1938 Jaguar 3.5 Litre SS 100

1938 Jaguar 3.5 Litre SS 100

Flag of GB
Country of Origin
Great Britain
Chassis Number
# 39047

These cars were European rally champions in the late 1930s. We carefully restored it in the early 1980s.


In 1936 they produced the first SS 100 Jaguar, its name relating to the fact it was a 100 mile per hour sports cars produced by the Swallow Sidecar Company. Its 6-cylinder, 3.5-litre engine capable of over 125 horsepower was a winner and its chassis clothed in a beautiful swept winged body which remains a classic to this day, often reproduced by British replicators. The 8’ 8″ wheel base assured maneuverability with both speed and reliability,. Only 116 of the 3.5 litre models were made between 1938 and 1940. At just 445 pounds, this model became popular among both sporting drivers and racers. A team of works cars was successful in a variety of national and international events such as the Alpine Trials, the Monte Carlo Rally and the RAC Rally (the premier rally event in Britain) during which they took the Manufacturers Team Prize.

In addition, a stock car could accelerate from the standing start to 60 miles an hour in 10.5 seconds. This car established Jaguar as a true sports car manufacturer, capable of winning all kinds of road races. Sadly, the production of the SS 100 ceased, because of the war. However Jaguar’s direction had been set and soon after the war the great XK 100/XK 120 cars soon evolved for sportsmen and the C-Type, a further evolution, was available for the true racing competitor.


The early history of this car is s mystery. Some of it was provided by a previous owner, Jack Stilwell of Minneapolis. He said they originally delivered the car to a well-known textile manufacturer in St. Nicholas, Belgium with whom Jack spoke. Jack was apparently the second owner.

Orginally purchased by a family in 1938, it was later involved in an accident after which it stoppped driving. Jack found it was unused in a garage where the chauffeur drove it to warm up temperature on the first day of every month. He talked the original owner into parting with it, then he shipped the car from Belgium to Baltimore, whence Jack drove it to Minneapolis (in the process of which he burned out the generator and voltage regulator). He and his wife used the car daily and enjoyed sports car activities during the summers. In a local vintage car race, Mrs. Stilwell finished second behind a chain drive Frazer Nash and ahead of Jack in his Bugatti 40A. Jack had fond memories of the car when he learned of our subsequent ownership.

The car was complete with fender modifications, which were soon corrected by David George. This was the first restoration David and I did together, and was completed in 1984. Since then we have enjoyed a wonderful relationship and David has fully restored and maintained some of the best cars in the collection. We’ve always had a simpatico because of his respect for originality and sensitive restoration. She required no additional parts except for installation of a proper generator. It was always a strong runner and apparently had received little use during most of its early life. The upholstery appears to be original and a letter from Jaguar Cars Limited shows that the original trim was olive green as in the present. Finished in black cellulose it presents a striking appearance and is one of the prettiest pre-war cars ever.

1938 ss 100 jaguar f3q

In its day the SS 100 was an outstanding looking sports car with a very high standard of finish and had a powerful and deep gurgle that rose in tone very quickly in the most satisfying manner. Road holding was excellent. Sure, it slid on curves under power, but it was most controllable and had an excellent lock. When required, the tail could be made to slide by the sudden and hard application of the fly-off handbrake and this was the fastest way of getting around pylons…so long as you could approach with sufficient speed!

Walter Norton

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About the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum

Located in Philadelphia, PA, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum is one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars. Through our theme, “The Spirit of Competition”, we celebrate the history and evolution of these magnificent machines.

Assembled over 50 years by Dr. Frederick Simeone, the Museum contains over 75 historically significant cars including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes, Jaguar, Bentley, Porsche, Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford, and more.

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