SS Jaguar 100 Roadster, Icon of British Sports Cars

SS 100 Jaguar roadster

The early classic SS Jaguar 100 roadster put the Jaguar name on the docket. You know what an impact the SS Jaguar 100’s have made on the collector car community by how often they are copied in the replica market. Much like the Shelby AC Cobra and the Mercedes-Benz 500K, the SS Jaguar 100 roadsters are among the most prized reproductions in the hobby. But an original SS Jaguar 100 roadster? … well, they are truly priceless.

This week, a stunning 1935 SS Jaguar 100 2 Liter Roadster, one of just 190 ever produced, was posted for sale by Gullwing Motor Cars of Astoria, New York. They listed this vintage British sports car on the classic car website. (Follow this link to read their ad.) These cars so seldom come up on the open market that appraising them becomes a problem. Recent results at national collector car auctions have seen the 3.5 litre versions sell for over $1,000,000.

This one has just come out of 35 years of loving ownership. The previous owner was a pilot who entered the car in road rallies. Gulllwing tells us he recently spent $15,000 into updates. The car now comes with a valuable 3.5 litre motor (although the original matching nubers 2.5 litre engine will come with the car.) They say it retains its original gearbox. They conclude that the car runs and drives as incredible as it looks. (See the photos in the original Gullwing Motor Cars’s ad.) 

It comes with a soft-top and side curtains. They say it is absolutely rust free. It is offered with some service records and receipts. 

It is well established that the SS Jaguar 100 roadster is one of the most aesthetically pleasing classic cars for collectors to acquire. It is truly an icon of British sports car history. Only 308 Jaguar SS 100 roadsters were ever produced. They were hand built by technicians at the Coventry (England) plant. 

SS Jaguar 100 History

William Lyons, thought of as the founder of Jaguar, started with William Walmsley as motorcycle sidecar builders back in the early part of the Twentieth Century. Together they started the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922. Lyons was only 21 years old, but he was part showman, and got the press to publicize his fledgling company. That led to dabbling in the motorcar coachworking business.  By 1931, it had become the Swallow Coachbuilding Company, Ltd. located in Coventry. It soon became a publicly held company under the named SS Cars, Ltd. 

The year 1935 was a pivotal time for SS Cars, Ltd. as they came out with a saloon version in addition to the SS 100 roadster. It was the SS 100 roadster however which brought forward the name Jaguar. It had an rakish low profile which gave it the gentleman’s sports car appeal. The name Jaguar was not actually used until 1935. Once the name plate “Jaguar” was added to the car it became known as the SS Jaguar 100, and the roadster was produced as such until 1941. 

Jaguar built its reputation on the performance of the SS Jaguar 100 roadster in national and international competitions. The “100” designation was supposed to represent that the car could do 100 miles per hour. However, the 1935 version with the 2.5 litre engine actually fell far short of that designation. It was not until they came out with the 3.5-litre engine in 1938 that the Jaguar roadster actually could perform at that level. 

SS 100 Jaguar roadster



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