1935 Swallow SS1 Coupe

Last updated on September 21, 2022

Today’s car is a 1935 Swallow SS1 Coupe and is owned by Eduardo Zavala from St. Petersburg, FL. I saw this car at the San Marino Motor Classic in Pasadena, CA. I had never seen or heard of a Swallow before. I had taken my photos and was intrigued at the research that lay ahead of me. Then, I heard someone say that the Swallow was the precursor to Jaguar. What! How could that be, I have known and owned Jaguars and never heard the name Swallow associated with Jaguar. Then in a few days a coincidence happened. Rick Feibusch an automotive historian and the administrator of Motorhead 101, a group on Facebook which is dedicated to automobiles, created a post on 1930 Austin Seven Swallow Saloon. How can that be, there was the Swallow name again. If you are on Facebook check out Motorhead 101 and ask to join you won’t regret it. Thanks Rick for always guiding me in the right direction.

I will try to make the history of Swallow to Jaguar short. It all begins in Blackpool, England around 1922 when William Walmsley and William Lyons, neighbors and motorcycle enthusiast, founded the Swallow Sidecar Company, As business increased they added car body repairs alongside their sidecar business. They started building car bodies and changed the name to Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company. They bolted their car bodies onto existing chassis the likes of Austin Seven Swallow Saloon. Now firmly established as a coachbuilder and the sidecar business dwindling, the company dropped ‘Sidecar’ from its name and became the Swallow Coachbuilding Company. With business still prospering and the need to be closer to England’s automotive hub, the company moved to Coventry. In 1931, they launched the SS I and SS II models, that were built on a chassis made by The Standard Motor Company, In 1934 Walmsley left the company and Lyons renamed the company S.S. Cars, the S.S. standing for Standard Swallow. The Jaguar name was first launched in 1935 with the SS Jaguar 2.5 Liter Saloon. In 1936 the 2-seater SS Jaguar 100 was launched claiming a top speed of 100 mph and carrying the legendary leaping Jaguar hood ornament. In 1945 the SS Cars Ltd was officially changed its name to Jaguar Cars Ltd. This is said to be caused by the post war negative pressures associated with the use of the SS name by Nazi Germany. 

This car is finished with a Gray body, Dark Blue fenders, and a Black landau top. The interior is finished in Dark Blue Vaumol hide and magnificent wood. It is powered a 70 hp, 162.5 cu in 2.7 Liter, 6 cylinder flat head with dual RAG (R A Garstin) carburetors. Transferring that power to the rear wheels through a 4-speed manual transmission and transferring that power through a semi-floating live axle with a 4.25:1 gear ratio. Slowing this beauty down are Bendix Duo-Servo hydraulic drum breaks in all 4-corners. Suspension is semi-elliptic leaf springs with Hartford friction type shock absorbers. The electrical components are powered by a 12 volt DC system The top speed was 68 mph.

This is a rare car that will draw car enthusiast from a concours event to just being parked on the street. If that ever happens? Thanks for riding along. Frank

George’s testimony, “Sparkling Performance” as a race car driver leaves me wondering what he meant by that?