Jaguar SS100 2.5 Drophead Coupe

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SS100 2.5 Drophead Coupe





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.

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