Standard-Swallow Coach Type SSI from 1934 (England), six cylinders, 2663 cc, 68 HP, 130 km/h

SS Cars was a British manufacturer of sports saloon cars from 1934 until wartime 1940, and from March 1935 of a limited number of open 2-seater sports cars. From September 1935, their new models displayed a new name: SS Jaguar. By then, its business, which was founded in 1922, was run by and largely owned by William Lyons. Lyons had been partner with 1922 co-founder William Walmsley until Walmsley sold his shareholding in January 1935.

The company that owned the business, S. S. Cars Limited, bought the shares of Swallow Coachbuilding Limited as of 31 July 1934 and the Swallow company was liquidated before S. S. issued shares to the public in January 1935.

This was the time when Walmsley finished selling his holding. S. S. Cars Limited changed its name to Jaguar Cars Limited 23 March 1945.

There is doubt about the source of the SS name. Sir John Black of Standard-Triumph when asked said SS stood for Standard Swallow. William Lyons when asked was noncommittal, but he was at the time in the company of suppliers of chassis for his run of the mill production bodies. He concurred after the use of Standard chassis became exclusive.

The Swallow Sidecar Company, trading name for the company Walmsley & Lyons co-founded by William Lyons and William Walmsley, progressively developed into a coachbuilder from its 1922 start, first making stylish sidecars for motorcycles.

In May 1927, Swallow advertised that it would make 2-seater bodies on Austin and Morris chassis and running gear supplied through any authorised dealer. Their first full page advertisement appeared in the Autocar magazine in October 1927 to fit with the Olympia Motor Show. The next year Swallow relocated to the heart of the British motor industry. In the winter of 1928–1929 they moved bit by bit from Cocker Street Blackpool to a disused munitions factory on a rutted track, the future Swallow Road, off Holbrook Lane, Foleshill, Coventry. They returned to Blackpool each year for the Works Day Out.

In 1929, John Black of Standard Motor Company and William Lyons teamed up to realise their long standing dream to produce a one of a kind sports car. This “First SS” was a sleek boat-tail open 2-seater. Its flowing design and streamlining pointed to an obvious attempt at making a fast car, possibly with the intention of venturing into racing. This car is believed to have been shipped to Australia in the late 1940s.

While the initial link with John Black’s Standard was slowly developed, bodies continued to be built on Austin, Standard, Fiat and lastly Wolseley Hornet chassis. Nevertheless, at Motor Show time in October 1931, Swallow eventually launched a car of its own, the SS 1, and displayed a prototype, all while the aforementioned little Wolseley Hornet Special continued alongside.

“This car has its little knot of admirers around it every minute of the day, and from the point of view of general interest it is the most serious rival to the Rover Scarab. It is made by the Swallow Coachbuilding people on a chassis specially built for them by Standard, and featuring a six-cylinder side-valve engine of 15hp. But it is the body that is the big attraction. Its long low lines with no running boards and the head only a matter of four feet above the ground create an impression of speed and gracefulness which is quite worthy of comparison with the Lagondas and Delages.

It is with a distinct shock that one notices the price is only £310. The radiator is quite different from the ordinary Standard type being specially designed to conform with the body lines and fitted with a chromium plated fluted front. It is set off with a futuristic emblem and the filler cap is tucked out of sight under the bonnet. The Rudge-Whitworth wire wheels are racing type, the wheel base being 9 ft 4 in and the track 4 ft 1 in.

The coachbuilt body has a sliding roof of new design with leather-grained head and large travelling trunk at the rear.

The cycle type wings are deeply domed the side valances being very deep so that the necessity for running boards is obviated. The interior of the car is beautifully finished, the cabinet work being done in very atrractive highly polished sycamore grained to resemble the back of a fiddle. The upholstery is in furniture hide. The particular model shown is finished in apple green and black and is a beauty in every sense of the term.

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