The quintessential pre-war British sports car is the 1936 S.S. Jaguar 100 also known simply as the SS100. These diminutive roadsters have all the hallmarks of a competitive racecar as well as an attractive body built at a high level of craftsmanship. It was also one of the first models to carry the Jaguar nameplate.
When the 3½ Litre first came onto the market, Jaguar was no newcomer to the industry. They had built a series of Tourers based on parts from the Standard Motor Company’s bin. This included the 2½ Litre 100 which was named after it’s theoretical top speed of 100 mph. It didn’t always break the 100 mph barrier, so that’s was a job for the new 3½ engine.
At Jaguar, the decision was taken to have Bill Heynes and Harry Weslake redesign the Standard Six into a capable 125 bhp unit. They increased both the bore and stroke from 2663.7cc to 3485cc. The effect was a drastic boost in performance which trumped the 2½ on almost every level. Additionally a new transmission, driveshaft, and differential were also fitted.
The high level of specification included Lucas de Luxe large diameter headlights, 15-inch Dunlop Splined Center Lock wheels and rod-operated drum brakes by Girling that could be operated either with the pedal or hand brake. Jaguar described the body as a “rigid le Mans 2-seater” which had a some room behind the front seats for luggage.
The competitive nature of car naturally meant it was seen occasionally with racing numbers at circuits like Brooklands, the Shelsley Walsh and many international rally courses.
At £445, around 115 of the 3½ Litre “100” were produced. These are the most sought after of all prewar Jaguars.