THE 1996 JCNA CLASS ONE A CONCOURS WINNING CHAMPION
1936 SS JAGUAR 100 TWO-SEATER SPORTS ROADSTER
Chassis No. 18031
Engine No. 259843
Red with black leather interior
Engine: six-cylinders in line, pushrod overhead valves, twin SU carburettors, 2,663cc, 101bhp at 4,600rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual with remote control and synchromesh; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: mechanical drums all round. Right hand drive.
When the young William Lyons introduced his devastatingly handsome SS Jaguar 100 sports two-seater in the fall of 1935, it was viewed with some scepticism by the rather conservative English sporting motorists of the day. Rakishly low, with 90mph-plus readily available and acceleration to match, it was well-equipped and finished, yet cost a mere 398 GBP. Surely there was a catch somewhere? Time has shown there was indeed no catch. With its long, many-louvred hood, its open cockpit with cutaway sides and its arching fenders the SS Jaguar 100 symbolizes traditional 1930's sports-car design, just as its brilliant successors, the Jaguar XK 120 roadster and the Jaguar E-type coupe represent the 1940's and 1960's.
William Lyons' masterstroke was to make use of existing well-tried components from the multitude of makers surrounding him in Coventry. Steering gear, axles, gearboxes, instruments, even the chassis frame and more, all were "brought in" from the English industry's most reputable companies. The long-lived and powerful overhead valve engine was evolved by the famed Harry Weslake from a Standard Motor Company unit used in previous SS Jaguar models. Even those striking aluminum fenders were supplied in batches by a specialist, although it must be conceded that each SS Jaguar 100 body was skillfully handcrafted using traditional methods. Brought together by Lyons' young team of gifted engineers, the result was a responsive high-performance car with excellent steering, brakes and gearbox. There was a limited market in Britain in the late 1930's for such a car even at Lyons' relatively low price. In the few seasons before the war put an end to production only 198 were sold, plus 116 of the 3.5 litre version introduced in 1937, although that is a total most of his competitors would have regarded as very satisfactory.
CTO 244 is the last SS built in 1936 and the 31st one produced. The vendor has documented the list of owners since 1946 and informs us that it was imported into the United States in running condition. In the early 1980s, 18031 was completely disassembled for restoration. It was sold in pieces to the current owner in 1933 who undertook an exhaustive restoration. He spent hundreds of hours taking notes, carefully examining old photos and seeking the advice of Jaguar experts from as far away as England to South Africa. All the bodywork, painting, chassis, mechanical and assembly was lovingly carried out by the owner, and the car has all matching numbers to prove it. Whenever original items were missing, such as the top, an original pattern was located to copy exactly.
The final result speaks for itself; CTO 244 attended four Jaguar Club of North America concours in 1996, scoring four first places, a 99.98, 99.96, 99.96 and 100 points. It has also been awarded the Best Owner Restored Car by the Veteran Motor Car Club of America.
This is the first time Christie's has had the opportunity to offer a SS 100 at Pebble Beach, and we are delighted to be starting with the best.