S-S- CARS: FIRST JAGUAR SALOON
Jaguar Magazine|Issue 206
WHEN PERTH'S GRANT PIERCE BOUGHT A 1937 1.5 LITRE S.S. JAGUAR IN THE UK HE DIDN'T FULLY APPRECIATE HOW SPECIAL IT WAS. HE SAYS HE DIDN'T WANT TO FALL IN LOVE WITH IT - BUT IS NOW SMITTEN WITH PERHAPS THE FINEST ORIGINAL EXAMPLE IN THE WORLD.

GRANT PIERCE IN PERTH IS NOT an old car guy, generally speaking. But in 2017 he found and bought a 1937 S.S. Jaguar 1.5 Litre in the UK. He told us he didn't want to fall in love with it but, of course, has done just that!

It is no wonder either. The car is in remarkable unrestored condition, and very likely the best original car of the model. Grant has all of the 84-year history to help with its fascinating story.

Added to that, the car was the first saloon built by William Lyons to be titled a 'Jaguar'. It was built by his S.S. Cars business at Foleshill in Coventry and was the new S.S. 'Jaguar'. From little things ...

He styled the car too in his usual and quite astounding (for the CEO of a manufacturer) practice. It could be ordered with the smaller four-cylinder 1.5 litre side-valve engine, or the larger six cylinder 2.5 litre overhead valve powerplant. There would be a 3.5 litre too from 1938.

Initially these four door Jaguars were built using the traditional methods of alloy and steel panels laid across an ash wood framework. By 1938 that had moved over to all steel body production. The company also produced a range of two-door Drop Head Coupé models based on the same cars.

The 1935-'37 models had a single passenger-side mounted spare tyre. The 1938-'40 range had the tyre under the boot in a compartment.

The front sidelights on early cars are a separate chrome unit, but on later models were welded, as part of a pod, onto the mudguard and blended with lead filling.

Horns are obvious, mounted on the bumper or under the headlights. The larger models are fitted with fog lights.

The door handles are fitted below the chrome side trim on early cars. Later ones are in line with the trim.

Wheels and tyres have an 18 rim diameter with wire wheels and a chromed knock-off hub bearing the S.S. logo. Optional ACE discs were attractive and covered the spokes to give the appearance of disc wheels.

The 1.5 was S.S. Cars' bread and butter model. It was very well received by the British press in late 1935, and Lyons could not build enough 1.5 litre Jaguars in particular.

Between 1935 and 1938 it produced 3444 of the wooden framed 1.5 Jaguars, and until the outbreak of WW2 another 4442 with all steel bodies. That was a total of 7886 1.5s compared with 1577 2.5s and 1065 3.5 litre models.

None were built in lefthand drive though until the advent of the post- War 'MkIV' Jaguar. That was almost identical, but by then S.S. Cars had been rebranded as Jaguar Cars.

However, few of those many 1.5 Jaguars have survived (it is suggested 42), and of those perhaps this is the finest totally original and pristine example in the world.

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