THIS SS JAGUAR MAY NEVER FLY, BUT IT WILL LOOK GOOD TRYING
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.