Peter's Nostalgia Site
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The SS Jaguar
By today's standards the SS Jaguars are neither particularly fast nor particularly comfortable but back in the 1930s they were some of the fastest saloon cars on the road and compared very favourably with cars selling at considerably higher prices.
Click on the tests below to see the full reports
A further comparison is made between the Jaguar Mk V and Bentley Mk VI. Click on the thumbnail.
For the pre-war cars a more equivalent comparison is with the MG SA and WA which are probably the closest in price. Unfortunately no independent road test data exists for the MGs but click on the thumbnail for an attempt at comparison.
"Designed Expressly for SS Cars Ltd manufacturers of the
Jaguar car by the eminent artist F. Gordon Crosby.
Price Two Guineas"
Shown here is the car purchased by Prince Michael of Romania standing outside the SS works in late 1937. This car had chassis number 30005, the 5th 3½ litre off the production line and was shipped to Romania on the 12th December 1937. (The 4th off the line was a demonstrator for the agents Henlys and participated in the Monte Carlo Rally .) It is not known who designed the mascot fitted to the Prince's car but if it wasn't F Gordon Crosby then it certainly must have influenced his famous design that became an optional accessory for SS Cars costing 2 guineas.
Below, F Gordon Crosby is pictured beside his 1937 SS Jaguar fitted with his iconic mascot. Apparently William Lyons had seen a Jaguar car with a Desmo "Jaguar" mascot mounted on its radiator cap. He took an instant dislike to the Desmo design describing it as "like a cat shot off a fence." Needless to say, the Desmo design was never sanctioned by the factory and it was the sight of it that caused him to commission Gordon Crosby to design an item more befitting of his elegant cars.
A Jaguar advert showing an SS 2½ litre car, somewhat stretched in the middle. Right: The actual car. More Artist's Licence Here
Some articles written for the SS Register of the Jaguar Drivers Club in years past
According to an article in The Automobile Engineer October 1937 the SU automatic
starting carburetter was pioneered by SS Cars. The SU Starting Carburetter
Below is a short video of a 1947 Jaguar. You can watch small size with good resolution
or click the full screen button for a more real experience but a bit fuzzy.
If it tends to stopping and starting just slide the slider back a bit so that the data download
stays ahead of the video playing.
And another taken from my 1939 car on the Jaguar Drivers Club SS Register tour of Yorkshire
Following my gearbox rebuild I took the car around the block to test the synchromesh on both upward and downward changes.
The HMV Radiomobile with its under wing aerial is also tested later in the video.
A post war advert showing a 2½ litre car. (The 3½ litre has a slightly more pronounced beak to the radiator surround.)
Click on the photo to see the superb collection of brochures held on the JagLovers site
Whilst body and chassis design of the Jaguars was all "in house" the engines and transmissions show quite a few genetic
similarities to cars of the Standard Motor Company. Meet the Cousins
So does anything of these pre-war Jaguars live on into the era of the XK Jaguars?
Yes! High performance, good looks and value for money are all virtues that were true in their day but one or two physical features
also lived on from the SS era.
The dashboard layout from 1937 continued largely unchanged through the XK120 and XK140 even if the recorded speeds were a little different
and a look at the gearbox design shows little change also ...
and last but by no means least, the F. Gordon Crosby mascot seen here
24th March 1939 .
What Difference Does 65 Years Make?