The Jaguar SS1 second series sold even better than the original had, prompting the eventual development of three additional body styles, all two-doors.
The second-series Jaguar SS1 for 1934 had a top
speed of 80 mph, quite good for the period.
There was also a more faddish "Airline" version of this body, a square-roofed fastback whose windowline drooped down to a rounded tail. Customers who craved fully topless motoring could opt for a convertible, which bowed as the Open Four-Seater Sports. Later sold simply as the Tourer, it was the genesis of the Jaguar SS sports car.
Although the company didn't really intend the convertible for serious sporting use, it became quite popular with customers who enjoyed "driving tests," something like modern gymkhanas, and long-distance "trials," or rallies.
Perhaps to the annoyance of some critics, who never could understand "how they do it at the price" and assumed shoddy materials and workmanship under the surface gloss, the SS1 proved itself sturdy and reliable over the often atrocious European road surfaces of the 1930s.
Keeping faith with its fans, SS Cars further upgraded the basic Jaguar SS1 for the 1934 season. The body stayed substantially the same, but the chassis' central X-member was, moved forward slightly for more rear foot room, and the track was widened by another two inches, to 53.
The biggest news was up front, where engines were larger, though not by much. The smaller unit grew by a mere 89 cc (5.4 cubic inches) to 2,143 (130.7 cubic inches); the more historically important 2,551.4 expanded to 2,661.9 cc (162.4 cubic inches) via a longer stroke (106 mm versus 101.6) on an unchanged bore (73 mm). Breathing was again improved.
Previously, a single carburetor on the right side fed intake valves on the left through a block passage between the middle cylinders; now, the carb was more efficiently mounted on the valves-side. With all this, the new 2.7 delivered about 75 horsepower, enough to push the SS1 to over 80 mph.
Additional improvements included adding a water pump, to circulate coolant more positively than was possible with the old thermo-syphon system, and sweeping the exhaust manifold forward on its way down from the engine, to keep heat from the cabin.
That engine work was carried out by Standard, but clearly Lyons was serious about making a good car. His SS1 was a definite success. During five years of production, 1932 through 1936, sales of all three series and all four body styles totaled more than 4,200.
For more on Jaguar and other great cars, see:
- Jaguar Cars: Check out more information on the great sporting cats.
- How Sports Cars Work: Get the lowdown on hundreds of fantastic sports cars from the 1940s to today.
- Classic Cars: Learn about the world's most coveted automobiles in these illustrated profiles.
- Ferrari: Learn about every significant Ferrari road car and racing car.
- New Jaguars: Reviews, ratings, prices, and specifications on the current Jaguar lineup from the auto editors of Consumer Guide.
- Used Jaguars: Reviews, recalls, trouble spots, and more on pre-owned Jaguars starting with the 1990 model year. From the auto editors of Consumer Guide.