In the world of collector Jaguars, few models are more desirable than those produced pre-war. In fact, Jaguar wasn’t even officially a company until around 1945 when the name was changed from SS Cars to Jaguar. The name was changed because Hitler’s secret police was infamously known as the SS (from the full Schutzstaffel), and shared an exceedingly similar logo to that of SS Cars. Sir William Lyons’ initial company was known as Swallow Sidecars and specialized in making sidecars for motorcycles as well as the occasional custom bodies for sports cars.
Sometime in the early thirties, Lyons began producing his own cars, dubbing them the SS1 and SS2. The SS1s featured six-cylinder engines and were nothing short of top of the line. The SS2s were very similar in appearance, but featured four-cylinder engines and much shorter bonnets—due to the smaller engine. In later years—approximately 1936—SS embarked on a major redesign project, and started producing what they were now calling SS Jaguars. This marked the first instance of what would become one of the world’s most recognized brands. At this point in the evolution, SS remained the marque and manufacturer, and Jaguar became the model.
Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to have several of these cars come into our possession—either for sale or for restoration/repairs. We currently have a 1939 SS Jaguar 3.5-litre Saloon in our personal collection, thanks mostly to our vigilant lookout for SS models.
Much to our surprise, our most recent acquisition was essentially served to us on a silver platter, thanks to our good friends over at Pumphrey and Co.—a premier restoration and custom fabrication shop located in San Jose, California. Matt Pumphrey had called us for our opinion on this rare beauty, and as soon as we heard about the car’s existence, we started working a deal to get it purchased and in our possession as soon as possible. We don’t waste any time when it comes to acquiring our dream finds.
Matt and a good friend had located the car in Stove, Missouri of all places where it had been living for about ten years. We purchased the car from Sally Holman, who had inherited the car from one of her family members, Woody Mitchell, who passed away in 2003. Woody purchased the car in the late forties or early fifties from Jack McGinnis of Excelsior Springs, Missouri. The car remained and lived in Lexington, Missouri for over fifty years and was one of Woody’s prize possessions. The car was always kept in his garage, and rarely driven. In fact, the car hasn’t even been registered since 1956. This masterpiece of automotive elegance is truly a very rare find and we can’t thank Matt of Pumphrey and Co. enough.
We are currently in the process of getting this very special Jaguar back on the road after years of hibernation. Please check back to find out more on this great car as we learn more ourselves. If you have or know of any other SS car, we are always looking to add to our collection.
We’re looking forward to getting this gem up and running and out on the road where it belongs.
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