New Zealand Classic Car - - Behind The Garage Door -

Up­per Clas­sics in Christchurch is restor­ing this 1939 SS Jaguar drop­head coupé. It’s a rather long-term project for an in­ter­na­tional client but, when fin­ished, will have been worth the wait. Years of use and then ne­glect af­ter a life on the salty roads of Europe, left the old SS Jaguar (with the ‘SS’ a nod to SS Cars’ pre­vi­ous owner, Swallow Side­car) com­plete but in very poor con­di­tion. The pho­tos show that an ex­ten­sive re­build has been nec­es­sary: lots of new metal, with vir­tu­ally all the lower body pan­els re­placed, a third of the chas­sis, and all of the floor. Along with all of the rest of the work, these pieces have all been fab­ri­cated in-house by Up­per Clas­sics. Re­mark­ably, in 1939, Jaguar was still us­ing wooden fram­ing for the doors.

The restora­tion will only be fi­nal once the in­te­rior and hood have been com­pleted as well. This in­volves re­trim­ming the in­te­rior, re­mak­ing the hood, and a com­plete re­build or re­fur­bish­ment of the dash­board and all that lovely in­te­rior wood­work Jaguar is fa­mous for.

En­gine sizes for these mod­els var­ied, and the shorter front wings and bon­net on this car in­di­cate that it would have been fit­ted with the smaller 1.5-litre mo­tor. There were also 2.5- and 3.5-litre en­gine op­tions. The small mo­tor prob­a­bly guar­an­teed that this Swallow never did fly, nor is it ever likely to, but it will prob­a­bly glide very well. Es­ti­ma­tions are that fewer than 10 of this model sur­vive world­wide. In 1945, Jaguar, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons in that era, de­cided to drop SS from its name. This model is from 1939, though, and still proudly bears the full moniker, and will re­turn to Europe with that shortly. Up­per Clas­sic’s work has a world­wide rep­u­ta­tion and about 60 per cent of the com­pany’s client base is in­ter­na­tional.

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