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1937 SS Jaguar 2½-Litre Tourer

Sold For $201,600

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - AMELIA ISLAND 6 - 7 MARCH 2020


Chassis No.
Engine No.
Gearbox No.
Body No.
19098
251080
1627
4497
  • One of 105 examples built; only 45 in 1937
  • One of relatively few fitted with the 2.7-liter OHV engine from the SS 100
  • Thought to be one of only 11 such examples extant
  • Documented American ownership dating to 1963
  • Restored to the original color scheme in the mid-2010s
  • Mechanically freshened under current ownership for reliable driving
  • Documented with factory build records and 30 years of correspondence

At the 1931 Olympia Motor Show, Sir William Lyons’s Swallow Sidecars introduced its first model built from the ground up after nine years of creating coachwork for down-market brands like Austin and Wolseley. The new SS1 sports saloon offered aesthetics on par with pedigreed marques like Bentley and Alvis at a fraction of the price. The early SS range was equipped with a side-valve engine that continued through the model’s evolution in 1935 to the Jaguar moniker, for which the brand was renamed following World War II.

In late 1935 engineer Harry Weslake was recruited to develop a better-performing motor, and he reworked the Standard-based 2.5-liter unit into an overhead-valve arrangement, raising horsepower by nearly 50 percent. These 102 hp engines were installed in the new line of SS roadsters that appeared in 1936 and gradually found their way into the concurrent Jaguar touring models. Among these models, the 2½-Litre tourer was built from 1936 to 1937 in a sparing quantity of 105 examples, a handful of which received the 2.7-liter OHV engine used in the more powerful SS 100 roadster.

Chassis no. 19098 is the 98th example of the 105 cars built, of which perhaps 32 cars survive today. The tourer was notably equipped with the upgraded Weslake engine, in which form as few as 11 examples are currently believed to remain extant. Finished in suede green with a matching suede-green interior (a color scheme the car continues to faithfully wear today), the tourer completed factory assembly in March and was distributed to Henley’s of London before being sold for retail to Leigh Park Motors in Windsor.

By 1963 the SS was exported to the United States, and following a minor freshening the car remained dormant for many years, passing through four owners through the mid-2010s. Around 2015 the tourer was discovered and treated to a substantial refurbishment in the original colors, and it was subsequently acquired in 2017 by the consignor. He has since mechanically freshened the car with a complete rewiring of the electrical system and service as needed to driving standards.

Retaining its original matching-numbers engine, gearbox, and body, this beautifully presented 2½-Litre tourer is documented with a build record, a factory production ledger, a heritage certificate, an owner’s manual, and 30 years of correspondence. It would make a stunning addition to any marque gathering or pre-war collection.


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