drophead Coupe RH





The name 'Jaguar' was first used by SS Cars Ltd in 1936 to denote its new high-performance sports model, the SS100; company founder William Lyons later recalled: 'I immediately pounced on Jaguar as it had an exciting sound to me.'

'SS' originally stood for the Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding Company, which had been founded in Blackpoll, 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 SS1, the chassis of which was supplied exclusively to Swallow by Standard, who also provided the six-cylinder side valve engine and four-speed gearbox. Although unspectacular in performance, the SS1 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. ('Jaguar' would be adopted as the marquee name in March 1945, 'SS' having by then acquired a somewhat tarnished reputation).

When peace came some six months later, the newly renamed Jaguar Cars, like the majority of Britain's motor manufacturers, commenced post-war production with a range of pre-war designs, albeit with some minor improvements. Essentially stopgap models pending the arrival of an entirely new generation of Jaguars, these comprised the compact 1½-Litre and the 2½/3½-Litre model, retrospectively known as the 'Mark IV', which still enjoyed an enviable reputation for strong performance, good road manners and well-appointed interiors.

The Jaguar Mark IV is an automobile built by Jaguar Cars from 1945 to 1949. It was a relaunch of the SS Jaguar 1½ litre, 2½ litre and 3½ litre models produced by SS Cars from 1935 to 1940.

Before the Second World War the name Jaguar was the model name given to the complete range of cars built by SS Cars Ltd. The saloons were titled SS Jaguar 1½ litre, 2½ litre or 3½ litre. The two-seater sports car was titled the SS Jaguar 100 2½ litre or 3½ litre.

After the war the company name was changed to Jaguar Cars Ltd. Although the post-war saloons were officially the Jaguar 1½ litre, 2½ litre etc., the term "Mark IV" was sometimes applied retrospectively by the trade to differentiate them from the officially named Mark V.

All the cars were built on a separate chassis frame with suspension by semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear. Built on a generous 120" (3,048mm) wheelbase, the Mark IV retained a separate chassis featuring beam front and live rear axle suspension on semi-elliptic springs, lever-arm dampers, Burman worm-and-nut steering and Girling mechanical brakes. The stylish all-steel coachwork was available in saloon or drophead coupé forms and featured the kind of luxurious and well-appointed interior that would become a Jaguar hallmark. Used by SS Cars since 1934, the engine was Standard's rugged seven-bearing six which in Jaguar specification was fitted with a Weslake overhead-valve cylinder head and coupled to a four-speed manual gearbox; in 3½-litre form capable of propelling the sturdy Mark IV to over 95mph.

Top the Mark IV range was the decidedly voluptuous 3½-Litre Drophead Coupé, a full five seater that boasted an ingenious three-position hood giving occupants the choice of open, closed or coupé de ville motoring. Utilizing the same all-steel body construction as its late 1930s SS Jaguar forebear, the newcomer appeared even more svelte thanks to a revised hypoid bevel rear axle that allowed the floor to be lowered by two inches.

Told by the post-war Attlee government to 'export or die', the British motor industry had responded valiantly, none more so than Jaguar, soon to become the UK's biggest US-dollar earner thanks in no small measure to the success of its XK120 sports car. Jaguar's Mark IV drophead coupé was built for the 1948 season only and almost exclusively for export, the majority being allocated to the USA. Production spanned a seven-month period (February to September 1948) during which only 184 Mark IV 3½-Litre Drophead Coupés were built in right-hand drive configuration (chassis numbers 617001-617184). In his definitive book on the marque - 'SS & Jaguar Cars', written in association with Jaguar Heritage using their detailed archives - All Crouch states that there are only 46 right-hand drive 3.5-Litre drophead coupés left in the world, making this exclusive variant among the rarest of all Jaguar's post-WW2 production cars.

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