1931-1936 Jaguar SS I

The 1936 SS I Tourer, part of the 1931-1936 SS I line
1936 SS I Tourer

The 1931-1936 SS I are the cars that marked the emergence of William Lyons' Swallow Sidecars coachbuilding company as an automaker in its own right, and historically significant as the direct ancestors of the first Jaguar. Originally offered as a closed coupe in two versions, the SS I 2054cc Sixteen and SS I 2552cc Twenty, both had side-valve engines and underslung chassis from Standard Motor Company.

SS I bodies were built by Swallow to Lyons' designs. Early models had cycle-type front fenders, later ones had the "clamshell" style, but all had long hoods. A touring convertible appeared in 1933, followed by a 2-door sedan in 1934-1935. The undistinguished chassis featured beam axles at each end and cable-operated mechanical brakes.

Synchromesh was added to the transmission in 1934.The 1931-1936 SS I was long, low, and unmistakable -- but not very fast as the top end was barely 80 mph. Some versions had cramped cabins and small windows. But the sexy looks, wood-and-leather interior luxury, and amazingly low prices was a winning formula.

The 1931-1936 SS I led directly to the SS100 produced under the renamed SS Jaguar marque.

Pluses of the 1931-1936 SS I:

  • Enthusiastic worldwide club interest/support
  • Historical importance
  • Racy styling
  • Reasonably priced today

Minuses of the 1931-1936 SS I:

  • Hard ride
  • Parts shortages makes restoration difficult
  • Slower than they look
  • Wood-framed, and thus rot-prone, bodies

Production of the 1931-1936 SS I:

Specifications of the 1931-1936 SS I:
Wheelbase, inches: 112.0 (1931-1932), 119.0 (1933-1936)
Length, inches: 174.0-186.0

Weight, pounds: 2,400-3,000
Price, new
: NA

Engines for the 1931-1936 SS I:

sv I-6
2,054 cc (125 cid)
sv I-6
2,552 cc (156 cid)
sv I-6
2,143 cc (131 cid)
sv I-6
2,664 cc (163 cid)

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