loading Loading please wait....

Jaguar SS100: Buying guide and review (1936-1940)

Jaguar SS100: Buying guide and review (1936-1940) Classic and Performance Car
Jaguar SS100 Jaguar SS100
Jaguar Cars was born out of the Swallow Sidecar Company Ltd, which became SS Cars Ltd in 1934 when Sir William Lyons bought out his founding partner William Walmsley. The first cars to wear the ‘Jaguar’ badge were the 1.5- and 2-litre Jaguar saloons, launched in 1936 – and the SS Jaguar 100.
The first Jaguar sports car, it was William Lyons’ rakish and flamboyant masterpiece, its ‘100’ nomenclature indicative that the 3.5-litre version could reach 100mph – which was a big deal in the late 1930s. It made for a lasting legacy to live up to.
The Standard Motor Company supplied Lyons with 2.5- and 3.5-litre six-cylinder engines. These were enlivened with the help of leading engineers Harry Weslake and William Heynes, who designed efficient cylinder heads that enabled 100bhp in 2.5-litre guise and a heady 125bhp with the 3.5-litre. Over 100mph all day!
Only 198 of the 2.5-litre and 116 3.5-litres were ever constructed, making these sports cars extremely rare Jaguars, hence their strong values today. And their superb styling means that any SS100 is always welcome at the most prestigious auctions and events around the world.
Yet the SS100 was a proper competition car as well, winning the 1936 International Alpine Trial driven by Tommy Wisdom and then the 1937 RAC Rally driven by Jack Harrop. In 1948 Ian Appleyard crowned it with a Coupe des Alps on the tough Alpine Trial.

Which SS100 to buy?

Survival rates are low and prices have been rising steadily. Most of these cars will have seen a nut and bolt restoration and are generally in excellent condition and kept in collections. Modifications during the four-year production run were limited to minor mechanical changes, except for the increase in capacity to 3.5-litres in 1938. 
Such is the popularity and limited supply of these British classics, a number of companies have created replicas. The Birchfield motor company produced around 20 Birchfield Sports in the 1980s using XJ6 running gear. It was a complex design and not very successful commercially, however they do look the part and are cheaper to buy and maintain than the original. 
The Steadman TS100 is not really a replica, more of a car built in the spirit of the original. Its dimensions and running gear are very different and there is a separate enthusiasts club catering for the handful of cars that were produced in the ‘80s and ‘90s. 
If you’re after a more accurate reproduction, then take a look at the Australian based Finch Motor Company’s SS-100. Chassis are based on Mk4 and SS saloons, while original Jaguar parts are used when available, making these one of the most accurate reproductions available. 
Closer to home Suffolk Sportscars still manufactures a handful of SS100 replicas every year. Based around Jaguar XK6 engines with GRP bodies, these are the ones you are most likely to come across if you expand your search to include replicas. There are many more replicas and conversions around, stick to ones that have been built by reputable firms and bear in mind that you get what you pay for. 
Original SS100s seem to fall into one of two categories, they are either well loved one or two owner cars with mostly traceable histories, or are ground up restorations generally from rotten old chassis. Tracing these cars histories can be tricky so beware of inaccurate representations.
Such is the nature of the Jaguar SS100 that many were raced or used for classic events, a chequered history can have a positive effect on the cars value. The most desirable models are the 3.5 litre models built from 1938-on.

Performance and specs

1938 Jaguar SS 3.5
Engine 3485cc 12valve OHV I6
Power 125bhp @ 4250 rpm 
Torque n/a
Top speed 101mph 
0-60mph 10.9 seconds 
Fuel consumption n/a 
Gearbox Four-speed manual

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2642mm
Length 3886mm
Width 1600mm
Height 1372mm
Weight 1181kg

Common problems

• Working on these cars is not as daunting as one might imagine, however parts are not always easy to obtain, so joining the SS100 register is a good idea to be kept in the loop. The Jaguar Heritage site is another good source for parts.
• Bodywork on most examples should be pristine, however if rust or rot has set in, specialist tools and jigs are required to repair body panels.
• The convertible roof frame can wear out over time and the roof lining can perish with age. There are a number of upholstery specialists who can replace these parts but the original specification colours and materials should be used to maintain the originality of the vehicle.
• Interior trim is usually a mix of leather and vinyl, individual trim pieces will need to be custom made if they are missing or damaged.
• Due to the popularity of these cars, there are fake cars being presented as the original article. If you are in doubt then get in touch with the Jaguar SS register and have a thorough check carried out. 
• If you opt for a replica or recreation then the most important thing to consider is the integrity of the build and the attention to detail. Most cars have been built on Jaguar XJ6 running gear so parts should be widely available.

Model history

1936: Jaguar 100SS launched with 100bhp 2.5 Litre inline 6 engine
1938: Uprated 3.5 litre model released now with 125bhp and true 100mph capability
1940: Production ends with 314 units built.

Owners clubs, forums and websites

www.jaguardriver.co.ukJaguar Drivers' Club
www.jaguarheritage.comJaguar's official heritage and historic department
www.suffolksportscars.com Specialist replica Jaguar manufacturer

Summary and prices

If you are after an original SS 100 you will need to have patience and deep pockets as they rarely come up for sale, and change hands for well over £350,000 when they do. Very few will be in need of any major restoration, but only consider letting a specialist work on the car’s body and trim, as badly restored examples will lose a lot in value.
Recreations and replicas are slightly more numerous and generally cost a fraction of what the original cars go for. A Birchfield Sports can go for around £15,000, while some of the more accurate recreations featuring original components may go up to £100,000. 
If you’re after the real SS100 experience then there is no substitute for the original, however recreations that are faithful to the original design can provide a very close approximation of the real thing and may be more readily available. 
Jaguar SS100 Jaguar SS100
Last updated: 31st Aug 2016
collapse this

search results

4 Results

search results

Jaguar SS100
49975 460000 GBP
  • JAGUAR SS100 Suffolk recreation 2004

    £49,975 £49,975

    Lovely Suffolk Jaguar SS100 recreation, finished in Black with Black leather and Wilton carpets;;Built in 2004 with a Jaguar 4.2 engine and gearbox , only 7400 miles Jaguar chassis first registered in 1983 so is ok for export etc;;Comes with factory fitted heater, blockley tyres, luggage rack, moto lita steering wheel;;Bought from Suffolk direct in 2011 for GBP 65000;;;;;

    • Mileage: 7400 mi
    • Engine size: 4.235
    For sale
    £49,975 £49,975
    Ilkley Motor Company
    01943 607111 View contact number

    $460,000(£0) $460,000(£0)

    --Gunmetal with Red leather upholstery, Red carpeting, Black convertible top, 4-speed manual gearbox, Chrome wire wheels, Rear-mounted spare, Full windshield and Brooklands racing screens. The SS 100 Jaguar was built by SS Cars Ltd. of Coventry, England. The SS 100 is considered to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing Jaguar cars built as well as one of the rarest. Only 198 of the 2.5-litres were produced. Many original owners enjoyed the fact the SS 100 was intended for competition use, but was equally suitable for ordinary road use. This 1937 SS 100 Jaguar 2½-Litre Roadster is documented by its original sales ledger, sold initially by Layham’s Engineering Company, Surrey, England, to motoring journalist, Lawrence E.W. Pomeroy. In 1953, the car was acquired from Mercury Motors, of Wembley, by Harry Wolfe. Accompanying photographs on file are believed to date from Wolfe’s ownership. In 1958, this SS 100 then passed to Leslie Worley, of Sussex, who moved with the car to Malaysia. In his new home, Worley became an active vintage racer, eventually achieving the rank of president in the Malaysian Vintage Racing Club. His SS 100 was driven in an MSCC sprint in Kuala Lumpur as noted

    • Year: 2003
    • Mileage: 2017 mi
    For sale
    $460,000(£0) $460,000(£0)
  • 1938 Jaguar SS100 Roadster


    (SOLD) This right hand drive 1938 Jaguar SS100 has come from a collection of a single owner who had it for more than 40 years. It was delivered dressed in Gunmetal Grey with a red leather interior. It has a London license plate of EYU 868, which it still retains today. The car has been in the USA for at least 50 years. The SS received an upgraded replacement engine which is a post-war 3½ Liter unit. Classic Showcase has scheduled to perform a comprehensive Show-level restoration to this rare 1938 Jaguar SS 100. Included in the restoration process, the vehicle will be completely dissembled, and the interior and all components will be removed and documented. The vehicle body will be stripped to bare metal, worked, the metal finished, fitted, and leaded as needed, and all body parts and chrome will be fitted to the car; It will be primed, sealed, have a base and clear coat applied in its original color combination, and be color sanded and buffed to a beautiful finish. All systems will be gone through, and will be restored, or replaced as necessary. The transmission, clutch, and hydraulic systems will be fully restored, and the car will receive all new rubber, grommets and seals. In ad

    • Year: 1938
    • Mileage: 100 mi
    For sale
  • 1938 Jaguar SS100 3.5 Roadster


    (SOLD) Classic Showcase performed a comprehensive restoration to this rare 1938 Jaguar SS 100 3.5L to the highest Show level possible. Included in the restoration process, the vehicle has been dissembled, and the interior has been removed and documented, the vehicle body has been worked, the metal finished, fitted, and leaded as needed, and all body parts and chrome will be fitted to the car; It has been primed, sealed, has had a base and clear coats applied, and was color sanded and buffed to a beautiful finish. All systems are being gone through and are being restored and replaced as necessary. The transmission, clutch, and hydraulic systems are in the process of being fully restored, and the car will receive all new rubber , grommets and seals. In addition, the britework will be completely re-plated to Show level quality as well. The car is in the process of receiving all new upholstery, and will be fitted in the correct materials by master upholsterers in our Upholstery Department. The roadster's parts and components are in the process of being restored in the proper colors and finishes as well, and we will be using NOS parts wherever possible. Extreme attention to detail is be

    • Year: 1938
    • Mileage: 23542 mi
    For sale